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Amy Reusch

Chasse ~ Sashay

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Maybe I'm crazy but I have trouble with Gail Grant's definition of Chasse as "one foot literally chases the other out of its position".

When I first heard this, I thought it was an explanation some one came up with as a mnemonic device to help children remember the step... but that the name really referred The Hunt... as in noblemen hunting on horseback... rather than to a foot chasing another... my french dictionary lists "hunt" before anything else..

Am I out of my mind? Is there an etymology of ballet vocabulary out there? And has anyone traced the square-dance step "sashay" to chasse?

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Can't take dictionary translations too literally, or you lose much of the nuance that is the real meaning of the word.

When we, in urban, 21st century America (and elsewhere) hear the word "hunt," I think we envision primarily the seeking out ("hunt and peck at the keyboard"), but in fox hunting, it is the hounds who locate the prey, while the ones on horseback are the hunters, n'est-ce pas?

Without checking sources, it seems that "sashay" whether in Square Dancing or not, is a corruption of "Chasser," as "toodle-oo" is of "a toute a l'heure."

Toodle-oo! Gotta sashay away! :)

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Think of it like a gallop, where the trailing leg catches up to the leading leg, only in time for the leading leg to shoot forward again. In a chasse, the trailing leg 'appears' to push the leading leg out (though we know that the trailing leg is actually the primary weight-bearing leg as the leading leg slides on the floor)

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Metathesis, the transposition of the initial sounds of two adjacent words or syllables, is one of the most common forms of word change through usage. Even Abraham Lincoln left in his writings the metathetical "bass-ackwards," so lending it a sort of respectability.

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Mell, Wel, you took care of that in one swell foop!

Materwill

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Think of it like a gallop

Like horses do? In a hunt?

Just playing :D's advocate here. I have no legitimate knowledge of this.

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According to here

What word meaning "to walk ostentatiously" was coined by mispronouncing French? The word sashay was coined from the French chassèc); it means "to walk or move ostentatiously, casually, or diagonally."

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Problem is, "chassèc" isn't a verb. In fact, I don't know what it is.

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Also... I don't know about you... but when I hear a sentence like "she sashayed through the doorway", I can't say I think of someone galloping through a doorway... it always brings to mind some image of swaying hips and swishing skirts... but the square dance "sashay" is definitely a chasse-like gallop... quite possibly they both entered the language by different paths but arrived at the same spelling (for lack of imagination?)

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Think of it like a gallop

Like horses do? In a hunt?

Just playing :devil:'s advocate here. I have no legitimate knowledge of this.

Thinking over this again, I guess the image of a chase is probably the most accurate -- the trailing leg catches up, but it never overtakes the leading leg.

Tally-ho!

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Well, truthfully, I think that "sashay" came about when some square dance caller with poor phonemic awareness, botched the word "chasser".

Kind of like the reason why American versions of Irish jigs and reels are missing a couple notes: When the Scots-Irish emigrants came over on the boat, they leaned too far over the rails of the ship and a couple notes fell into the ocean.

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Problem is, "chassèc" isn't a verb.  In fact, I don't know what it is.

Well, I think that I know what it is: a typo.

:grinning:

Probably they meant either "chassé" (past participle, or noun) or "chasser".

And I don't know how relevant it is, but "chasser" can be "to hunt", but it also can mean, depending on the context "to chase away, to drive away, to chase out"...

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