Definition: Arabesque

Arabesque: In gymnastics and ballet, a pose on one leg with the other leg extended behind the body. The supporting leg either bent or straight. Stand on one foot and raise the other leg to the back in a split (preferably a 180 degree split) with a straight leg and turned out from the hip; while keeping the trunk fully upright. An arabesque can be done with the bottom support leg on toe, in a demi pointe position or on a flat foot.

The current USA Gymnastic Compulsory level beam routines have arabesques in them, with minimum back leg leg angle requirements of above horizontal.Common back leg angles are 45° and 90°. When the angle is much greater than 90° usually the body leans forward to counterbalance the back leg. There are also various arm and leg combinations, such as forward on the same side as the back leg or the other arm forward.

The term arabesque in classical ballet actually translates to “in Arabic fashion.” In addition to the five major foot positions, there are two major body positions, one of which is the arabesque.

Also see Turnout and Scale.

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