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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Entrechat


dancepig

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I have a terrible time doing entrechats. Whenever I do it, I look like I'm doing what I call the Aflac Dance. For those of you that don't watch American television, this refers to a very large duck that runs around yelling AFLAC (it's the name of an insurance company). I jump up, and try to cross my legs, but from the side, my legs and feet end up looking like a duck paddling through water. My teacher has spent a lot of time with me on this, but I cannot even get it right at the barre! Any ideas as to how I can improve this jump? My changements are nice and tight and high, so you'd think I would be able to do an entrechat - but nope! :thumbsup: Thank you!

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Some of the students in my class had a hard time with entrechats. Teacher recommended starting with echappe beats when you come from second to fifth. It is easier as the legs are already open for the beat and just have to beat when you close. Once you got the feeling for beats, it is easier to do the same in entrechats and other beats.

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I'll try that, but I have a problem with that jump as well. Basically any time I have to do a jump beat thing, it eludes me. We don't even want to talk about brisé! I'm just now getting a decent cabriole - better to the front than the back.

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Oh dear! That is why I dont like them too much. Beats + travel at the same time is not easy. :yawn:

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Remember, a brisé started life as a "broken" glissade from fourth to fourth. Nowadays we do them to fifth. This may help you with them. And don't say that they're a man's step to the girl doing "Flower Festival" pas de deux, or Grahn's variation in "Pas de Quatre"!

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dancepig, it's a matter of training the legs what they have to do, and how they have to move. There are a few ways of doing this, and maybe doing two or three of them will help.

 

1. Swimming pool. Let the lack of gravity do it for you! Just jump and beat away :yawn:

 

2. Lie on floor on your back. Put both legs in the air. Cross them, turned out. Bend the knees and flex the feet, like you are in 5th plié. Push up, straightening the legs, open, cross and beat, open, close back to the plié 5th.

 

3. My favorite. Stand where two wall barres meet at a corner, or between two parallel portable barres. Plié 5th, jump using your arms to push down on the barres, and in slow motion open, cross and beat, open, close to plié 5th. This does NOT work facing a barre. You must be able to support yourself using your arms, without leaning over the barre which displaces the legs underneath you. Once your legs understand the action, the open/cross and beat/open/close plié, then do it quicker and quicker. The legs MUST move sideways in entrechat beats. They cannot move forward and back.

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wait a minute, wait a minute . . . brise's (not my worst nightmare, but a nightmare nonetheless!) as a broken glissade. I have a feeling I'm really not understanding the step because it's hard for me to see that, and I think that if I did understand it I'd probably have an easier time.

 

Not sure where to start with the specific question, but would it be too much trouble to explicate the 'brise as broken glissade' a bit?

 

Thanks!

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Start in a fourth position croisé. Do a glissade starting with the back foot, in a diagonally forward orientation. The foot extends to an effacé, and with a little spring, the following foot passes it through a first position in the air, to end in fourth croisé, just as the step began. In order to make it a brisé, BEAT the feet as they pass.

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Guest BalletBrat

Wow! It's so great to hear the glissade comparison, as that is what my teacher used to help us figure out brisse. Entrechat is still hard for me though, it is that beat out that I have the most trouble with, grrrr! :yucky:

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When I first started beats, I looked pretty silly I know. Jeez, just beating the legs and pointing the feet at the same time were a challenge, so I can identify with having with problems.

 

My solution was just to practice a lot. I would do eschape battu (the easiest beat I would say) religiously. Also Victoria’s number two exercise (I call them floor beats), which I would work into the Pilates mat exercises I was frequently doing at the time. Of the beating steps, brises were certainly the most difficult to do well, though I markedly improved once I got into my body the notions of traveling and beating the rear leg against the leading leg while in the air. I’m guessing that I began practicing beats five or so years ago, and now I think I do them reasonably well.

 

So my prescription is the same as it is for pirouettes—do 2,000 (I am serious about the number) and you’ll get pretty darn good.

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The biggest issue is that the feeling of turnout in your body is being lost when the jump happens. That'll make the AFLAC beats. Make sure your pelvis isn't moving back in the jump. The upper body shouldn't budge. You're not going to accomplish this by adding any tension to the upper body, either. It's got to be that the legs are doing all the work and the turnout muscles are being used right.

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