DID YOU KNOW
There Are Five Positions Sur le Cou-de-Pied
The term 'Sur le cou-de-pied' means 'on the neck of the foot'. The sur le cou-de-pied area is the tapered portion of the leg from the base of the calf to the mid-foot of the supporting leg. The working foot is placed on the sur le cou-de-pied, and is always fully stretched (not wrapped). There are 5 different positions of the working foot which is placed on the sur le cou-de-pied. Each of the 5 positions are used in a different way specific to particular ballet movements. It is necessary to understand how each position is used and for what movement.
There are four positions which are considered to be in the front or 'devant': 1) the 'Basic Position' sur le cou-de-pied, 2) the 'Conditional Position', 3) the 'Low Conditional Position', and 4) the 'High Conditional Position'. There is only one position on the back of the leg: 5) the Sur Le Cou-De-Pied Derrière. All together, this makes a total of 5 positions sur le cou-de-pied. (Note, there are three 'Conditional Positions' 'devant'. They are so named 'conditional' because these positions are used for specific, defined, movements.)
In all five positions, the foot of the working leg is fully stretched through the instep and toes. Also, the Achilles' tendon is well pulled up towards the calf muscle (as if the leg was extended with a stretched foot in a battement tendu). Both legs are always actively turned out and the heel of the working foot is held well forward. Care must be taken to never relax, sickle or evert the working foot.
THE FIVE POSITIONS SUR LE COU-DE-PIED
Animations by Jeff Szuhay
SUR LE COU-DE-PIED
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COMING TO TERMS
Sur le cou-de-pied vs. Coupé. What's the difference?
Sur le cou-de-pied (sewr-luh-koo-du-PYAY) refers to the position on the supporting leg of the working foot. Coupé (Koo-PAY), or "to cut," is not a position at all but an auxiliary movement done on the upbeat as a preparation or impetus for the step that follows. One foot "cuts" away the other and takes its place, either sharply as in an impetus for a jump or smoothly as in an adagio-coupé. It may be done in place or while moving out in any direction. A coupé may be executed from the position sur le cou-de-pied: as a connecting movement between the two jumps pas jeté and assemblé, for example.