What is a Pas De Chat?

What is a pas de chat in ballet and how to do a pas de chat?

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Pas de chat literally means in french, step of a cat. The step is delicate, light and performed often in ballet. It does tend to look a little bit like a cat jumping sideways.what is a pas de chat

When children begin to learn ballet, they start to learn pas de chat in the form of pony gallops. This parallel action of the legs gets the children ready for the turned out pas de chat that they will do later on, as the action of the legs is the same. At this level, the children need to get their knees well up in front of them and point their feet, to give them a good and sound technical base to work from.

What is a Pas De Chat

Here is a video so that you can see what a pas de chat looks like.

In the short video above the dancer does three beautiful pas de chat and then finishes it off with a pas de bouree under.

As you can see it takes a tremendous amount of training to get a pas de chat to look as good as this.

How To Do A Pas De Chat

The best way to do a pas de chat is to start standing facing the bar with your feet in third position.

Demi plie then practice drawing the toe up to the side of your knee using the back foot, with the leg turned out and the knee facing out to the side. Then do a small step to the side and place the other toe on the side of your knee, with the leg turned out in the other direction. Then plie gently in third bringing the toe down from the knee, ending with the same leg behind in a demi plie order to try again.

Practice this travelling up the barre and then back down again.

Once you have the feet and legs looking good, move into the center. You can now try to add in the jump and both legs should be momentarily off of the floor at the same time before the first leg that left the floor is the first to return to the floor.

You need to use your legs and feet to push off of the floor so that the bottom is lifted underneath you at the height of the pas de chat.

Make sure to close your feet neatly in third or fifth position with both heels on the floor in a good demi plie before trying again.

Here is another very entertaining video explaining what is a pas de chat, how to do a pas de chat and also gives some great examples from the great classical ballets.

 What Faults Must Teachers Look For When Their Students are learning Pas De Chat

There are a number of things that teachers need to pick up while they are training their students to do pas de chat. This will prevent long term bad habits setting in.

  • Make sure that the knees are well turned out from the hips and the feet are lifted underneath the body at the height of the jump.
  • Insist on a neat start and end of the step with a good third or fifth position of the feet and a strong demi plie.
  • Don’t let the front foot slip as the back foot lifts to start the pas de chat.
  • Make sure the pas de chat moves more up than sideways.
  • Make sure both heels come back onto the floor flat at the end of the pas de chat.
  • Make sure that the back doesn’t collapse forward when taking off and landing.
  • Make sure that at no time does the butt stick out.

Hope this article gets you all working on those Pas de Chat. Let me have those comments below.

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