Most dancers and teachers understand the concept of performing a step en manège, or in a circle, but do you know where this term comes from and how it's related to its origins?
Take note that many teachers and choreographers mistakenly use en ménage. It's a simple vowel swap and rolls off the tongue more easily for English speakers, but there is a difference. Ménage is the French word for "household, " while manège refers to the ring used in equestrian training and competition.
En manège - pronounced[manɛʒ] "en" sounds almost like the English word on, except that vowel sound comes form both the nose and mouth simultaneously and the "n" is not pronounced, "ma" is pronounced similarly to the ma in mama in English with the mouth wide open, "nè" is pronounced like the Ne in the name Ned, and "ge" is pronounced similarly to the S in the English word measure.
Ballet was only one of Louis XIV's interests. He also kept a large stable of horses and horsemen. Since all young noblemen were expected to learn skills such as music, dance, and horsemanship as part of their education, there was certainly some overlap between the horsemen and the dancers in Louis XIV's court. We know for a fact that the count credited with inventing the step sissonne was listed as one of the Louis XIV's Cinquante pages de la grande écurie (50 Pages of the Great Stable). It is logical that this overlap would occur with terminology as well.
Imagine a dancer doing tour piqués en manège. The dancer performs a series of piqué turns while traveling in a circular path. Now transfer this image to the equestrian arena: imagine the rider galloping the horse around the ring or even guiding the horse through specific footwork in a circular path.
Another good image is the carousel (in modern French manège can also mean carousel) with which even the youngest dancers are familiar. Help your dancers to maintain their circular motion and to keep their circle wide in group work by imagining that they are on a carousel horse.