Développé is a classical ballet term meaning “to develop,” or “developing movement.” A Développé is a movement where the dancer’s working leg is drawn up to the knee of the supporting leg and extended to an open position.
As the working leg is brought up, the standing leg is typically straight while also keeping the hips level. The opening movement of the working leg should be seamless, yet still pass through a full passé.
Développé is a very common step in classical ballet and many other forms of dance. It is somewhat of a basic step, but can take quite a while to master, with many advanced students and sometimes even professionals still giving in to bad habits. A good understanding of développé, especially the idea of leaving your hip down as much as possible, can lead to many other steps looking better. As développés are commonly used in pas de deuxes, it is even more important for women to understand how to do the movement correctly.