How Ballet Dancers Retire (While Still Dancing)

If you want to pirouette, you'd better learn this dance pose

Ballet dancer performing on stage in theater
Caiaimage/Martin Barraud / Getty Images

The retiré is a common pose in ballet in which one leg is raised to the side, with the knee bent so the toe is pointed next to the supporting knee (on the front, side or back). The retiré is the position used for performing a pirouette.

Practicing this pose will help to improve balance.

The Difference Between Retiré and Passé

Retiré is often interchanged with passé, although passé is the actual movement that ends in a retiré, and retiré is the final position.

 

Although passé and retiré don’t mean the same thing, they’re often interchanged and it’s widely acceptable to do so.

Although the “passé leg” is commonly associated with ballet, you can perform both passé or retiré in a variety of dance styles, including jazz, contemporary and modern.

Small but Mighty

Although the retiré may seem like a small and unexciting pose, mastering it is actually vitally important for a ballet dancer because it is involved with many different leg movements. 

Having a beautiful, high passé adds a lot to your dance, but it’s not as easy to develop as it may appear. It can take years of training and practice before a dancer masters the move.

More About the Word

How to pronounce retiré: reh-tur-a

Learn More

Read more about the definition of and the proper positioning for a passé here