Fouetté is a classical ballet term meaning “whipped.” The term fouetté is used with others to describe different steps, however, it almost always describes the quick whipping action of a dancer’s leg or body.
Fouetté as a jump
For example, a dancer could do a fouetté saute where they jump in the air with a single leg to the front, then quickly change body (whipping around) direction to the opposite side and rotating the leg into an arabesque before landing.
Fouetté as a turn
Another common form of fouetté is a fouetté turn, or fouetté ronde de jambe en tournant, usually performed by ballerinas, where the fouetté or whipping action describes the movement of their leg between each turn as it goes from passé to a la seconde and back again to passe. This is most often seen in codas, as the ballerina is doing “32 fouettés” but can also be seen spread throughout an entire ballet.
Fouettés are not limited to jumps and turns, as a fouetté can also be done with both legs touching the ground, which is called “fouetté à terre”