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Ballet Talk for Dancers

chainee turns


Marjolein

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How can I work on chainee turns? I'm really bad at them. I do something wrong every time. I'm not pulling up, or my knees are bent, I'm not spotting or my arms aren't pushing me. I really want to get better at them soon, but I've been trying all year, and I just can't do them. I never did them before this year and I have to do them zigzag on flats and straight on pointe. I know it's supposed to be a basic step, but I never had good training until this year, so even the younger kids in my class are a lot better at them than me! :)

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Marjolein, chainé turns are not at all simple, and I often wonder why they are taught to students in lower levels at all! One of the most important things is to keep your body weight moving forward and control your placement with very strong abdominals to keep the back straight. Get a good push into them, using the back muscles and the arms to start, and then just keep the feet moving and the head spotting! Sounds simple, doesn't it? ;) But it's not, and like everything else, just takes a LOT of practice!

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I am actually not in a low level at all at my school. I am in Intermediate IV, only two levels below Advanced, which is college level. (I'm still amazed I got into that level, if I count all the years, I skipped about 4 grades!) Is there a way to practice the chaine turns at home even if I don't really have the room? And when we have to go zigzag, as long as I go straight I have a pretty good spot, but from the moment I have to change direction I lose my spotting and get dizzy. I can't spot at all when I'm on pointe because I'm so concentrated on my feet.:)

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I did not mean at all that you are in a low level! I was just remarking on the fact that they seem to be taught in low levels, and I wonder why, as I think they are difficult!

 

No, you cannot practice them at home. It's just really not possible without a lot of space.

 

As to changing spot, that does make it more difficult, and of course will not be possible until you have a good spot to begin with. Once you have that, then change the head to the new spot just before you make the first turn in that direction. Know ahead of time exactly where you are going and where you will be spotting in each direction.

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i have always had much difficulty with chaines, and it wasnt until this semester that ive begun to feel more comfortable with them. working in pas de deux class to rehearse for nutcracker, our teacher was very disturbed by every one overcrossing-undercrossing in each pair of steps, and my other teacher has been trying to get me loosen up my incredibly tense neck, and in all of this i have discovered that by letting my neck completely relax so that i dont even feel it spotting and holding back my overcrossing foot, putting it down as soon as possible, i have much faster, more controlled chaines. we are also constantly told to bring around our shoulder and back in one piece, but that just confuses me further and i find it much easier if i dont think too much about that until ive relaxed a bit so that i dont throw myself around. hope i helped.

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Guest DancerDuck

You could try to fix one thing at a time. For instance, spend the first week fixing your arms. Concentrate mostly on that until it improves. Then move on to spotting. Another way to practice chaines is at the barre. Take aan old slipper or skirt and put it between your legs while standing in first releve. Don't use your hand to hold it there; squeeze your legs together. Then, slowly, start caineing down the barre while concentrating on the wall in the direction you are going. Use the barre for support. It's monotinous, I know, but it should help. Good luck!!

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