Christine takes a break from playing Texas Hold ‘Em and sunning herself poolside to demonstrate the écarté, one of the eight body positions in ballet.
The body faces one of the downstage corners and the leg is extended à la seconde, or to the side, in the direction of the other downstage corner. The arm on the same side as the extended leg is raised overhead, the head raised slightly and turned toward the raised arm. (Ecarté means thrown or flung apart.)
Once we’ve mastered the écarté à terre, or on the ground, we can start to live a little more dangerously and take it into the air. One of the more challenging and beautiful movements in ballet is the Italian fouetté executed as a series of whipping turns. It starts with a relevé développe écarté devant, followed by a quick brush through 1st position, body swiveling to face the back diagonal, and finishes with a fouetté to attitude derrière croisé. Watch Marianela Nuñez of the Royal Ballet execute these flawlessly as Gamzatti in La Bayadère (fouettés at 9:50):