Grade Two Theory Work

In Grade Two we now have codas.
A coda is a set way off turning to the other side on the barre.
As we progress up the grades the codas get slightly longer.
Not all exercises will have a coda.

The barre work should now start being used to help develop core strength.

WARM UP 2/4 into 3/4

The build-up to knee bounces is:
Warm Up B – Primary

This exercise has 3 sections A, B and C
A is a 2/4
B and C are a 3/4

This exercise could be broken down into the following individual sections

Section A 2/4
The knees should be soft during the knee bends and don’t lock out at any time. Heels need to stay on the floor as there can be a tendency for them to lift, this could be because of tight achillies.
1. The upper body should be in a good postural position with all the movement happening from the waist down.
2. The pelvis must be isolated and not tip upwards.
3. The foot action needs to be toe first, make sure that the toes don’t actually lift off the floor as the foot glides open. The same needs to occur when the heels move again in a gliding action.
4. The knee bend with turnout action has already been done in the Primary Warm Up B exercise.
5. A strong instep stretch is required on the rise with a good pull up the front of the leg with no relaxation in the knees. Remind your students of the Grade One Warm up exercise and refer to the Grade One Warm Up notes.

Section B 3/4

  1. The step back from the barre should be at a natural distance, with a satisfactory upward stretch. Shoulders down and palms facing inwards.
  2. The forward stretch needs to be controlled and is a flat back at a right angle.

    Common faults that can occur are;

a) Back arches or curves,
b) The head drops or lifts.( it needs to stay in line with the body,)
c) The weight goes into the heel.
d) The knees may bend especially if there is a tightness in the legs.
e) Don’t pull back on the barre, keep weight on the toes.
f) On the 4 knee bends the heels must stay in place and not lift. Step feet into parallel.

Snap means to open the feet out and straighten the legs in a sharp manner. Snip means to bring feet back into parallel. This action has been used in Primary Warm Up B.

Section C 3/4

  1. In the side port de bras make sure that the hips stay in place and don’t rock from side to side. There should be a lift in the side body and execute a good 5th arm position before taking the arm over into the side stretch.
  2. Don’t sink into the hips and body when executing the side port de bras.
  3. The arm should keep its shape and not bend or drop as the body executes the side port de bras and as it recovers back and lowers to bras bas.
  4. The head should naturally look down to the side without dropping the chin or any twisting in the shoulders.
  5. The demi plié must stay central with a strong secure base. There should be no leaning to the side on the plié action with the side port de bras. Avoid the ribs from protruding. The legs and arms work together starting and finishing at the same time.


The build-up to pliés is:
Point and close – Preparatory
Knee bends in 1st position – Primary
Demi plié in 3rd and full plié in 2nd – Grade One pliés

The build-up to the demi-pointe position is:
Walking and running – Preparatory
Transference of weight – Primary
Warm-up – Grade One

This is the first time your students would have done a full pile in 1st and 3rd. When teaching a full plié even though the action is lowering all the way down the feeling should be an upward lifting motion. This action should look and feel weightless. The heels need to stay in contact with the floor for as long as possible on the way down and replace down onto the floor as soon as possible on the way back up. At the bottom of the plié, a good instep stretch should be executed. Avoid arching the lower back by keeping the pelvis tipped under.

Power should be going through the legs at all times keeping the student from sitting at the bottom of the plié.
Avoid any rolling of the ankles and make sure that pressure is evenly distributed across the toes.
Turn out should be sustained throughout the plié and the knees shouldn’t drop inwards.
The transition from lowering in the plié to rising back up should be smooth with no jerking action. This is where strength in the legs comes into play.
As in all pliés, the upper body should be held upright.
The rise needs to be strong and secure with a feeling of strength in the legs.
Practice balancing by letting go off the barre when in the rise.
A wobble board is a great way to start getting core control, This should be used in a safe manner and a student should never be left unattended when using it.


The build-up to a fondu is:
 Spring points and pas de cheval – Primary
Step and close with balance exercise – Primary 
Pose temp levé enchainment – Grade One
Progressive enchainment – Grade One

The build-up for tendus is:
Transference of weight – Primary
Foot exercise – Grade One

The build-up for glissés is:
Foot exercise – Grade One In the first 2 bars of this exercise, we are looking for an accurate demi plié with a good turnout on the supporting leg, as the working foot is taken into the tendu.

Good contact with the floor is required as the foot is taken out into the tendu position and should be executed on the return back into 3rd position.
The tendu foot needs to be on a good point without any dropping or relaxing on the outside of the foot. The heel should be well lifted.
The pelvis should be tipped under to avoid any curvature of the lower back. There is a tendency to leave the pelvis tipped up as the foot returns back into the supporting leg.
On the tendu, a strong leg working and supporting leg should be implemented. If this is disregarded the action will be weak, plus there will be movement in the lower back.

Refer back to the Grade One Foot Exercise for how to teach glissés.
This is the first time continuous glissés are performed. A common fault to watch out for is that they start off with a strong action but as they progress the foot weakens and the glissé becomes relaxed, this is due to the lack of strength and stamina. The same strength and pressure must be maintained throughout the 7 glissés.

Coda: Relevé feet need to be pulled tightly together with a good instep stretch and the heel should replace the toe. Legs need to be tight, get a feeling of pulling up on the inside of the legs. This will encourage length and no sitting in the hips. On the demi detourné keep weight forward with no leaning backward.As the body turns to face the other side a good arm placement is required, making sure the arm holding the barre is placed slightly in front of the body line. This will encourage a good postural position and eliminate leaning backwards.


This is the first time a rond de jambè has been introduced into the syllabus.
A precise circular action of the leg is imperative. This should be smooth and continuous.
A good rotation of the hip is required to maintain turnout throughout the ronde de jambe action.
The rond de jambè positions could be explained like a clock face, devant is 12 o’clock, a la seconde is 3 o’clock and derrierè is 6 o’clock, making sure each position is reached and not overshot. It is very easy to mis-position the leg.

This exercise is quite slow so care is needed not to rush or overextend the movement.Both legs need to be strong and no flexion of the knees.

Don’t sit in the supporting leg. It is very easy to relax and sit in the hip which will result in the hip sticking out to the side.

  1. A good feeling of lift from under the glutes.
  2. A continuous turn out is necessary with precise leg positioning and a fluid movement.
  3. Don’t let the foot relax as it rotates through each position.
  4. The degagè and fondu action needs to flow out of the rond de jambe with seamless precision.
  5. The arm positioning up to 5th should pass through bras bas, 1st position and up to 5th. The palm of your working hand should always be visible to the dancer.
  6. The arm and leg action should work in unison with each other.
  7. Turning to the other side needs control and core. A good demi-pointe should be maintained on the turn. There can be a tendency to lean back when turning so make sure that the bodyweight is slightly forward and a good placement of the arm.


The build-up for grande battement is:
Step and close with pointe – Primary
Preparatory grandè battements – Grade One

Refer back to notes for Preparatory grandè battements – Grade One.
This is the first time we have executed a full grande battlement. The same principles apply to a full grande battement as that of a preparatory grande battement, the only difference is, that the foot closes straight into 3rd position and the leg has a throwing action to it rather than a lifting action.
The throwing of the leg should come from down the back of the leg. There is a tendency to lift the leg from the front of the thigh. Encourage the action to come from the back of the leg, pushing down the leg. This will give a good throwing action with the accent up. There should be a controlled descent with no pounding of the foot on the floor.
The toes still need to touch the floor first in a tendu position before closing and the heel must make contact with the floor as it closes into 3rd position.
The height should be 45 degrees and needs to be at this height in devant, a la seconde, and derrière. Don’t be tempted to allow the leg any higher especially if students are flexible in certain positions. Flexibility is positive only when it comes to strength and control.
When doing a grande battement to 2nd the positioning should be slightly in front of the body line. Students do tend to try and get their leg directly to the side of their body. In this position, turnout cannot be maintained.

Coda: Feet in the releve position, need to be pulled tightly together with a good instep stretch. Concentrate on getting the heels lifted. Legs need to get a feeling of pulling up on the inside of the thighs. This will encourage length and no sitting in the pelvis. On the demi, detourné keep weight forward with no leaning backward.


The difference between a pirouette prep position and a full retire is:
Pirouette position the working foots instep is placed under the knee.
Full retire the working foot is placed at the side of the knee.

The build-up to a full retire is:
Foot exercise – Grade One
Pose temps leve enchaînment – Grade One

In this exercise we see the first introduction to a retiré passé.
This exercise should demonstrate accented movements. Both the relevé and the working leg need to work in unison and arrive at their final destination at the same time. Executing a good demi plié coming out of the relevé will enable a powerful action, without this, the proceeding step won’t be strong.

Relevé position: 
A strong pull up into the demi-pointe position. Get a good platform with the toes which will give a secure base for the position.
The feet should look like one with the front foot crossing in front of the back foot, but not over shooting.
Pull up the front of the legs thinking about elongating the upper body.
Don’t let ankles drop outwards. By now strength should be building in the ankles.

Pirouette prep position:
A strong pull up into the demi-pointe position. The supporting leg lifting out of the hip.
The instep of the working foot should be hugging around the kneecap of the supporting leg. Turnout needs to be sustained in this pirouette position.
The working leg must be strong and maintaining a good turn out.
The foot can sickle whilst in this position. To correct a sickle think about pulling the little toe back to elongate the foot.
Don’t let the working foot just hang in this position. It should be touching the front of the leg.
The action should be executed with a purpose.

Full retiré position:
The foot is held at the side of the knee, same principles apply as to the pirouette position and faults.
The heel may relax onto the supporting leg. A good stretch through the foot should be encouraged.
The foot should come up to the side of the leg and there should be a secure turnout.
Try and get a progression through the foot as it closes down into 1st position. Don’t let the foot flex and just be placed onto the floor. We have seen this action before in the Grade One foot exercise.

As the foot passes from devant and closes derrierè this is known as a retiré passé


The build-up to jetè prep is:
Step and hop enchaînment – Primary
Progressive enchaînment – Grade One

The build-up to changements is:
Allegro warm-up – Grade One

This is a complexed exercise and needs to be taught with a good understanding of the timing.
Refer back to the build up exercises as a reminder of the foot positioning.

Explanation of a full jetè
The back foot is placed at the back of the ankle in a petit jetè position.
The back foot is placed on the floor using a good foot progression and proceed into a demi plié.
Once the working foot is on the floor it is taken to the side with a glissé action. The supporting leg is still on a fondu.
The weight is then transferred onto the working foot by a springing action. The working foot is brought back into the centre, whilst the other foot is placed into the petit jeté position.
The action should not go side to side but upwards.

Height is essential in the spring.
The action will look heavy without this elevation.
Body weight must be lifted with power through the legs.
The whole action takes 1 bar to complete (123) and the back foot is placed down on the first count of each bar.
Make sure there is a good push through the floor (refer back to your Grade One glissé exercise).
Avoid taking the foot to the side too high as this will loose the power behind the step.
The back foot must place down on the floor before executing the 3 changements.
The changements must close in 3rd position, ensure correct placement as it is very easy to over shoot the feet.
Make sure legs straighten after the changements making the first action on the left side the plié.
The upper body needs to stay upright and avoid the temptation to look down at the feet.
No upper body movement and engage strong control power through the legs.


The build-up to the walking on demi-pointe is:
Walking and running – Preparatory
Progressive enchaînment – Grade One

The build-up to the port de bras is:
Preparation for port de bras A & B – Primary
Positions of the arms – Grade One

This is the first exercise in which there is walking and coordinating the arms at the same time. The arms and feet need to be moving in unison and should be smooth and continuous.
The walks on the demi-pointe reflect the walks in the Preparatory walking and running exercise. An exceptional walk is needed with a high instep stretch. Developing a technically correct demi pointe will help a lot with balance and posture.
Every arm position has been taught in previous grades the complexed part of this exercise is the co-ordination.

Work through the arms first before adding in the walking. Make sure that your student is secure with the timing of the arms and are hitting the correct positions:

Bar 1: arms to 1st position
Bar 2: arms to 2nd position
Bar 3: arms to bras bas up to 5th position
2 counts: arms to 2nd position
2 counts: arms to demi 2nd.

Once this has been achieved add in the footwork. Balance and core strength is needed in this exercise.
Look for a stronghold on the demi-pointe on the close into 5th position and a clean rise as the arms go into demi 2nd.
Avoid any leaning forward in the rise position.
Practice the free run by taking it from corner to corner of studio. Avoid feet dragging along the floor.
Knees should be slightly relaxed and a high instep stretch is required.
Arms in the free-run can be in a relaxed held position until the end when they are placed into demi bras.


This exercise is taken in 2 different positions. The footwork stays identical and it is the arm lines that change.
This is the examiner’s choice so your students must know both arm lines. These are called attitude ordinaire or 1st arabesque.

What is the difference between 4th position and attitude ordinaire?
4th position is when the feet are in either 3rd or 5th.
Attitude is when the back leg is extended.

This is the first time a chassé has been introduced. In this exercise it is broken down, this is due to the chassé taking 1 bar to achieve.

1 bar to achieve a chassé
count 1: plié
count 2: chassé en avant
count 3: transfer weight onto the front foot
count 4: close back foot into 3rd.

Make sure that the whole of the back foot is placed securely on the floor, there is a tendency to let the heel come off or to let the foot roll forward.
Be aware that the back knee can drop in and when this happens the back heel will lift off. The reason this happens is that the demi plié hasn’t been executed properly.
This is the first time that we have seen a plié in the 4th position. This should be taken to the barre to get the correct action.
The chassé action can be taken too wide. The legs should be hip-width apart this will allow the plié to be executed properly and allow the back heel to stay on the floor.
The action can be rushed and lose the breakdown as shown above. All 4 stages of the chassé should be shown.
When transferring the weight out of the chasse and into the attitude or arabesque position, the whole body weight needs to move over the front leg. There should be no weight on the back foot.
As we progress up the grades the back leg will be lifted en l’air and if there is weight in the back leg the body weight will be in the wrong place to allow the lift.
There is a tendency to throw the weight backward and arch the back.
All arm movements need to be accurate and pass through 1st. It doesn’t matter what arm position you are going into to as 1st is the gateway to these positions.

The natural turn on the demi-pointe needs to have control and a good instep stretch.


The build-up to the allegro warm-up is:
Little jumps and big jumps – Preparatory
Sautés and echappés – Primary
Allegro Warm-up – Grade One

The build-up to releve is:
Pirouette Prep and Retire – Grade 2

A soubresaut is a jump in 3rd or 5th position. A sauté is a jump in 1st, 2nd or 4th position. 

Our new step in this exercise is soubresauts. A soubresaut mimics a relevé in 5th position but elevated.
The feet want to be pulled in behind each other so they look like one.
This action could be practiced at the barre before bringing it into the centre.

All the other steps in this exercise you have covered in previous grades.
A good instep stretch is required in the relevé, control and strength should be apparent.
There must be a feeling of lift and length throughout the upper body.
Hands in the finger belt position.
A well-executed demi plié is required, as this is the springboard into the soubresauts and all elevated steps.
Good placement of the foot in the changement.
Make the stretch and demi plié smooth because the action is fast. Avoid any locking out of the knees.


The build-up to glissadés is:
Preparatory glissadé exercise – Grade One

The build-up to jetês is:
Step and hop enchaînment (petit jetês)- Primary
Progressive enchaînment (petit jetês) – Grade One
Jetê Prep – Grade Two

The build-up to spring points is:
Spring points and pas de cheval – Primary
Step and hop enchaînment – Grade One

The new step in this exercise is the coupé over. Coupé means to cut.
The breakdown of a coupé over is a releve in 5th and the lowering onto the front foot with the back foot in a petit jetè position. The fact that we are lowering onto the front foot makes it a coupé over. If it was a coupé under we would be doing the same foot action just lowering onto the back foot.

Coupé over
This step should be practised at the barre to achieve control and placement.
Face sideways to the barre with the arm in 2nd position. Extend the outside leg to devant and fondu on the supporting leg. The extended leg pulls into the supporting foot as both feet rise into a strong demi-pointe the weight is then transferred to the front foot and the back foot is placed derrière in a petit jete position.

Glissade derrière
We are now introducing a full glissade. In Grade One we saw the preparatory glissade devant and derrière – refer back to your teaching notes for this.
The full glissade is derrière throughout the exercise and is now taken in a 2/4 rather than in a slow 3/4 count. The same principles apply and even though the step is being taken quicker, control of the step is still essential.
Strength in the legs is needed to hold the glissade in the plié position. The timing is quick compared to the Grade One exercise and precision of the feet is required.
Be careful that the steps don’t start running into each other because of the speed and that the jeté is executed correctly and not just thrown. The same principles apply to the jeté in the centre, as they do to the jeté at the barre. Remember how we discussed that the working leg on the jeté at the barre should come back into the supporting leg, this is the same in the centre even though the exercise is travelling to the side.

Spring pointes- we have already seen in Primary in the spring pointes and pas de cheval exercise – refer back to your teaching notes for this.

Make sure that both feet are in contact with the floor throughout the glissade.
The legs are held in a plié on the closing of the glissade.
Both feet are stretched throughout the glissade. There is a tendency to not stretch the 2nd foot as it is pulled back into 5th position.
The jeté doesn’t travel too much to the side and has height, with good pressure through the floor. Maintaining turn out.
Sometimes the back leg can get used first for the spring point as it is already lifted. This is a hop point, not a spring point. Make sure that the front foot executes the spring point with the weight going onto the back foot first.
Turnout is required on the supporting and front leg for the spring pointe.
The back heel on the spring point has contact with the floor.
The coupe is clear and precise and there is a good instep stretch in the relevé. The lowering of the front foot should be seamless and without weight and the whole action should look like one step.

After the coupé, the glissade is taken with the foot already off the floor. Don’t place the foot down before the glissade action.


The rhythm for a polka is
& 1 & 2

The arms are the teacher’s choice. They should stay the same throughout the polka de côte but can change if you wish on the en avant polka. That there are only 3 polkas travelling en avant and the last bar is the teacher’s choice of ending.

This rhythm can be taught from as young as Preparatory grade. Getting students use to clapping and understanding different types of rhythm.
The hands should be held just in front of the chest with one hand still and the other hand clapping into it, the same action that you have seen in Preparatory pony gallops. The reason for this method is, when clapping becomes more intricate it is difficult for the hands to move accurately at speed.

The foot action should mimic the rhythm being clapped by the hands.

The break down of polka is as follows:
Hop (&), gallop (1&), spring (2) with the back foot ending in a petit jeté position.

This action travels sideways (de côte) and forwards (en avant) the action doesn’t change just because the direction does.

Once your students are confident in clapping the rhythm on their own, start adding the footwork. With this step, it is a matter of repetitive practice.

Start the polka with a hop.
Good elevation in the gallop.
Don’t undercut the spring.
The spring should land with a precise petit jeté foot position and a good turnout.


A: 2/4
B: 4/4
C: 3/4

This is the equivalent to the dance in previous grades it is now called Variation. This is set by the teacher. Steps must be from Grade 2 and previous grades. Make sure good pattern and directions are used.

The variation is choreographed as an individual, not a group dance, but students will dance together for this in their exam.
When practising make sure that each student can dance this confidently on their own even though they will be dancing all together in the exam.


Don’t neglect the curtsey or bow as students get marked on this. 

After the curtesy or bow, students need to say thank you to the examiner and to the person operating the music.

Depending on where the door to the studio is either number 1 or number 4 will lead the group out.


If you would like to have a go at some questions regarding this grade click the link below.