A coupé in ballet defines an action that has a “cutting movement.” 

What is a coupé?

  • It is a swift movement of the feet, where one foot slices either in front of or behind the other. 
  • The coupé concludes with the newly active foot pointed by the ankle of the stationary leg.

How can you perform a coupé?

A coupé can be used in multiple ways. These include:

  • Typically, a coupé serves as a preparatory step preceding a more significant movement.
  • As a connecting link to transition into other movements. 
  • A coupé can be executed while jumping (sauté) 
  • or while raised up on the ball of the foot or toes (en relevé).
  • In some instances, coupés can be performed consecutively in a series, although this occurrence is relatively less frequent.

Tip for performing a coupé: Maintaining proper rotation in both the working and standing legs while ensuring the working thigh remains below a 90° angle. To achieve a good turnout, you’ll need to really use the deep lateral rotator muscles located beneath the glutes (the muscles in your buttocks). To perform this effectively, you’ll want to engage and strengthen these muscles through targeted exercises.

Is a coupé used in other dance forms besides ballet?

While ballet is the most common dance form associated with the coupé, it can also be observed in other styles like jazz.

Additional Information about coupés

How to pronounce “coupé”: A coupé, is a term that originates from the French language that is pronounced  “koo-pay.” 

It is important not to confuse this pronunciation with the American pronunciation “coop,” which is often used to refer to a two-door vehicle or carriage. 

The term “coupé” derives from the past participle of the French word “couper,” meaning “to cut” or “strike.”

What is the difference between cou-de-pied and coupé?

A Cou-de-pied and Coupé are two different terms that are often used interchangeably in ballet. However, there is a clear difference between the two.  A cou-de-pied is a position in ballet and coupé is an action.

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