Jun 15 2009
It is impossible to imagine modern or classical ballet dance without entrechat. So what is entrechat in ballet moves, anyways? Basically, it is a step of beating in which a ballet dancer jumps into the air and rapidly crosses the legs before and behind each other. The dancer usually jumps from the fifth position and lands back in the fifth position. We count entrechats moves from two to ten according to the number of crossings required and counting each crossing as two movements, one by each leg. For example, in an entrechat quatre each leg makes two distinct movements.
There are two classes of entrechats in ballet dancing: even-numbered and odd-numbered. The even-numbered entrechats, or those which land on two feet: deux, quatre, six, huit and dix (2,4,6,8,10). The odd-numbered entrechats, or those which land on one foot: trois, cinq, sept and neuf (3,5,7,9).
For example: in an entrechat-quatre starting from fifth position, right foot front, the dancer will jump crossing legs and beating first the right heel on the back of the left heel, then at the front of the left heel, landing in the same starting position.
Young ballerina who performed first in history of ballet entrechat quatre was magnificent dancer Marie Camargo. She performed it during her debut at the Paris Opera with the ballet Les Caracteres de la Danse in 1726. It brought Marie Camargo fame and fortune. And, no doubt she deserved it: after all at those times the standard women’s ballet shoes looked differently. These were not ballet slippers or pointe shoes as we know them. Ballerinas danced in the conventional shoes that had heels!
In a sample YouTube video the ballet dancer performs quite tough 32 entrechats six in the second act of Giselle.
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