Saut de basque is a classical ballet term that describes a traveling jump in which the dancer jumps and turns in the air with one leg placed in a retire position. A dancer first grande battements one leg (leaving it straight in the jump), as they push off the floor with the other leg and bring the foot near the knee of the other leg the battement leg.
This retire position makes a saute de basque look like a pirouette in the air.
Saut de basques are considered an intermediate or advanced ballet step. It is usually taught in upper levels of ballet schools because it involves timing several steps together to do properly and safely.
A dancer must have a good sense of a retire position, the strength to jump off one leg and land on the other, and be comfortable with spinning in the air.
A saut de basque is typically part of a grande allegro combination in a ballet class but is also often seen in classical and contemporary ballets.
Saut de Basque on Stage
Male ballet dancers commonly perform a double saut de basque as part of a variation, coda, or even as part of the corps de ballet. Often they will be performed in multiples of two or three, one after the other or with chasse en tournants in between, in a diagonal across the stage or as part of a manege.
While not done as often as males, female variations occasionally have saut de basques that are sometimes done in quick succession.