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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Couru in sixth (parallel)

Guest nicoal

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Guest nicoal

In pointe class Wednesday, at the very end after spending some time on trying to get the 'skimming' effect on regular pas de bourree couru (in fifth?), the teacher had one of the professionals demonstrate couru but in parallel, what we call sixth. Basically, just running forward en pointe.


The hilarity ensued as we attempted to do this across the floor. At times, it looked like an old lady hobbling (taking the slight epaulment a little too far and bending the knees too much, combined with slow, too large steps), but it just felt unnatural even when the teacher seemed to like what you were doing. What exactly is the action of this movement?


Her explanation for couru in fifth was the leg in back is making the movement across the floor and the knee in front makes a slight bend to allow the advance of the back leg. It sounds so awkward, but just seems to work very well to get the desired effect.


Any tips/ideas to get couru in sixth the same type of flowing?

Thanks in advance.

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  • Administrators

Nicoal, the body weight has to be VERY forward, over the legs. Start the courru from a tombé to get the momentum, and then move your feet very quickly :D The knees are not totally straight, as they must move, but should not look too bent either, same as with bourrées. The knee joints have to move!

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This type of pas de bourrée couru is just a lot of teeny-tiny running steps. The advancing foot should not go farther forward than about the top edge of the instep. They can be done larger, too, though.

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Guest nicoal

Very good ideas - I'm eager to try them out.

I can see how the weight placement is important - I definitely

had a hard time getting moving and keeping that momentum


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Guest joodiff

Hi all! That's EXACTLY what we've been doing for our pointe class the past few weeks with hilarious results.


Some of us, just like Nicoal has described, look like hobbling old ladies while others duplicated the effect of a tottering druken penguin! Even our teacher couldn't help but laugh!



What I would like to know is, what should the visual effect be like? That of gliding or cutesy twinkling of feet with very minute bobbing or ?????

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It should look like a very quick and light skimming across the floor, almost like one is hardly touching the floor. The feet should move very quickly! These can also be done backwards, by the way :D Check out some of the choreography for Juliet in most productions of Romeo and Juliet!

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I've often noticed with my students that I have to 'amend' what I previously said about courrus in 5th (I HAVE to explain it that way first, but then change my mind :) ) In 5th, the back leg will 'push' the front leg, but really, if you want to have the movement flow and go much quicker than your brain is capable of thinking (i.e., if you think too much, you will not be able to do it quick! ;) ) and so, this applies even more in 6th, as there is no 'front' foot: you need to apply the pressure (or the timing/impetus if you prefer) to the ground/towards the floor/down, rather than upwards (lifting or bending of knees) or forward (to move)...


Once you have mastered this 'down, down, down step' without motion, THEN you can think of making the movement bigger to move forward, but I feel that I have to emphasise to my students that they shouldn't think 'unbend the knee' but rather, push both legs through the floor.


It makes sense to push downwards, rather than 'lift slightly' the knee, as if you push down, the following action will naturally be a 'relaxing' of the knee, and the impetus can be quicken much more easily... Try it, I tell you it works better!! :(


Obviously, you have to explain the movement first (where the back knee pushes the front knee) and so, this further explanation can only happen once you have understood the basic movement... But to quicken the pace, you should no longer feel the pushing of the second knee, or the 'unfolding' of one knee, as this will not be possible at 100 miles/hour. In 6th, it's also much harder to apply 'tiny steps' than say, "hammer the floor like a Spanish flamenco dancer" because tiny step is not easy to do quickly... However, this 'down down down' step is (nervously :D ) more rewarding and easier to do.

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