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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Flick Flak

Guest Kelsey

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Guest Kelsey

I was at class on Monday and in the middle of barre work my instructor got us to work on our frappes. In the middle of that exercise he fitted in this step called a flick flack..(i don't even know how to spell it correctly :D )


I'm just wondering:

- Is there another name for this step? (a more ballet-ish sounding sort of name...? Flick flack sounds like something from tap class...hehe)

- How does this step really work?

- What do you do with your arms while you do the step? Do you leave them in 1st or what?

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At least in our school, the flic-flac and pas de cheval are not interchangeable terms. :D


In our school the flic-flac is a movement where the working foot comes to sur le cou-de-pied twice (back-front or front-back depending on wheter it is en dehors or en dedans; the non-wrapped front is used). From the starting position the the ball of the working foot "licks" the floor on the way to the sur le cou-de-pied, opens slightly (like the first half of a petit battement), and again "licks" the floor before the second cou-de-pied position. After the second sur le cou-de-pied the working leg continues to the finishing position.


Flic-flac usually starts and ends from an extended position of the working leg; here it is often given from and to a la seconde at 45 degrees. Flic flac is often accompanied by two simultaneous rises to demi-pointe on the supporting foot. The rises coincide with each cou-de pied; the "lick" is executed with the supporting foot flat. As a variant there may be only one rise on the second sur le cou-de pied.


Flic-flac can also be done en tournant, and later often is. En dehors flic-flac also turns en dehors and vice versa; most of the turning happens during the demi-pointe accompanying the second sur le cou-de-pied.


Did this help any? :rolleyes:



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Flic-flac is a Russian term for a sort of battement fouetté done terre à terre. In fact, the Cecchetti term for it is petit fouetté à terre. To make matters more confusing, it used to be called "pirouette" in eighteenth century ballroom dancing.

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As long as we're talking about flic-flacs...


At my home studio, they are part of virtually every barre. Fellow students here at this week's Adult Dance Camp commented that they are an obsolete movement, not worth learning because it is never performed in the center. True/False/Comments?

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Just the sort of talk that brings on a choreographer who does a historically-based ballet, and includes lots of the little beggars! :)


Actually, they're quite useful for working through the foot, as in any battement fouetté, and linking it to other movements. Turning is just one of them.

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As for being outdated. . . the first time I saw them I was able to do them -- why? Because I came to ballet from hip hop and they were used constantly by hip hop choreographers.


Admittedly the accent was different, but the overall movement is very similar.

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Since we are on the topic of the flic flac, I have a question. In our studio there seems to be two versions taught of the flic flac en tournant. One version is the way described earlier, where the foot goes to the sur le cou-de-pied position twice. In the other version, the foot "licks" the floor but goes to a sous sous position, the turn takes place, then the foot "licks" the floor once more and finishes in the sur le cou-de-pied position (either front or back depending on if the turn was en dehors or en dedans). For myself, the second version is much easier, but I'd rather be doing the correct version. Any thoughts? :wub:

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Sounds like a compound step with a soutenou demi en tournant in the middle.

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I had never been asked to do a flic-flak before the Richmond adult camp. I had a little bit of trouble with it--Pedro said, "this lady, she does a flic but no flak!" It's a very strange movement for me!

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i know the feeling.....i also have troubles doing that step....also because i've been in some classes and they didn't explain it and i never executed the step...... :D i didn't know what i was doing :wub:


but since i moved up to advanced 2.....they're in my frappe exercise at the barre......they finally explained them well to me and although it took me a few days to overthink the step.....i think i finally know what i'm doing..... :sweating:



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Flic flac is another of those steps , along with pas de cheval, which are not used in the UK, in any of the classes I dance in. Which is such a shame as I loved them, and found them useful.

I really dislike it when some of the teachers here in the UK, look down their noses at you for daring to even mention those steps... I think myself lucky to have been taught ballet in the UK and in the US. Having been back here in the UK now, I prefer the US teaching and ballet classes (eventually when I got used to them).

Hooray for flic flac :)

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