Sissonne is a classical ballet term that describes a dancer jumping from two feet and splitting their legs “like scissors” in the air before landing. It is a very common and popular ballet step, seen in performances and throughout classes of most skill levels.
A sissonne in its most simplest form is commonly taught to students at intermediate levels as part of medium and grande allegro. Many pictures featuring dancers in splits in mid-air are commonly pictures of a sissonne.
Different Types of Sissonne
There are many forms of sissonne in ballet. Different steps have the dancer landing on one or two feet, but always pushing off the floor with both. The most common is sissone fermee, which has the dancer jump from and land on both feet from fifth position.
This step is seen performed often by both male and female dancers. Usually the the arms are in third position or arabesque, but a sissonne can be done with any combination of arms.
Sissonne in Ballet Class
A ballet student usually first learns how to do a sissone at an intermediate level and at young ages. This is to ensure the dancer has enough basic strength and comfort with basic steps like plie and saute.
From there, a student will learn variations such as jumping and landing on one foot in attitude or arabesque (sissonne en avant) or other positions. The step can also be done petit in variations or in petite allegro combinations. Because of the difficulty at quicker speed, sissonne is usually taught slow and big as part of grande (or medium) allegro combinations first.