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Terminology question


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During grande allegro our teachers LOVE to start every exercise with a "faille assemble." I couldn't figure this thing out for the life of me last year, and am determined to not let the "faille assemble" scare me away from grande allegro this year. So, I pulled out my handy dandy "Classical Ballet Technique" by Ward and tried to find it. There is faille listed and pictured and a pas faille (Soviet syllabus). The pas faille looks like the movement exactly. Is pas faille the same thing as faille assemble?




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Failli and assemblé are actually two different steps, but doing a failli before an assemblé is a very common combination. The full name of failli is "pas failli," and to be picky, it should also be "pas assemblé" but most teachers don't bother with the first word in a classroom setting.

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Ok, so the picture and description of pas faille in Ward's book would most correctly be the faille assemble?


The faille shows a releve arabesque at 45 with a 1/4 turn, back leg sweeping through to a 4th position demi-plie.


The pas faille shows starting from demi plie in 5th, jump with 1/4 turn in fifth releasing back leg in a low arabesque en l'air, land in plie, draw back leg through first into croise devant, transfer weight onto that foot, travel forward in assemble croise par terre.

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Hm, ok, I just looked at the description of Pas Failli in Warren, and she does indeed show it finishing with an assemblé, but it does not have to finish that way; one can finish with pretty much whatever jump one likes.


The illustration for what Warren terms just plain old Failli is what I would call something like Failli par Terre so as to differentiate the two.


A step called "Failli Assemblé" doesn't actually exist (as far as I know). I would guess that what your teachers mean is for you to do pas failli and then assemblé (i.e., "failli, assemblé") but when said quickly, it does kind of sound as if it's one step. :) I hope that clarified things; terminology can be quite tricky! And of course every method is different....

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Ok, thanks Hans! I appreciate the fast responses. At least the pictures and descriptions give me a broken down view of what it's "supposed" to look like!




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Can you please try write it phonetically, the pronunciation is alluding me.


I do the RAD syllabus, is that what they call it?


I get so confused by some of the grand allegro technology I have started writing it down and asking the teacher to spell it for me, but i havent come across this one i dont think. Failli that is - cos im down with the assembles.

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A failli is one step and an assemble is another. In the RAD syllabi you have two steps that are quite similar and are sometimes muddled even by teachers! These are failli and demi contretemps. A failli normally starts in 5th in a croise alignment and is therefore a jump from TWO legs, which cling slightly until you land on one leg in a low arabesque (turning to face the ouverte alignment) and follow on with a chasse passe. In the RAD system the arms usually open to demi-seconde from bras bas, pass through bras bas to 1st and then carry on up and out to open 4th if you do indeed continue on into an assemble over, which should finish in the croise alignment, so that you can do the whole thing over. A demi contretemps usually starts in degage derriere and therefore is a jump from ONE leg followed by the chasse passe, usually with the same change of alignment as a failli. If you started a grand allegro exercise in the top corner of the studio, you could therefore prepare with a chasse en avant into degage derriere, and start with a demi contretemps, assemble over, followed by a failli, assemble over. Think of a failli as a sissone chasse and the demi-contretemps as a temps leve chasse. By the way, just to muddle you even more there is also a full contretemps in the RAD system, which is a coupe chasse, followed by a temps leve in arabesque into a chasse passe.


A word of warning - if you are doing RAD exams you must know what they mean by a particular term. The same name may be used to mean something quite different in another system, or another system may have a totally different name for the same step. The Russian terminology is different, the French system is different. ISTD and RAD are fairly similar, but even there some differences are apparent. It's really muddling, but you have to try and remember which is which. There is a dictionary of terminology published by the RAD with quite clear explanations - it might be worth investing in one. A failli is pronounced Fei - yee.

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I'm not doing RAD. We don't touch RAD with a ten foot pole. =) We do a mixture of Vaganova and Chechetti.


Another question..........one of our teachers says something that sounds like "supersole." They are little hops forward in fifth position. Looked it up in Ward and the only thing close is a "soubresaut." Same thing?


Maybe I should start trading French pronunciation lessons for ballet classes!




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Maybe I should start trading French pronunciation lessons for ballet classes!


:) Not such a bad idea! The day instructions involving 'dessus' and 'dessous' were pronounced in such a way as to be distinguishable would be a happy one in my class...

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Thanks, WendyMichelle and Hans, for finally clarifying "supersole" vs. "soubresaut" -- something that I'd been wondering about as well! Reminds of of DD's pre-ballet days when she was in competitive gymnastics and the coach kept telling the girls to "sashay" when she really meant "chasse"! Made me cringe everytime...

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