Cabriole is a classical ballet term meaning “caper.” In a cabriole, a dancer jumps in the air off one leg as the other is thrown upwards, as the bottom leg raises to meet and beat with the top leg, the top leg continues to go higher as the bottom leg returns to the floor.
A cabriole can be in a variety of positions and at different degrees. In petit allegro, a cabriole is usually done at 45 degrees and lower to the ground, while the beating of the legs happens higher in grand allegro. Cabrioles can be done devant, derrière and à la seconde (front, back or side) and in any position of the body (croisé, effacé, and so on).
Cabriole in Ballet Class
Cabrioles are very commonly seen throughout allegro combinations in intermediate to professional level ballet classes and given to both men and women. They are almost equally done to the front (devant) and to the back (derrière) but rarely to the side (à la seconde). To the side is more common in other forms of dance like tap or character dance.
Cabriole on Stage
While both men and women are often given cabrioles in ballet class, it is more featured on stage by males. Many male classical variations and codas feature a diagonal of multiple cabrioles, such as Albrecht’s Act 2 Variation in Giselle or the male variation in the Diane and Acteon Pas de Deux.