Names of Ballet Moves That Are Similar to Figure Skating Moves

From Annette Thomas, of "Ballet For Figure Skaters"

Figure Skating and Ballet Have Some Similarities
Figure Skating and Ballet Have Some Similarities. Ryan McVay / DigitalVision Collection / Getty Images

Some of the moves figure skaters do look similar to moves that ballet dancers do. If possible, figure skaters should become familiar with the names of the ballet moves that correspond to figure skating jumps, spins, turns, and/or steps.

The information in this article comes from Annette Thomas, the author of "Fundamentals of Alignment and Classical Movement for Figure Skaters" and the owner of the website Ballet For Figure Skaters.

(Note that the names Mrs. Thomas has given are for the Vaganova/Russian Method; Cecchett. The Royal Academy of Dance may have slightly different names especially for some of figure skating jumps.)


  • The waltz jump is similar to a Grand Tour Jeté which is done by ballet dancers.


  • The Axel jump resembles a Grand Tour Jeté Entrelacé, but with 1 1/2 revolutions.


  • The split falling leaf jump in figure skating is done from a loop jump position, so the entrance and appearance in the air is closely related in appearance to a Grand Jeté en tournent en manège from ballet.


  • A back spin in figure skating is equivalent to an “outside” (en dehors) Pirouette from ballet.


  • Spirals: Penché in 1st arabesque is the most common pose, but also extensions to the side (écarté devant or écarté derrière if on an outside edge) and also to the front in croisé or effacé devant.


  • Attitude: Same as in ballet, usually croisé derrière for an inside edge and effacé derrière for an outside edge.


  • Double loop and triple loop jumps: For a counter clockwise skater this takes off on a backward outside right edge and the left leg is slightly bent and crossed in front so the jump would resemble a double or triple Pirouette en dehors in the air.


  • Split jump: From a standing still position these are the same as in Character Ballet (as is often seen in the “Chinese Dance” in the Nutcracker) As a traveling jump the position in the air it is most like a Grand Jeté Fouetté from 1st arabesque changing mid air to land in effacé devant.


  • Bauer: A lunge with cambré back very similar to a transition pose during the 6th port de bras in the Vaganova Method.


  • A ballet jump might look like ballet's Piqué sauté arabesque.