Training

Suki Schorer's 5 Tips For a Better Entrechat Six

Schorer leading class at ABT. Rosalie O'Connor Courtesy SAB.

Nothing's more impressive than a fluttery entrechat six. Here, School of American Ballet's Suki Schorer gives her tips for perfecting this tricky jump.


1. Your Power Is In the Plié

One of the most common problems Suki Schorer sees is dancers taking too short of a plié. "They bounce off the floor and then don't have the power to go high in the air," she says. You'll need that height to create the beats. A juicy plié will also allow you to control the landing and hold on to the tempo.

2. Timing Can Help

As you plié, think "and-down-entrechat six" rather than "and-up-entrechat six."

3. Keep Chest and Legs Forward

"As students start to jump, they often throw their upper bodies back and then their feet get behind their bodies," says Schorer. As a result, the legs swing front and back instead of scissoring through first and fifth. "You need your legs underneath you or a teensy bit in front, with your chest also forward."

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Lesley Rausch in Agon. Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB.

4. Think of Your Back Foot Coming Front to Beat...

...instead of the front foot going back to beat.

5. Start Beating Immediately 

Once you leave the ground, you have limited time to fit in a lot of batterie. "Often dancers don't start beating their legs until they're on the way down," Schorer says. Instead, start the first beat on the way up—as soon as you leave the floor.

Need Extra Help? 

  • To get a proper sense of how the legs should scissor side to side in entrechat six, Schorer has students practice single and double beats taking off and landing in a small second position. Doing so trains the legs not to swing front and back.
  • Core strength is integral to maintaining proper alignment during the jump. Lie down on your back and practice entrechat six with your legs lifted to 45 degrees or higher (so your back doesn't arch). "That way you can really feel your stomach muscles at work."
  • Go to a corner where two barres meet; using your arms, lift yourself up on the barres to practice the correct feeling in the air. "It takes a lot of strength to keep your legs underneath and forward of the body," says Schorer.


Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
Darian Volkova, Courtesy Shayer

After years of rigorous training, ballet dancers become accustomed to constructive and oftentimes harsh criticism. Being scrutinized is something that comes with the territory.

I myself spent the better half of my high school years in Russia, where political correctness does not get in the way of progress. We were trained to use criticism as fuel to propel us forward. Everything said in class or rehearsal was meant to help better ourselves and not to be taken personally.

But where is the line between helpful advice and offensive language?

Keep reading...
News
Greta Hodgkinson and Guillaume Côté in Margeurite and Armand. Karolina Kuras, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading...
Training
Students at Sun King Dance's Adult Ballet Camp. Jenny McQueen of Capture Photography, Courtesy Sun King Dance.

For adult recreational dancers, summer isn't just a time for swapping out warm-up sweaters for breezy tees—it's also about taking your training to the next level, and perhaps packing your bags for a ballet workshop. Why should teens and pre-professionals have all of the fun? Fortunately, there are scores of adult summer programs all over the United States, and even abroad for those of you looking to sprinkle in a little sightseeing after your final reverénce. (Can't wait for summer? Check out these spring workshops at National Ballet of Canada and Sarasota Ballet.)

What can adults expect from a weekend or a week of dance training? Everything from technique to repertoire to yoga. Most of all, it's a chance to just dig in and dance, without a pesky to-do list waiting for you after class. Here are some summer programs designed for adult recreational dancers to keep on your radar.

Keep reading...