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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Arabesque turns


BlackbirdBallerina

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Hey!

 

I have always had trouble with my arabesque turns, and recently I've learned some new things that I'm thinking might help. But I'd like the moderator's opinion, and any other suggestions, because for some reason I can do pretty good attitudes but bad arabesques.

 

I heard one teacher whom I actually didn't like much say that you need to be nore over the ball of your foot when you're getting ready to turn because that's where you'll relevé. This helps my other turns soemtimes too.

 

And, I've heard this correction before, but for some reason it sunk in this time...

When you turn to the right, think of your left shoulder coming around so you keep your shoulders over your hips.

 

So this was very helpful to me, but I still struggle with arabesque turns, so I thought I'd post so maybe it will help other people, and the moderators might have some additional ideas. Thanks! :)

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Arabesque turns are a bit dicey, first from a placement and alignment standpoint, because the hips cannot remain absolutely squared in any extensions to the back. They don't fly wide open, of course, but they do have to lift a bit just to allow the leg to rise. Secondly, there's also a "flinch factor" which your teacher has noticed, that leads you to place your weight further back toward your heel. You'll never get anywhere that way! The weight in the preparation has to be toward the front of your "foot control zone" and be ready to go right up to demi-pointe, or full pointe. Making sure that you don't leave your "following shoulder" behind is a very necessary idea. Even Margot Fonteyn would forget how to do that, which is why she went through periods where she couldn't do a solid brace of fouettés!

 

Arabesque pirouettes are harder to do than attitude pirouettes because the mass to be turned is spread out over a wider area. It's like a governor on an old-fashioned steam engine. When the arms were kept in tight, the governor would spin like anything, and the engine would go like blazes. When the arms were spread out wide, the whole thing slowed down.

 

Try the turns first in low arabesques, until you get the feel of them. THEN try them gradually higher and higher until you're turning in a full 90º arabesque. You may even want to try them by half-turns, with a demi-plié inbetween the two half-turns!:)

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