The saut de chat: ballet terminology - isn't it all the same?

I picked up our Performing Arts Medicine journal, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, today to stay up to date on the current research and became very confused. An article used the term saut de chat to refer to a grand jeté developpé. After years of studying ballet across a mixture of Italian, French, Russian, English, American traditions, I'm familiar with variations in "ballet language." So I decided to do some investigating.

It turns out that that saut de chat is a commonly used term to describe grand jeté developpé. To avoid confusion, the movement is illustrated below. This ballet jump is performed/practiced as part of grande allegro exercises. A high degree of flexibility and strength is required to achieve a full split position in mid-air.



I learned this step as it is described in words- grand jeté developpé- big jump that starts from an unfolding leg. Gretchen Warren, a leading author trained in the Royal Ballet tradition, also calls this step a grand jeté developpé. Gail Grant, another leading author in ballet terminology, calls this step a grand pas de chat from the Vaganova tradition. This was also the terminology used by the Balachine tradition as noted by Barbara Walczak and Una Kai. Anecdotally, this step has also been referred to either correctly or incorrectly as the grand jeté pas de chat, pas de chat jeté, Russian pas de chat, Italian pas de chat.

As a medical professional, I would describe this as a jump involving anterior leg hip flexion and anterior knee extension from a flexed position with simultaneous posterior leg hip extension with knee in extension.

All this to say, movement and spoken language are fluid and highly stylized. That's why choreographers and dancers have their signature styles.

(Note: this is not to be confused with pas de chat which is the step of the cat and in the Cecchetti Method requires starting from a 5th position. It begins with raising the foot in raccourci derriere, at the height of the jump with both legs in high passé, landing on the starting foot with the other foot in raccourci devant, closing in demi-plie in fifth position.)