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Brisé means "broken" - but they need not be


Anjuli_Bai
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Brisés are often looked upon with trepidation - but if you think of them as an assemblé with a beat which  moves (goes somewhere)  it takes some of the "uh-oh" out of it.  They are done either to the front, back or turning. Gail Grant in her "Technical Manual and Dictionary of the Classical Ballet" lists over a dozen. 

 

The one example that I can think of that does not move - is done sur la place - is brisé volé.  Because that is done alternately to the front and back - the dancer ends up pretty much where he/she started.  

 

What they all have in common - whether moving or not - and in whatever direction they go - they do not occur directly  under the dancer.  At least, I've never seen any.  

 

The problem for many students is to get the momentum to move at the same time one is doing the beat.

 

Brisé to the front:  You must get a good sweep forward with the initiating leg to get you moving.  Try it without the beat - just the assemblé - as in assemblé forté - an assemblé that lands in front of where you started.

 

To aid this forward movement  you must send the rest of your body forward, too.  So as your leg sweeps forward, bend your torso over the forward moving leg.  Visualize in your mind how the dancer does this in brisé volé in the Blue Bird variation in Sleeping Beauty.  His body leans over his leg as he beats to the front and he  leans back when the beat happens in back. Since this alternates it is easy to see how his body leans first to the front and then to the back.

 

The common error which makes brisé seem difficult is that while we sweep the leg strongly forward to initiate the move forward, we forget to literally lean over that forward leg.  This  includes the arms, they too are well forward over the forward moving legs.  If you forget to do that lean and leave the body and arms either behind you or straight up - you arrest and even negate the forward movement and you literally stop yourself in mid air.

 

And - don't forget to direct your eyes to the place in front of you where you wish to go.  Don't leave them behind you either.

 

Try it all first with just the assemblé.

 

I hope I've said something here that helps.

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I always think of that lovely bluebird variation when I think of brises and brise volee.

 

I did not know it meant broken though in relation to the step I wonder why this is?

 

I think I need to look at where my body weight is in fact .....it may not be forward enough for this step. But I think you're right about the mental attitude as soon as you start to think yo can't do a step it gets worse!! I think Ive become a bit of a "I can't do brises person!!"

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I always think of that lovely bluebird variation when I think of brises and brise volee.

 

I did not know it meant broken though in relation to the step I wonder why this is?

 

I think I need to look at where my body weight is in fact .....it may not be forward enough for this step. But I think you're right about the mental attitude as soon as you start to think yo can't do a step it gets worse!! I think Ive become a bit of a "I can't do brises person!!"

 

So, let's change that into a "I'm a learning how to do a brisé person."

 

When you do that "body over feet" - don't be afraid to lean too much. I have found that when I think it's too much it's usually just right.  The angle is quite sharp.  

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oooh, I love brise and brise volee combination in the bluebird variation! 

 

Watching it being done beutifully, that is. It really does look like a bird floating in mid-air.

 

And, did you note how the body and arms "float" forward and back over the legs?

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Yes.  When I attempt it (...not the whole variation, just brise and brise volee), it was so hard as upper body movement is really huge, leaning forward, then straight up, then bending backwards.

 

I always end up looking more like flapping in desparation (sort of a drowning (lame) duck...). Need stronger core and even more pulling up the upperbody, I think.

Edited by mimi66
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Yes.  When I attempt it (...not the whole variation, just brise and brise volee), it was so hard as upper body movement is really huge, leaning forward, then straight up, then bending backwards.

 

I always end up looking more like flapping in desparation (sort of a drowning (lame) duck...). Need stronger core and even more pulling up the upperbody, I think.

 

Well, the upper body leans over -but it is still pullled up - fully engaged - it's not just "over" but up and over.  Many people accomplish the over part but forget it's up and over - not a collapse into leaning over.  If that chest collapses as it leans over the legs - then the step dies.

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Brisés are often looked upon with trepidation - but if you think of them as an assemblé with a beat which  moves (goes somewhere) ...

 

I'm afraid I have to disagree with thinking of brises as assembles. This is the cause of no end of confusion for students when learning the names of steps.

 

When an assemble battu over is performed, for example, starting in 5th with the right leg derriere, it is the right leg (or the leading leg) that performs the beat (behind the left leg) before the feet change and the dancer lands with the right foot in 5th devant.

 

However, when performing a brise over, the dancer begins in 5th with the right foot derriere, and performs the glisse/degage/brush action as in the assemble but it is the left leg (the 'push off' leg) that performs the beat (behind the right leg), before the feet change and the dancer lands in the starting position - ie, with the right foot in 5th derriere.

 

It may be a case of semantics again but I prefer to explain them as two entirely different steps, to avoid confusion.

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I'm afraid I have to disagree with thinking of brises as assembles. This is the cause of no end of confusion for students when learning the names of steps.

 

When an assemble battu over is performed, for example, starting in 5th with the right leg derriere, it is the right leg (or the leading leg) that performs the beat (behind the left leg) before the feet change and the dancer lands with the right foot in 5th devant.

 

However, when performing a brise over, the dancer begins in 5th with the right foot derriere, and performs the glisse/degage/brush action as in the assemble but it is the left leg (the 'push off' leg) that performs the beat (behind the right leg), before the feet change and the dancer lands in the starting position - ie, with the right foot in 5th derriere.

 

It may be a case of semantics again but I prefer to explain them as two entirely different steps, to avoid confusion.

 

I agree with you.  I assumed that LinMM and Mimi66 would know that difference.

 

But - perhaps, I shouldn't have.  It's a good difference to point out - thank you.

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drdance's post reminded of something...  it may not be directly relevant to this thread but I will share this anyway.

 

When I first learned brisee, what paniced me mentally was that I had to beat with the lower leg.

 

The explanation "the underneath leg goes up to meet the upper leg" was clear and simple, but executing them sounded awfully difficult as it meant the lower leg goes away from the centre of my body (when standing upright).  I was asking myself "but how is that possible?".  Surly enough, my first ever attempt ended up with me on the floor.... 

 

I mentioned in some other thread that I used to dread brisee, and that continued for a long time.  However, one day something just clicked and now I just love brisee.  Not sure what made the difference, except that probably my body got stronger and my cordination when doing brisee was getting better...

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I think I might be the same Lin with having become an 'I can't do brises person'. As Anjuli was saying on the other thread, a lot is about attitude, and I do try to keep a positive attitude but this one really does get me! They have definitely improved over time though, when I think back to the things that I used to find difficult. I will try and keep my comments about attitude to the other thread though or will start rambling.

 

Anjuli I think you've hit the nail on the head for me with 'The problem for many students is to get the momentum to move at the same time one is doing the beat.' It's getting off the ground high enough (and travelling enough I guess) to get the beat in without any kind of preparation. In an enchainement where it follows a travelling step I can manage, but starting from stationary or doing a whole load of brises in a row it seems so hard to get off the ground! Will try the one you suggest when my foot is up to it!

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I'm sitting here on the sofa with my feet up on the coffee table (!) twitching in the air whilst nodding to my self and agreeing with the differences between steps and now my husband is sure in insane...

 

Btw I'm not a brise or any type of beating or jumping person. :( I blame too much height, long limbs, weight and a poor plié. Or maybe just poor technique ;) I groan when we get to allegro and cheer when we get to pointe in class :D

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I'm sitting here on the sofa with my feet up on the coffee table (!) twitching in the air whilst nodding to my self and agreeing with the differences between steps and now my husband is sure in insane...

 

Btw I'm not a brise or any type of beating or jumping person. :( I blame too much height, long limbs, weight and a poor plié. Or maybe just poor technique ;) I groan when we get to allegro and cheer when we get to pointe in class :D

 

 

I felt this way too until I had a teacher who was maniacal about petit allegro - and relentless.  He taught me (along with many tears of frustration) to love it.  

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