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Ballet Talk for Dancers

‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said, 'To talk of many things...

Guest BattementCloche

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Guest BattementCloche

‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said

‘To talk of many things:

Of shoes—and ships—and sealing wax—

Of cabbages—and kings—

Of why your knees ache while you dance

A spirited Irish jig—

Of hurting legs—and swollen feet—

And why your Big Toe is big.



When I do Irish dances (for St.Patrick’s Day, Scottish for Robbie Burns Day), my knees always hurt a lot. Is this because there’s so much jumping, or could I be doing something wrong? In my solo I have a lot of jumps (i.e. one part: chassé, assemblé back, 3 assemblés in a row, jumped echappé to second, jump to cou de pied, ballonée [sp?], repeat, assemblé, pas de basque, pas de bourée piqué, pas de papillon, cabriole, run run run, 3 petit jétés, ballonée, temps levée [sp?], temps levée….) but my knees don’t hurt after or during it – could it be that I’m just correcting a mistake I was making before?







***All the world’s a stage…***

—William Shakespeare—

***To be or not to be: that is the question…***

—From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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I've noticed in many Irish dancers (not all) that even in soft shoes, there's a lot of percussion going on, and that there's a lot of demi-plié-ing done with the heels off the ground. Also the demi-pliés that DO get done are kind of stingy. If you're doing the ballet correctly, you have automatically corrected for those problems, if you have them.


"Or why the sea is boiling hot,

And whether pigs have wings."

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  • Administrators

"Step of the butterfly", but don't ask me what it actually looks like! ;) Perhaps a temps de fleche en arrière?

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The knees don't bend. It's just a jeté passé en arriere.

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Guest Passion4Ballet

I don't know about dancing ballet in an Irish style, but I do real Irish dancing twice a week myself and you're not supposed to plie at all. In other words, if you jump, then try to land with straight legs etc. My teachers are always telling me to stop bending my knees, because of the ballet influence on my dancing! That could be why you're experiencing pain in your knees, because ballerinas generally tend to bend their knees constantly from their ballet training. Is there any actual Irish dance in your routines or is it ballet in an Irish sort of style? Just wondering!

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Guest BattementCloche

Thanks for the replies. Sorry I didn't reply sooner...I've been busy!


A pas de papillon is kind of like a pas de chat in the back ...you bring up one leg in back attitude while you are jumping and then the other...your feet kind of meet in the back like in a pas de chat...it's hard to explain. Are you and I talking about different things, Major Mel?

Passion4Ballet, if you don't bend your knees when you land, doesn't that put an awful lot of stress on your knees? And what we do is a mix of actual Irish dance, ballet in a sort of Irish style, and ballet.

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That sounds a lot more like a pas de chat in the Vaganova school. A pas de papillon is similar, but the legs aren't bent.

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