ascballerina

Pas de Chat

29 posts in this topic

I'm putting this here because it's more about the creation and historical connotations of the step than a technique question.

 

Why is pas de chat always done from the back foot? It's certainly possible to do it from the front foot, or even changing feet (as countless students learning it for the first time have demonstrated :P), without any technique suffering in any way. Most other jumps can be done from both feet, so why not pas de chat?

 

P.S. I tried to search for this, but was unsuccessful. If I'm repeating a topic, sorry!

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I don't know the historical connotations of the step, however technically it certainly can be done changing the feet, and when done 'changé it generally would start from the front foot. An example would be going into in from a tombé or a coupé over. It would be somewhat awkward, I think, starting from front foot and closing the second leg back, though. I always do it changé when starting with front foot. :)

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Every teacher I've ever had has drilled me in the "it always comes from the back foot, no exceptions" rule, even the non-Cecchetti teachers, so this must come from somewhere. I had no idea some people do do it change.....I was guessing that there was perhaps some court rule or tradition that was going over my head.

 

Weird.

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Hmmm, I teach it as coming from the back foot, not changing, but in more advanced classes in combination with other steps I will often do it either from a cou de pied devant and going to that front foot, changing, or from a tombé-coupé, or .... whatever. (though, come to think of it, I have never taught it starting with the front foot and not changing, either..... ;) )

 

In several variations I have danced there were different starting positions for pas de chat, so I figure it must be out there. I also wonder why most teachers I know (and myself) so seldom put it differently.

 

-d-

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On occasion I will give pas de chat in my lower level lessons with the front foot leading the movement. I find it helps them maintain the turn out of the leading leg.

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I just found this thread. This comment isn't regarding the history of the step, but I had a teacher that insisted that there were 3 and only 3 versions of pas de chat. 1 . starting with the back foot, not changing 2 . starting with the back foot, changing 3 . starting with the back foot, not changing, both feet landing at the same time.

 

She used to have questions that she would ask, and expect a very specific answers. One of these questions was (through her thick accent): "How many types pas de chat we have?" the answer was: "THREE".

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I have most often done this step coming from the back foot. There has been an emphasis recently in my adult drop in studio on having the students in class be able to reverse a combination (not start the combination with the other foot, but actually do all the steps that were front to back, back to front - as in jeté ordinnaire over now becomes jeté ordinnaire under, and pas de bourree over now becomes pas de bourree under, a pirouette d'hors becomes a pirouette de dans, etc.) and pas de chat has not been exempted from this. In particular, one teacher who grew up in Poland and got her teaching certificate in Russia, does this on a regular basis. It's good for the mind, but does tend to lead to some frustration on the part of the students.

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That's actually what prompted me to ask this question, Pas de Quoi. I was taking a class, and the teacher asked us to reverse what we just did, but "pas de chat never reverses", which actually made life harder than a straight reverse would have been (because all of a sudden, there was a tricky change of direction). It got me wondering, because I never really looked at it that way before...

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Very interesting, ascballerina! I wonder what Einstein would have to say about the "no reversing pas de chat" in an alternate universe scenario that ballet class can sometimes seem to be! :)

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:offtopic: [Einstein didn't believe in alternate universes, that's the realm of quantum physics: "God does not play dice" and all that]

 

 

Sorry. :angelnot: I had to! From here on in, I promise not to correct my teachers.

 

Back on-topic:

 

It's like learning the same language with different dialects...but fascinating all the same!

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Reversing a pas de chat and would mean starting with the front foot and closing the other foot back. While certainly not impossible, it is quite awkward and looks strange. However, starting with the front foot and making the pas de chat changé, closing the second foot in front, works perfectly fine. I see no reason why that would not be taught, as it is certainly used in choreography.

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I wonder if the pas de chat changé, beginning with the front foot and closing the second leg in front, actually started as a "lazy" version of the gargouillade?????

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1Possibly, but I really don't think so. The pas de chat changé just makes a lot of sense choreographically, and works in many combinations. Personally, I think pas de chats are not one of our most lovely steps, however, when it comes from the right kind of connecting step, like a tombé forward or a coupé over, it can move more efficiently and smoothly, and not look like such a static step. I am talking here about it's usage for upper level students, not beginners. I understand that it needs to be taught the basic ordinary way for young beginners, but there is no reason it cannot progress into a more danceable version in terms of advanced levels and choreography. I am just saying here that I think that "it MUST come from the back foot" thing is very old school and unnecessary.

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Lol, I always remember my teacher scolding us and saying, "Starts in the back, stays in the back, ends in the back." :) However, there have a been a very few occasions with my other teacher that we "cheat" and switch something around so that it works with the combination. :)

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Not cheating, it's legit. :) There is no reason why a pas de chat cannot be changé. However, even when it is not changing, and starts and ends in back, in the air it should be retiré side, not back, at least once one is beyond the beginning level.

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