Berdo with Charlotte Ballet apprentice Elisabeth Baehman. Photo Courtesy Charlotte Ballet.

Beat the Brisé Blues With These Expert Tips

Many dancers struggle with brisé, says Laszlo Berdo, associate director of the Charlotte Ballet Academy. "But once you've mastered it, it's not that difficult." Here's how he helps his students beat the brisé blues.

Hold your turnout: Laszlo Berdo says a common mistake is stepping forward on a turned-in leg in anticipation of the brisé. "You lose the support of that standing leg. Then you have no power to jump," he says. "That plié is your saving grace and control."

Create a line: Berdo notices that some dancers dégagé à la seconde instead of effacé. "It's really difficult to chase that leg into second when you're trying to move forward." He teaches brisé with an open shoulder blade. "The back arm's extension is a reference to the front leg's dégagé. Keep that energy stretching out."



Laszlo Berdo. Photo by Jeff Cravotta, Courtesy Charlotte Ballet.

Beat both legs: Berdo describes brisé as an entrechat quatre on an angle. "There's a tendency to beat only the first leg, bringing it down." Instead, the second leg should chase the dégagé, with both legs crossing at the upper thigh for a strong, energetic battu.

Pitch your body: "The upper chest is forward, sending the body towards the heel," says Berdo. Don't cave in—keep the shoulders open and the back solid. But if you are too upright, he says, "the dégagé gets sucked underneath you, and it looks like a bad assemblé."

Look out instead of down: "You want to land about two inches past where that dégagé leg was, but the focus has to continue to move forward. Keep that sense of infinite distance."


Extra Tips:

  • Imagine a broomstick connecting your two wrists. "Hold that position to support the back and move the jump forward. The arms are not decoration, they're part of that lift."
  • Practice the "pike" position while working on your beats and building core strength. Lie on your back and engage your lower abdominal muscles. With your legs extended to 45 degrees, practice entrechat quatres and royales.

Latest Posts


Courtesy Tiler Peck

Tiler Peck's Top 10 Tips for Training at Home

On March 15, New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck announced to her 172,000-plus Instagram followers that she'd be teaching a live class from her family's home in Bakersfield, California, where she's currently waiting out COVID-19. Little did she know that she'd receive such a viral response. Since then, Peck has offered daily Instagram LIVE classes Monday through Friday at 10 am PST/1 pm EST, plus an occasional Saturday class and Sunday stretch/Pilates combo. "The reaction was just so overwhelming," she says. "These classes are keeping me sane, and giving me something to look forward to."

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT

Hang Out With Your Fave ABT Dancers in These Upcoming Social Media Events

With live performances cancelled and dancers stuck at home, American Ballet Theatre has found a new way to reach its audience: Instagram LIVE. The company has just announced a number of upcoming social media events, ranging from a humorous Instagram series hosted by Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy (yes, we're serious, and we can't wait), to technique classes. So check out the schedule below, and get ready to tune in.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Burmann working with Wendy Whelan at Steps. Photo by Kyle Froman.

Remembering Iconic Steps Teacher Wilhelm "Willy" Burmann

Over the last 36 years, scores of dancers passed through Wilhelm Burmann's studio doors at Steps on Broadway in New York City. Burmann, who went by "Willy," welcomed everyone—from huge dance stars to young students with huge dreams. He also welcomed adult students seeking to improve their technique and even students just taking ballet class for exercise.

On Tuesday, March 31, he died of renal failure after his treatment was complicated by the coronavirus, and the dance world lost a beloved teacher and coach.

Keep reading SHOW LESS