Donde esta lé tendu?

This question came in from a reader the other day, and I thought it was pretty hilarious, and I have a little idea about what the answer might be but also wanted to share it with you, Gentle Reader, and see what you think:

Dear AB,
as you are kind of an expert beginner, maybe you can help me out with that question i have. I cannot ask my russian ballet teacher as he is quite spooky (when i got the counting wrong in a class the other day, he sprinted to his cd-player, switched off the music, pointed at me with a pillow we use for floor exercises and shouted “EXPELLIARMUS!”). So this being no option i am seeking your kind help.
The reason i got the counting wrong was the following: i was wondering why Spooky Teacher let us do tendus but kept calling it “donde” or something. I have never heard the word before as i spent the last 1,5 years of adult-balletery in some other class, where tendus are tendus and everything was ok.
I tried to google donde, but unfortunately i have no clue how it is spelled correctly so i found nothing except for spanish rubbish like donde esta el sanitario (add upside down question marks).
Maybe you have heard of this “donde” or otherwise i must conclude that S.T. just made it up to confuse us. That would suit him!
Lots of thanks from germany
a confused fellow beginner

Hee hee, Spooky Teacher!
Ok Gentle Reader, what do you think?
Here’s what I think:
I think tendu is “tahn-doo” equals “tahn-deh” equals “dahn-deh” equals “donde”.
In other words, I think it’s a case of my favorite thing where a person’s own accent comes up against ballet French pronunciation and there’s a Battle Royale for Total Dominance.
Sounds like this time French got the smack-down.
Which reminds me of a great post over at Interpreting En Point.


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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19 Responses to Donde esta lé tendu?

  1. This was a great post by Confused Fellow Beginner. Okay. First of all, Balletery is an awesome word. Secondly, was he and how can he be upset at your counting and use the word Expelliarmus on you?!
    HAHA, Spanish FTW/Lose!
    ~TheSpanishMermaid :D

    • Shazadi says:

      we were supposed to do four “donde” to the front and four to the side and i just kept on dondeing to the front until seven which was where Spooky Teacher lost his countenance… by the way it was my first thought that “donde” and “tendu” might be the same but all his other french words sound perfectly right to my non-french ears…. but then one class later he made us “Dondle-YAY” across the room – which i recognized as “Tendelier (?)” from my other class: a kind of jumped arabesque across the room not unlike this sequence here:
      So i think this might be the answer: he just don´t like T(ea… judging from his giant beer belly. Hah, Spooky Teacher, Expelliarmus that!).

      • Laura says:

        French is my 2nd language so I’m not saying I’m perfect either, but I have yet to meet a ballet teacher of any ethnicity who pronounces all the terms correctly! “Donde” is pretty weird, though. Could “Dondle-Yay” be “temps lié” (roughly “tahn-lee-yay”)?

        God bless my current teacher who has a whiteboard in the studio & writes the names of the steps down for us!

  2. Jen in Oz says:

    I just have to say, I misread your last line but one… as having a “Ballet Royale” ;-)

  3. Kay says:

    I have a teacher with a vaguely eastern european accent/name, who is of the scary, scolding-even-his-adult-students type, and he pronounces “tendu” more like “PANZU” (always shouting it), which makes me think of WWII German Panzer tanks, which makes me feel (more) scared.

  4. K_Whitbread says:

    omigosh, am I ballet-vocabulary deprived? What does Expelliarmus mean??

  5. Aline says:

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now. I really love it and I can’t count the times I’ve been laughing in front of my computer reading your posts. It actually motivated me to start ballet again: I had forgotten how cool it was!
    Anyway, I’m Belgian – french speaker, and I find these posts about ballet languages hilarious. Until those, I had actually never realized that French was used even in ballet classes given in other languages. I thought it was translated, you know, like people translate the names of cities and countries (which I find a bit weird ). Tendu would be … extended? One more cool thing about ballet^^ (also shows it’s traditional side I think!)

    • Oh wow! Yeah, it’s French all the way. Occasionally teachers will translate to really get the point across, even if it’s sometimes not really a correct translation. My teacher says jeté is “Like a jet! Shoom!” So we get the idea of speed and power and airborne-ness.
      So glad to hear you are back in ballet, that’s awesome!

  6. hahaha I can’t believe people actually pull an “expeliarmus” at other people in real life. I take classes in Uruguay and my teacher has the spanish-est (yeah, that’s not a word!) french EVER! I think it’s sexier than it is funny though.

  7. lalatina says:

    hahahaha, brilliant :) As a Spanish native speaker I have to say I loved this!

  8. Kitten Has Claws says:

    I’m still laughing about the Expelliarmus! As if Shazadi was a dangerous tendu weapon that needed to be disarmed! :D

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