Entrechat – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Techniques Glossary

I. What is an Entrechat?

An entrechat is a classical ballet term that refers to a jump in which the dancer crosses their legs in the air before landing. The word “entrechat” comes from the French word “entre,” meaning between, and “chat,” meaning cat. This jump is characterized by the rapid crossing and uncrossing of the legs, creating a fluttering effect in the air. Entrechats are often seen in ballet variations and are a staple in classical ballet repertoire.

II. How is an Entrechat performed?

To perform an entrechat, a dancer must start in a preparatory position, usually with one foot in front of the other. The dancer then jumps into the air, crossing their legs at the ankles before quickly uncrossing them and landing back on the ground. The arms are typically held in a rounded position, with the hands framing the face or extended to the sides for balance.

The key to a successful entrechat lies in the dancer’s ability to maintain control and precision while executing the jump. It requires strength in the legs and core, as well as coordination and timing to execute the crossing and uncrossing of the legs seamlessly.

III. What are the different types of Entrechats?

There are several variations of the entrechat, each distinguished by the number of crossings performed in the air. The most common types of entrechats include:

1. Entrechat Quatre: In this variation, the dancer crosses their legs four times in the air before landing.
2. Entrechat Six: In this variation, the dancer crosses their legs six times in the air before landing.
3. Entrechat Huit: In this variation, the dancer crosses their legs eight times in the air before landing.

Each type of entrechat requires increasing levels of skill and strength to execute, with the entrechat huit being the most challenging due to the number of crossings involved.

IV. What is the significance of Entrechats in dance?

Entrechats are a staple in classical ballet repertoire and are often featured in variations and solo performances. They showcase a dancer’s technical prowess, agility, and control, making them a crowd-pleasing element in ballet performances.

In addition to being visually impressive, entrechats also serve as a test of a dancer’s technical abilities. They require strength, coordination, and precision to execute correctly, making them a valuable tool for dancers to hone their skills and push their limits.

V. How can dancers improve their Entrechat technique?

To improve their entrechat technique, dancers can focus on strengthening the muscles in their legs and core through targeted exercises such as pliés, relevés, and jumps. Practicing the crossing and uncrossing motion of the legs in the air can also help dancers improve their coordination and timing.

Additionally, dancers can work on their flexibility and range of motion to achieve a higher and more controlled jump. Stretching exercises targeting the hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors can help improve a dancer’s ability to execute the entrechat with ease.

VI. What are some common mistakes to avoid when performing an Entrechat?

When performing an entrechat, dancers should be mindful of common mistakes that can hinder their execution. Some of these mistakes include:

1. Lack of control: Failing to maintain control over the jump can result in sloppy leg crossings and a lackluster performance. Dancers should focus on engaging their core muscles and maintaining a strong, stable position throughout the jump.

2. Incorrect leg positioning: Failing to cross the legs at the ankles or failing to fully extend the legs in the air can detract from the visual impact of the entrechat. Dancers should pay attention to their leg positioning and strive for clean, precise crossings.

3. Poor timing: Failing to time the crossing and uncrossing of the legs correctly can result in a disjointed and awkward jump. Dancers should practice the timing of the movement to ensure a smooth and seamless execution.

By avoiding these common mistakes and focusing on technique, dancers can improve their entrechat performance and showcase their skills with confidence and precision.