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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Entrechat quatre help!


Guest BBNButterscotch

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Guest BBNButterscotch

Hi... my class is just starting entrechaquatres (we've already done batuse), and I have trouble with making them clean (ie actually touching the calves), it seems like when I try to do that, i just end up hitting my feet and stepping on myself. We normally practice them in the air first, which helps some, but does anyone else have any more suggestions? Thanks!

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  • Administrators

BBN, the best way I know to make your legs understand what they have to do is to practice between two barres. If the room has barres that meet in a corner, use that. If not, place a portable barre parallel to the regular barre and stand between them. If in the corner, support yourself facing out, not towards the barres. Demi plié, push off the floor into the air supporting yourself with your arms, open the legs to a small "V", cross them feeling the beat, open again, and lower to plié. By supporting yourself you can do it slow motion to help your legs feel the full action. You may need to think of beating the legs slightly higher in order to get the calves crossed and not just beat the feet! :yes:

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Hi BBnbutterscotch,

 

For a long time I dreaded entrechat quatres.... :sweating:

 

I too have found that getting between two barres and getting hte feeling of the legs beatingbefore gravity pulls me back has helped a LOT....

 

But the real problem for me, and maybe for you, has been that nervous anxiety caused me to turn in as I went up, whhcih made my heels hit each other and STUMBLE on landing. And hte thing that has helped me most as a preparation is to practice changements with the heels really turned out -- my teacher Susan Weber has us do changements "so the back foot comes front" and for some reason that gets me to turn out in hte air, heels forward --

 

so for quatres, I go up and do 2 changements before I come down, and with the heels forward in the air, the feet don't get in each others' way -- it's a miracle, they work!!! Presentable entrechat-quatres. :blushing:

 

Hope it works for you.

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May I also suggest lying down with your back on the ground, your hands under your hips (for comfort's sake), and your legs pointing straight up to the ceiling. Point your toes and put your legs as though they were in fifth position releve. Then switch the legs -- R in front, L in front, R in front, L in front. You can even do them in the rhythm of entrechat quatre. Back, front, hold. Back, front, hold. I like this exercise because it can correct how the legs move in entrechat quatre. I find that students having problems with this are often making round shapes instead of the sharp in-out that the legs should be making, consequently the students lose a lot of time and energy in the air.

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Also watch yourself sideways to the mirror and make sure you're not sticking your butt out when you jump and land. If you are, it's an indication that you're not using the inner thigh and you're losing rotation when you jump (very common problem).

 

I like to think of my beats happening from the top of my legs (the inner thighs are beating). That way, if you have nice pointed feet, they shouldn't get tangled up.

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Battements tendus pour batterie are a help, too.

 

In the exercise piccolo mentions, try opening your legs to a small 2nd each time you beat. As you do it faster, the 2nd will get smaller, but always make sure to open your legs at least a little with each beat. It will make them clearer and more brilliant.

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  • Administrators

The one lying on the back can also be done using the idea of pushing from a demi plié by bending your knees and flexing your feet in a 5th position, push them staight up, open slightly to a small V, cross and beat, open again, and close bending the knees and flexing the feet. Good coordination exercise too :blushing:

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Guest Aleksander

Maybe you will surprise because of my suggestion....

 

Actually I use swimming-pool to practice all batu steps. Water gives me resistance while jumping, so it is possible for me to do batu steps in properly way. It works like a jumping in slow motions. B)

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Absolutely right, Aleksander! The swimming pool is also an excellent way to practice beats B)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not that I can do beats all that well now, but when I started, my attempts were often comical. I do think it’s safe to say that I’ve improved my beats tremendously in the last 3-4 years. I’ve tried many of the things that have been suggested and really can’t say that they did too much for me other than to at least give me the correct feeling. What I think helped me the most was just doing whatever beating steps we were doing in class 4-5 times in a session, doing the session 4-5 times a week. And doing them without evaluating how well I did them. I found that very important. When I would evaluate my beats, I would get really harsh and wind up discouraged. When I gave up evaluating and trying so hard to improve, I seemed to improve as if by magic. In fact I was unaware of my improvement until a teacher, who doesn’t give compliments just to make you feel good, pointed it out to me.

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