n. (ballet) a dance for four people
On the night it premiered in London, (12 July 1845) it caused a sensation with the critics and the public alike. The reason for this was that it brought together, on one stage, the four greatest ballerinas of the time — in order of appearance, Lucile Grahn, Carlotta Grisi, Fanny Cerrito, and Marie Taglioni. (The fifth great Romantic ballerina of the time, Fanny Elssler, was invited to take part in the gala event but declined to do so; the young Lucile Grahn accepted without hesitation.)
Pas de Quatre captured the essence of the Romantic style as the ballerinas danced with demure lightness, delicacy, and poise. The steps demand that each area of classical ballet technique is executed. These areas include adagio movements, petite allegro, grand allegro, fast footwork, graceful changes of position, and the elegant and fluid arm movements that have become a signature element of Pas de Quatre. Each ballerina has an individual variation, which are performed in succession between an opening and finale that are danced by all the ballerinas together. These variations were choreographed for the ballerina premiering in each role, and were designed to display the best features of each.
Pas de quatre (literally, "step for four") is a French term used to identify a ballet dance for four people. Pas de quatre are usually plotless dances performed as ''divertissements '' within the context of a larger work. However, narrative pas de quatre and pas de quatre that stand alone are not unknown.
Usage examples of "pas de quatre".
The Auckland Philharmonic was just getting to the part where the baby swans come out arm in arm and do a fast, bouncy pas de quatre across the stage.