What Does Epaule Mean in Ballet?


Epaule, a French term, translates to “shoulder” in English. It is a fundamental movement in ballet, used to quickly rotate the shoulder joint in order to transition from one step or position to the next. The arms are typically held in second position when executing an epaule.

Epaule is most often seen while performing pirouettes, as it helps bring the dancer into a stable and controlled body position with ease. During a pirouette, dancers use epaule to help bring their upper body into alignment and to create momentum for their turn. The movement of the arms also helps provide a visual cue and rhythm for the dancer’s turn, making it easier for them to stay on beat as they spin.

Epaule can also be used while transitioning between jumps or steps in other forms of dance such as jazz or contemporary. By pushing off the shoulders and rotating them quickly, dancers can generate more power and momentum for their jumps or turns. This can be particularly helpful when it comes to connecting multiple steps together, allowing for smoother transitions between movements and steps.

In addition to aiding with technique and execution of certain movements, epaule can also add an extra layer of artistry to dance performances. By emphasizing the movement of the shoulders and using them as part of choreography, dancers can create an interesting visual effect that will captivate audiences.

Epaule is an essential element of ballet that is often taken for granted; however it plays a key role in helping dancers transition from one step or position to another with ease and gracefulness. By utilizing this movement properly, dancers can execute turns with greater control and finesse while adding an extra level of artistry to their performance.


In conclusion, epaule is an important movement in ballet that translates from French into English as “shoulder”. It is used by dancers to rotate their shoulder joint quickly in order to transition from one step or position to another with ease and gracefulness; it is often seen during pirouettes but can be applied more broadly across different types of dance styles too. Epaule not only aids with technical execution but also adds an extra layer of artistry which will captivate audiences – making it truly invaluable within ballet performances!