Chasse is a basic, fundamental skill for dancers. Here are some tips for teaching the chasse progression:
(1) Younger dancers begin learning the chasse as a gallop. We pretend to ride our horses, placing one foot in front of the other and chasing it around the room. Even with my youngest students, I encourage them to practice changing the foot in front at varying moments throughout the exercise.
(2) Once chasse moves into an across the floor progression, we begin with a side chasse and transfer into a right or left foot led chasse across the floor.
(3) As students mature and their coordination develops, we transition to an alternating foot chasse- right foot goes, left foot goes, etc. I encourage the students to say “Step-Together-Step-CHANGE” as they execute the exercise.
(4) Once students accomplish the alternating chasse, we add arms. For ballet, we will use a port de bras. For jazz, we position our arms in a “L” shape, boxing in the foot (opposite arm from leg- we call this “wrapping up our present”).
As students go through the varying stages of the progression, it is important to encourage them to:
(a) Be Aware of Their Hip Placement
(b) Connect Their Feet Through The Appropriate Position
(c) Lead with a Pretty Pointed Foot vs. the Heel
Of course, in teaching this move, pronunciation is equally important. 🙂