Pas de cheval is a classical ballet term meaning “horse’s step.” It gets its name because a pas de cheval resembles how a horse pulls in its leg before kicking it out again.
When doing a pas de cheval, a dancer will start in fifth position, lift the front leg into cou-de-pied, then extend front into a tendu. It can also be done ending in a degage and to all three directions; front, side and back.
Most beginners will learn pas de cheval in ballet class and continue practicing it even at the professional level. It is mostly done at barre, but a form of pas de cheval can also make its way into some combinations in center. Practicing pas de cheval is great for increasing foot work articulation which is why you will still see it in advanced ballet classes, well beyond a beginner level, in both tendu and degage combinations.