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Fouette Turns


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#1 ami1436

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Posted 13 May 2010 - 05:01 PM

:)

Lately, we've been working on fouette turns. They've never been my forte... but I try. A few years ago I could do a decent amount, to both sides, en pointe, and usually do 32 en demi on my good side, and close to that on my 'bad' side. (My sides are weird - I prefer to turn on my right leg as my left leg was injured when I was a teen -- so that means en dedan to the right, pique en tournant en dedan to the right, en dehors turns to the left. Except, when I started partnering, the emphasis was on en dehor pirouettes to the right, so I now feel better doing en dehor pirouettes to the right, but still prefer fouettes to the left.)

Anyways. I'm not as in shape as I used to be, but I feel like my technique is slowly getting better. Right now, on demi, I can usually do 12-16 to the left, less to the right. Also on demi, I can usually figure out what's not working and what to fix. I can usually do that en pointe too - but not with fouettes right now! I can do repeated releves on one leg, and I can do several tours de fin (repeated pirouettes from fifth - these are better turning to the right) somewhat decently en pointe. But when I try to fouette, it falls apart -- I'm feeling rather disconnected, and am not quite sure what's going wrong. I'm focusing on the 'up', especially to come down (as it feels clunky coming to the plie from pointe right now), on hitting the second, and keeping the 'standing' side strong so the 'working' leg doesn't pull me off pointe. But I can't 'feel' any of that. I think, mainly, I need new ideas/images/things to watch out for.... and would appreciate any words of wisdom! I think it's worst that these are at the end of class, so no matter how class goes I leave feeling defeated by these!

#2 tangerinetwist

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 07:29 AM

Are you doing core conditioning exercises outside of class? After I had children, I had problems with turning because the width of my pelvis has changed dramatically. Pilates and working with physical therapists who had me doing a lot of different exercises on the Bosu(looks like a Pilates ball chopped in half) helped enormously. Not only do you need to sufficiently strengthen the stabilizers in the abdominal region, but the inner and outer thighs need to be very strong as well. I also find that practicing the "plank" position helps one find the lengthening outward and upward from the mid-region toward the head and outward through the feet.

#3 ami1436

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Posted 14 May 2010 - 08:13 AM

tangerinetwist -- I was earlier this year, but those classes dropped off my radar as my work load got a bit crazy. Thanks for the reminder -- I always feel stronger and more 'knit together' when I've been on top of my core, especially in turns.

#4 ami1436

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Posted 15 May 2010 - 01:58 PM

*bump* any other thoughts from the teachers or mods here?

#5 ami1436

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:55 PM

Well, I'm not sure what happened tonight except sheer determination -- we did an exercise with a pirouette to 9 fouettes -- and I did this on my good side, twice. (Not wonderfully pretty, I imagine, but still)... to 'bad' side -- still tours de fin. I'm perplexed... but happy!

#6 Clara 76

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:08 PM

Ami-
It's probably just a passing fluke. Sometimes it ends up being a mental thing or a phases-of-the-moon thing!

Without seeing you, it's really hard to diagnose. Are you still working on your lift-off?

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor"- (Currently poking Poseidon in the netherworld with his trident)

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#7 ami1436

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 10:18 PM

Thanks Clara -- still working, but the desk job totally doesn't help with it. But, now that you say that, I always feel more connected on my right side, and more aligned (hence turning to the left for fouettes is great). There's something on my left side that never quite feels like that, and it probably becomes more apparent in the more difficult vocabulary. I feel that if I can do repeated releves, and repeated turns, and have a good spot on fouettes/tours de fin and be reasonably sur la place -- well, that I should be able to do at least a few fouettes en point on the 'bad' side -- technically I'm usually able to figure out what I need to focus on or exactly what to ask, but I'm rather at a loss for this one.

Hopefully the fouettes to the good side will become more constant... but, we're soon shifting into the summer schedule, with slightly different teachers and schedules ... so who knows if we'll get fouettes again.......... and then I'm off to research for a month. :) I wish this summer didn't have to be so inconsistent right when I feel I'm starting to move (slowly) past a plateau....

Wait -- one more thing to add to this. I usually used to prefer extensions with left leg in arabesque or right leg devant. Now, I prefer all extensions with the right leg en l'air -- this is a fairly recent development -- could that indicate something to me about alignment/technique, etc?

Regardless -- part of asking about fouettes is that I thought some new (to me) mental imagery-type stuff would be helpful... so if anyone has 'words of wisdom' that they pass on to their students, I'd be more than happy to hear it as well!

#8 Clara 76

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:01 AM

Is one of your legs longer than the other?

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor"- (Currently poking Poseidon in the netherworld with his trident)

"Christian Louboutins are uncomfortable, but I screamed the first time I put on a pointe shoe." Mila Kunis


#9 ami1436

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 11:15 AM

No clue -- but now that you say that, wouldn't be surprised if my right leg is? (I also carry bags, etc on right shoulder, so feel like that side of my core is stronger, but I also favor putting weight on right leg). I tore a muscle in my left calf when I was about 12, so I'm guessing there's some scar tissue in there too. How best to determine the length stuff? Measuring each individual inseam? I'm guessing I'd need a friend to do it? If it is so, it must be slight. Physios/doctors/dance teachers haven't mentioned it. I have a physical next month so could check then I guess? My right hand is slightly bigger than left, right foot slightly longer, but left foot slightly wider. Writing all this out makes me feel extremely wonky!

#10 Clara 76

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:24 PM

First off- get a rolling backpack. stop carrying bags on one side because you're throwing your spine out of kilter. That could absolutely contribute to the problems you're describing! You need some rebalancing exercises. See if you can get ahold of anyone who specializes in Feldenkrais or get thee to an Irene Dowd workshop! Check out this website: Movement Research & this one: The Mitzvah Technique

Most PTs won't mention small differences in leg length because it's normal for people to not by symmetrical. The difference is that dancers need to be aware of those differences so we can learn how best to accomodate them. PTs can measure for that sort of thing. The should measure the entire leg as all as the femur and tibia separately.

EDITED TO ADD: Another poster PMd me about Reformer classes helping one of her children who has minor scoliosis! Reformer classes would also help with imbalances.

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor"- (Currently poking Poseidon in the netherworld with his trident)

"Christian Louboutins are uncomfortable, but I screamed the first time I put on a pointe shoe." Mila Kunis


#11 Hans

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 12:53 PM

Another vote for both Feldenkrais and Reformer--I started taking Reformer classes again recently, and I'd forgotten how wonderful they are. :wink:
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#12 ami1436

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:32 PM

Argh -- even my cute handbags? I do now wear backpacks on both shoulders, with a waist strap (I'm one hot professor... not!)..... The one-shoulder backpack bit was mostly a high school thing. I feel that with rolling bags I still end up favoring one side over another.

I'll start by talking to my gp when I have my physical, and then go from there. In the meantime, I'm guessing it's specifically the use of reformers (as opposed to other pilates techniques) that is key? I just find them so expensive.... and my salary is not that high.......... I can take more pilates and yoga easily... and would love an Irene Dowd workshop. I'll investigate.

Thanks guys... wow, what an outcome from my original question!

#13 Mazenderan

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 01:41 PM

(I also carry bags, etc on right shoulder, so feel like that side of my core is stronger, but I also favor putting weight on right leg).


Just to echo Miss Clara's comment - I do exactly the same thing as you; sling any bag over my right shoulder. I went for a sports massage recently and was told off - my right shoulder was much tighter than the left. It took a long time for it to be massaged into submission. I would imagine that sort of tightness and misalignment could contribute to your issue.

That's totally what's keeping my fouettes out of double figures :wink:

#14 Clara 76

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Posted 18 May 2010 - 10:57 PM

Oh, mine too I'm sure :bash: That's my story & I'm sticking with it. :wink:

"A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor"- (Currently poking Poseidon in the netherworld with his trident)

"Christian Louboutins are uncomfortable, but I screamed the first time I put on a pointe shoe." Mila Kunis


#15 Redbookish

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Posted 19 May 2010 - 01:16 AM

Coming in late, and I'm afraid with no imagery! But we were doing fouettés in both my Saturday and Monday classes this week (different teachers, but they often focus on similar things at similar times -- go figure!). Anyway, both barres had lots of actions that are part of the fouetté such as the small battement en fondu that you start with, and the ronde de jambe action , as well as half turns at the barre.

So when we came to the pirouette combination in the centre which ended with a double en dehors turn into 3 fouettés, we were (supposedly) prepared ... But after marking, we went back to the barre on Monday to break down the actions. So our focus on fouettés was very technical. I learnt a few things -- not to let my supporting side collapse in on the fondu start, and that after the demi ronde de jambe, I should bring my foot straight in to retiré -- I had got into the habit of doing a a sort of little ronde de jambe en l'air. Also a real snatch up into the retiré seems to help me.

So core, core, core! But you know all that. However, it is a complex movement and it really helped to break it down before putting it back into a longer pirouette combination (the fouettés came in the second half, after a series of turns en dehors and en dedans from 4th).

The turns to my left were embarrassing, and as I always carry a balanced backpack, or a cross-the-body handbag, I have no excuse about carrying bags!! :huh: