What is the Definition of a Sous-sus in Ballet?

This versatile ballet move can be done on releve

Sous-sus. Photo © Treva Bedinghaus, licensed to About.com, Inc.

A sous-sus is a relevé (rise) with the feet in a tight fifth position that ends by sliding the feet and legs together tightly. Ultimately, it looks like the dancer has just one foot with a heel on each side. 

Although a sous-sus can be thought of as a relevé in fifth position, it’s not quite that simple. The dancer must go through the action of sliding his or her feet and legs together, which eliminates the gap between the legs after the dancer rises on his or her toes.

The relevé can be a rise to either pointe or demi-pointe. Demi-pointe shoes are similar to pointe shoes, but without the stiff sole, so they work as a training transition to get dancers adjusted to dancing on pointe.

The sous-sus can be performed in place or can be a traveling step to either the front, side or back. 

About the Word Itself

What does sous-sus mean? This French word translates to mean "over-under," referring to the movement of going into relevé while putting the feet into fifth position.

How to Pronounce Sous-sus? su-su

Alternate Spellings: Sus-sous

Common Misspellings: Soosoo, susu