Échappé is a classical ballet term meaning “slipping movement” or “escaping.” A dancer does an échappé with their legs and feet. Starting in a closed position, usually fifth position with the feet, the dancer slides both feet out equally into either second or fourth position.
A standard échappé is done without the dancer’s feet never losing contact with the floor the entire movement. This is very common in pointe classes and female variations. An échappé sauté looks similar but is done with a jump that opens to second in the air.
Men, especially in Bournonville style, will commonly perform échappé battus where the dancer adds in numerous beats before opening and landing in second.