|Photo: Bill Cooper|
Développés can be performed in all three directions (front, side and back) with a wide variety of arm positions and head alignments, but the working leg always goes through retiré position (with the toe by the side, in front of or behind the supporting knee, depending on the particular ballet style) before extending. The extended position may be either an attitude or fully stretched leg. In the latter case, développés to the back finish in arabesque position.
Développés are typically performed at the barre and in the centre as part of adage exercises. Whilst professional dancers may lift their legs above head height, young students should aim for a 45-90 degree angle, ensuring the développé action is fluid and that the leg is turned out. A typical basic développé exercise at the barre would involve développés in all three directions, each time followed by lowering the leg into tendu position and then closing back to a standing position. Royal Ballet dancer Romany Padjak demonstrates a slightly more advanced développé exercise below:
Développés are performed in numerous ballets. In the grand pas de deux of The Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy steps onto pointe, takes the Prince's hand and performs a développé to the front. Développés are also used in other dance styles. In Cats the musical, for example, Victoria (the white cat) has a développé to the side in her Act I solo.