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Centre: Tendu preparation

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 transfer of weight, or into higher and more intricate articulations and extensions.

Notes on our approach

In this exercise, the dancers perform a shared arm variation where the traditional tendu directions and the quality of execution have been translated from the legs into the arms. This was possible in this group as the dancers share a similar range of motion in the arms.

When learning the barre, tendu variation, all the dancers were tasked to translate this version from the arms into the legs. Two of the dancers also used and integrated parts of the arm version into the barre tendu exercise.

The dancers also transferred the qualities of reaching into space, light effort in the periphery, full use of the range of motion into the series of centre, port de bras exercises.

There are pedagogic reasons for the use of this exercise. The shared praxis of the arm variation also validates transposing/translating as something that all dancers engage in.

Exploration and Setting

All the elements were introduced through an exploration guided by the instructor, then set to music and performed to the front, side and back on both sides.

Score Elements

  • Horizontal reach / tendu
  • Light tapping / akin to dégagé pointé
  • Longest curve – keeping maximum distance while bending the arm / attitude, fondu
  • Close

Performed to front, side and back

  • Coda of soft articulations initiated from the ellbow (jellyfish)


  • Transfer the reaches into another body part, e.g. legs (see: barre: tendu)
  • Introduce other types of articulation via the arms (développé, enveloppé, grand battement, rond de jambes, etc.
  • Identify different body parts where these articulations can be performed

Observation Tasks

  • This is not material we see and practice in a traditional ballet class. What dance qualities and skills used in a ballet class do you recognise in it?
  • What feedback and aims would you give individual dancers?