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Barre: Tendu

Form and/or Function

The tendu is a horizontal gesture on or over the floor with a strong tactile quality. It creates the maximum reach away from the body without gaining height. It is used in combination with other movements, leads into weight transfers (temps liés), or into higher extensions. In the passés, the foot uses the same sense of touch tracing along the shin up along the body (e.g. knee) and back.

Notes on our approach

Exploration and Setting:

The dancers explored the tendu gesture (creating maximum distance without gaining height) in different body parts. They explored ways to resolve the tendu through weight transfers or higher extensions. They also explored the passé gesture, tracing different pathways on the body, e.g. from the navel to the ribs, along the other arm, etc.  Also see Glossary notes on setting.

Score Elements:

  • Tendu, reaching forward, side and back
  • Passé, tracing high along the body
  • Cloches, moving the body part forwards and backwards past the body
  • Repeat from the back and the other side


  • Create a shared arm version with the group
  • Add simultaneous or successive material to the shared phrase
  • Vary the established material (direction, rhythm, tempo, etc.)
  • Add specific arm and head material

Observation Tasks

  • Observe different connections and pathways for the tendus, e.g. see how Suzie uses two versions for the tendus (on the wheel) and the cloches (past the wheel). The former could be seen as a passé
  • Note that the wheelchair and the arms offer different possibilities opening up a discussion about form and function
  • It is important to not get too bogged down and run the risk of making the non-disabled version the sole point of reference. Both versions are valid and can be developed further, allowing the dancers to expand their pallet of possibilities