The roots of classical ballet go back over 400 years.
It all began in France, in 1581, where there lived a man by the name of Beaucoup de Messies, who was, shall we say, not the world's best housekeeper. In fact, he acquired so much junque that he had to develop certain techniques to manoeuvre his way through his maison.
There was the glissade, a gliding step, travelling sideways.
The pas de chat was a jumping step, travelling sideways through the air in a light, springing movement, often done several times in succession.
The arabesque, where the dancer balances on one leg with the other outstretched to counterbalance the extending arm, was necessary to reach doorhandles.
The pirouette, a step where the dancer spins on one leg, developed from the necessity of turning around in rooms where the available floor space is the size of a postage stamp.
The fifth position of the arms developed from Monsieur de Messies fending off falling towers of cartons.
Modern ballet has its origins in Classical ballet, although some of the terms have changed. For instance, glissade, glissade, pas de chat has become corrupted into the much cruder sidle, sidle, big step.
C'est la vie.
Many people believe that the pas de chat ("step of a cat") is so named because of its resemblance to a cat's natural movement, but this is a myth. Actually, it is because the cat-loving Monsieur de Messies used it to avoid piles of merde de chat in his maison.