Grand pas (French for “large step”) is a comprehensive suite of dances and the crescendo of classical choreography. Grand pas often includes all the dancers of the troupe: first, corps de ballet appear on the stage; they are followed by the soloists and the suite is then concluded by the ballerina and/or the danseur. Just like other, smaller classical dance forms, grand pas consists of entrée, adagio, a series of different variations and coda.
Grand pas can take as much as a whole act, but can also serve as an independent piece. For instance, the grand pas from “Paquita” has been performed separately from the play even when its creator, Marius Petipa, was still alive.
Grand pas can be compared to a grand parade of the whole troupe. It is often performed when a celebration occurs in the play, for example, when the protagonists’ wedding is announced. Its principal value, however, is all about meticulous choreography – it is important to think through the composition of ensembles, the structure of the dances and the stylistic balance of the whole thing.