Écarté is a classical ballet term meaning “separated, thrown apart.” It is one of the eight directions of the body.
In écarté, (specifically écarté devant) a dancer is facing their entire body to one of the two front corners of their square box. (a box drawn perfectly around the dancer that is has its front and back lines parallel to the front of the room or stage). To complete an écarté, one of the dancer’s legs must be in an a la seconde position en l’air or à terre. The same side arm as the working leg is usually in a high fifth position.
In écarté derrière [ay-kar-TAY deh-re-ehr] the same rules above apply except that the dancer is facing one of the two back corners.