One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pawing movement of the foot, reminiscent of a horse pawing the ground, made while performing a hop on the other leg.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Dancing Times. From French pas de cheval (not dated in dictionaries of French), lit. ‘horse's step’ from pas step + de + cheval.
pas de cheval/ˌpɑː də ʃəˈval//ˌpa də ʃəˈval/
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