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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Position of the leg in a la seconde


Guest pdance

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Recently, there has been a difference of opinion between some teachers at my studio about the position of the leg in a la seconde, both on the ground and in the air. One is saying that the leg should be directly side from the body, and the other is saying that it can be front just slightly to allow the leg to be in the hip socket and turned out. It is becoming very confusing going back and forth from teacher to teacher, and I am beginning to really wonder which is right. I would be inclined to think that the "slightly forward, in the hip, turned out" version would be accurate. But I am not sure, and so I was wondering if Ms. Leigh or Major Mel might be able to provide some insight, as well as the reason for it being that way, so then I could take those view points to my teachers and see what they say. I would like to be able to do it the same way in both their classes, but I realize that versatility is important. So in addition to what is right, should I practice both anyway? Sorry, I am a bit confused. Thank you in advance! biggrin.gif

 

[ January 30, 2002: Message edited by: pdance ]

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Christa, in my opinion, and in accordance with what I teach, your instincts in terms of the leg being in the hip socket and turned out are correct. Unfortunately, there are certain methods of training that believe that the leg MUST be absolutely at 180 degrees side, no matter what. This leads to improper alignment, turned in legs, rolling, and all sort of things which I feel are extremely incorrect. However, it's like fighting City Hall. Those who believe absolute side is absolute side are not going to budge on this. I feel very strongly that the leg must be turned out, and the body properly aligned. If this means that the leg is a couple of degrees short of perfect, so be it. This is not visible from the front if the leg LOOKS right. Naturally we must all work for better turnout and aim for that 180, however, it is really quite impossible for almost everyone to achieve in a really good position. Forcing it there also leads to very sickled feet, not to mention potential damage to the hips and knees.

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Thank you for replying so promptly, Ms. Leigh! I thought as much about that, and you were right about them not being willing to budge. A guy in my level brought it up in class one day, and she stood very firm on her ground. But should I practice it that way, even in her class? (180 degrees) That scares me to think of doing something to my knees or ankles, but then again, what to do if she continues to tell me that I should have it directly side, which I am almost postitive that she will. I guess at least talking about it with her wouldn't hurt. I guess I could try. Thank you.

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I wish I had a good answer for this problem, pdance frown.gif A lot of dancers are in this situation, and it is very difficult. My sincere belief is that it is not right to place the leg where it will not be turned out with proper placement, and could cause injury down the line. I also happen to feel very strongly that it really looks bad because it's not as well turned out as it could be and the foot is very likely to sickle. I think you will have to go with your own intelligence on this matter, and do what you feel you have to do. There are some things in ballet that do not make a lot of sense, at least to me, and I try very hard to teach the technique in a way that will get the desired result without wrecking the student. Keep in mind that some of these ideas are developed by people who were trained in a system which only trains perfect bodies, those who are examined with a microscope, so to speak, for every possible attribute that is desirable for a ballet dancer.

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Hmm, I guess I will go with my instincts. Never have instincts mattered so much as now, when my knees and ankles are invloved! smile.gif Well, my teacher that teaches that does like perfect bodies, which I am not, but fortunately she is good about correcting me anyway, despite my faults. Thankfully, she hasn't pulled out a microscope.... yet!

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