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chocakety

Grand Pas De Chat

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chocakety

I had class today in the Vaganova method. The teacher went on to give the steps from the corner "glissade, grand pas de chat grand pas de chat all the way" and then all of the girls did "Glissade grand jete grand jete grand jete"

 

I am very sure that I heard pas de chat. Is there another term for grand jete?

 

Thanks!

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Mel Johnson

Grand pas de chat is just another way of saying grand jeté with the front leg doing a developpé.

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chocakety

Thanks Mr Johnson!

So is it correct to say that grand jete is the brush off the floor way?

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Victoria Leigh

Yes, a grand jeté begins with a front battement, while a saut de chat, or grand pas de chat (I have not heard it called that) uses a développé of the front leg. Technically, saut de chat is not the right term either, but it seems to have become the most used term for the step.

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chocakety

Thanks Ms Leigh!

 

Back home, Saut De Chat/Pas De Chat was done with the two legs in the air (the step of the cat) so it was very confusing for me. It is good to learn!

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D.Laszlo

Ah, I didn't know about those terms. At my studio we just call them brush jete or developpe jete. I'm glad I know the proper terms now. Thank you Mr Johnson and Ms Leigh (:

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vaganova_dancer

vrsfanatic can verify this, but the reason would be because you took a Vaganova class.

 

There is a clear distinction in Vaganova between grand jete and grand pas de chat. The term saut de chat is not used in Vaganova. As you pointed out, grand jete involves the working leg brushing straight. It makes sense because the jump begins with a grand battement tendu jete. Grand pas de chat goes through developpe.

 

I wanted to ask -- if you would have gone first and had not seen the other girls do what you called a grand jete, what step would you have done? I am just curious to know what 'grand pas de chat' means in methods other than Vaganova. Does it mean what I think we call Italian pas de chat (pas de chat that travels while extending the working leg)?

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Hans

Antonina Tumkovsky referred to grand jete with a developpe as "grand jete pas de chat", which seems logical to me, although according to the French language it might be better to say "grand pas de chat jete".

 

I've heard the step vaganova_dancer refers to described as both "Russian" and "Italian" pas de chat, which makes me wonder if it started in Italy, made its way to Russia via Italian guest artists at the Imperial Ballet, and was then exported from there...perhaps via the Ballets Russes because Violette Verdy (French trained before Nureyev's POB directorship) did pas de chat with the leading leg extended when she arrived at New York City Ballet. :wacko:

 

I'm going to go dig up my copy of Gail Grant...

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vaganova_dancer

^Very curious to know what you find out in your Gail Grant book (speaking of which, I really must get myself a copy.)

 

For someone who studies in the Vaganova technique, calling it a "grand jete pas de chat" wouldn't make sense because of what a "jete" is in vaganova. The simplest form of jete is in battement tendu jete, which brushes through a tendu and opens up to 45 degrees before closing back through tendu. The knee stays straight the entire time. Therefore, naming a jump where the knee does bend after the term "jete" is not logical.

 

However, that's just for Vaganova. I don't know much about other methods, but I am aware that what we call battement tendu jete, they call degage. Perhaps it is the distinction between those two terms that makes the use of the term "grand jete" as referring to a jump where the leg goes through developpe proper in some methods, but improper in others.

 

Then there is the whole other way of thinking about it, and I could be totally off here, but maybe not. Basic pas de chat has no developpe. Broken down, one could say it is like two passes with both feet in the air. So perhaps the distinction in terminology should not be defined by "brushed" vs. "developped"? And then, one would have to agree that "grand pas de chat" is the most universally logical terminology, so to speak. Well -- what I really wanted to say here was very difficult to put into words, and I did that best that I could. Hopefully it makes sense. If not, I will try to elaborate further.

 

-Also, I would really love to get vrsfanatic's input on this. Hope she sees this!

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Hans

There is also the question of what these terms mean in the French language vs. how non French speaking teachers may use them. "Grand jete pas de chat" makes sense in French--it implies that you do a large (grand) "cat step" with the legs thrown (jete). A term may not be official Vaganova parlance, but it could certainly still make sense in French and therefore not be illogical.

 

Curiously, Grant does not list pas de chat by itself in the edition of her book that I have (third revised from 1982). I believe there is a new edition available, so it may have different information. In my edition, Grant differentiates between:

 

Grand jete en avant, which is the grand jete we all know and love :) with a straight leading leg.

 

Grand jete pas de chat, which is the same as the above but with a developpe action of the leading leg. She lists this as a term of the Russian school, but that does not mean it is correct usage in Vaganova today.

 

Grand pas de chat: the typical pas de chat one sees everywhere, starting and ending in 5th, with the working toes raised to the side of the supporting knee, etc. She also lists petit pas de chat, which goes through cou de pied, and she includes a description of the Vaganova pas de chat derriere under a separate listing.

 

Saut de chat: same as grand pas de chat, but the legs travel through retire derriere rather than with the toes to the side of the knee. May also be done petit, traveling through cou de pied.

 

Ok, here's where it gets weird, and I wonder if there is an error:

 

Grand pas de chat (Russian School): This step is started from an auxiliary step such as a glissade or pas couru. After the preliminary step (to the right), the right leg is thrown forward as in grand jete en avant (body efface) with the left leg up and back. Quickly bend the right knee, bringing the right foot to the left knee, then land on the right foot in demi-plie and glide the left foot through the first position to the fourth position front in croise, left leg in demi-plie. This pas de chat requires a long, high jump.

 

I have never encountered such a step before, and I wonder if perhaps she meant to say bend the LEFT knee, bringing the LEFT foot to the RIGHT knee...then it would resemble a more familiar step, but this? :shrug:

 

Editing to add: Apologies, VRS and I were posting at the same time. I agree entirely with what she said about it being necessary to learn each other's terms and not to be dogmatic. I also would like to add that when it comes to using books, such as Grant's or other technical manuals, it is important to use them with a view toward seeing if they offer clarification or perhaps a logical way of using terms rather than as a sort of ballet scripture.

Edited by Hans

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vrsfanatic

Grand pas de chat may be called saut de chat and perhaps grand jete pas de chat in other programs of study. Since passe' at 90 degrees begins and finishes in 5th (or 4th), lowering downward through stretched knees, it does make sense to call it grand pas de chat according to Vaganova.. The feet pass over one another, traveling forward (or backward) in petit pas de chat while in grand pas de chat the legs extend outward after having passes over one another.

 

Jete comes in all forms and sizes. Jete simple means to throw, to hurls. The movement definitely does! :yes: While things do not always make sense to students, teachers and dancers trained in a particular method, I do think the terminology is understandable and it is best not to make a big deal over the usage of vocabulary in a class, etc. We all need to learn each other's terminlogy. We also need to respect our differences and learn from one another.

 

Sorry Hans, we were posting at the same time. I am not sure I understand the Grant quotation either. :nixweiss:

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vaganova_dancer

Ok, here's where it gets weird, and I wonder if there is an error:

 

Grand pas de chat (Russian School): This step is started from an auxiliary step such as a glissade or pas couru. After the preliminary step (to the right), the right leg is thrown forward as in grand jete en avant (body efface) with the left leg up and back. Quickly bend the right knee, bringing the right foot to the left knee, then land on the right foot in demi-plie and glide the left foot through the first position to the fourth position front in croise, left leg in demi-plie. This pas de chat requires a long, high jump.

 

I have never encountered such a step before, and I wonder if perhaps she meant to say bend the LEFT knee, bringing the LEFT foot to the RIGHT knee...then it would resemble a more familiar step, but this? :shrug:

 

I, too, have never come across this step -- and I also find it difficult to imagine how it works in my head (the picture I get in my mind is of a jump that resembles a sort of 'fish presage' -- don't know the term, sorry! -- as would be done in partnering). I agree that, if she made a typo, it would resemble what I would term an Italian pas de chat.

 

vrs, I agree that we should learn each other's terminology and respect one another even if the methods differ.

 

I, personally, am extremely unfamiliar with methods other than Vaganova and my knowledge is limited to the informal and minimal exposure I've had on the odd occasion I've taken classes with teachers who teach a different syllabus. It is for this reason that I enjoy picking this apart so much, because not only am I learning about different techniques, but it is also a chance to gain a further understanding of the technique I am already familiar with. I quite enjoy the science aspect of ballet!!

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Claude_Catastrophique

Wouldn't that be a stag jeté (like described in GWW book)? At the moment I have no access to the book but it sounds to me like the the desciption of a stag jeté (although the straight leg at the beginning is a little bit confusing).

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vaganova_dancer

When you get access to the book, I would love it if you could explain what a stag jete is. I have never heard that term before, either, and you've piqued my curiosity :happy:

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Mel Johnson

"Stag leap" is a term from jazz dance, which in turn borrowed it from early Modern Dance, particularly Denishawn. It's just a grand jeté done with a developpé.

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