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How to do "pas de valse"


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We were doing pas de valse during my last class. I was so tired in my head after school/work that I didn't manage to remember or do the step at all!


All I can remember is that we started with the right leg in front and then turned around 180 degrees and had the right leg up once again and then I think we started all over with the left leg in front, but does this mean that the leg that was brought up when the back is facing the front will be the left leg this time??


Start: right leg stretched in front, turn 180 degrees, stretch out the right leg (in something like an arabesque with bent standing leg), turn 180 degrees stretch out the left leg in front, turn 180 degrees and stretch out the right leg back ("arabesque"), stretch out left leg in front et c.??


It would be: right right, left right, left right and so on? (If we only take those stretched legs)

or is it: right right, left left, right, right, left left?


And now: How on earth do you count the steps? I tried to watch the abt.org dictonary but she only does one set of turns (360 degrees)


I hope this wasn't too confusing! :rolleyes:

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Pretty confusing, Susanne :rolleyes:


Actually, any waltz step is done in 3, meaning a step on each beat of a 3/4 measure. The steps are in sequence, meaning right-left-right on first measure and left-right-left on second measure. In a waltz or balancé en tournant, which is a full turn, you do the first measure of three steps towards the first corner, and then you turn on the second measure. There are exactly 6 steps. It's really just like walking, as in right-left-right left-right-left. That is if you are moving to the right. You will end with the weight on the left leg. The movement also usually goes down up up, down up down, and those moves connect to the right-left, etc.


So, to do a balancé en tournant, or pas de valse, you step down on the right, forward and up on the left, close stepping on the right up, then turn and step down on the left, up and around on the right, and down like a tombé on the left. From there you can move onto the right leg for any move which follows, whether it is another balancé or a different step.


Hope this one is not too confusing either! :D

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This reminds me of something. Is the abt dictionary still up? I used to use this URL and it no longer seems to be there.




I wanted to look up pas de valse. I think I'm confused as to what constitutes a pas de valse vs. a balance en tournant.


What is the step called where you start in fifth , right foot front, do a ronde de jambe to second with the front leg, transfer your weight on that leg, step forward with the left into forth, back leg in tendu, and close the back leg into into fifth. I thought that is a pas de valse but I could be totally brain-dead here. I'd call what you are both describing a balance en tournant.


Is there a method which calls a balance en tournant a pas de valse?


confused (as usual) :rolleyes:

Edited by lampwick
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lampwick, I think of them as the same thing. There may be a minor difference in some methods, but essentially they are the same movement. Gail Grant says the only difference is that in pas de valse the legs don't cross, but I'm not quite sure what she means by that.

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Victoria Leigh,


Thanks for your reply. I'm still pretty confused though. Are you saying that a balance en tournant and a pas de valse are the same step?


What is the name of the step I described? I thought that was a pas de valse. Let me know if I described the step clearly enough.


It's often used to get into attitude derriere too. Start with right foot front in fifth, ronde de jambe to second, transfer onto the right foot, bring the left in to coupe front and step forward into attitude. Close to fifth.




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Oh my. So embarrased. I just read the teacher's thread on the same subject and realized I was describing a pas de basque. :rolleyes:

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The one you just described would be a pas de Basque, lampwick :rolleyes:


Yes, I do think that balancé and pas de valse are probably the same thing. I could be wrong, but I have never used, or heard the term pas de valse, used in classes. It has always been balancé, or balancé en tournant, or, a different step, pas de Basque.

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We posted at the same time, lampwick :rolleyes:

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Suzanne, the step (IMHO) where you brush on "ONE," step out on "two" and "three," comes from ballroom dancing and is in fact the POLONAISE step. The polonaise is also in 3/4 time; its basic step has been adapted for ballet so it comes in pairs, each of which makes a HALF-TURN.....


(in California we call them "waltz turns"). They're NOT easy, since the second one (in which you brush backwards into arabesque) is disorienting, and makes you tilt your hips so that as you keep turning you lose your balance and all..... It helped me to learn them to practice them in hte hallway without the half-turns -- ie. the brush was forward and you stepped forward, no matter whether you were standing on your right or your left foot when you brushed.


You;ll see them done this way in the last section of "Diamonds" and "Theme and Variations" and in the entrance to Act 3 of "THe Sleeping Beauty," all of which are polonaises.....

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I believe what Grant means is that the feet in pas de valse do not cross over center, that they're more like triplets in modern dance, done turning.

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I think I finally got it...but I guess that my first description was wrong. I don't think it was a polonaise-step since the teacher demonstrated it with more of the "les sylphides" (the one with waltz-music by Chopin) slow grace than a strong polonaise marking.


After re-viewing the ABT-dictionary, slowing it down and a lot of practicing, I finally figured it out after 2 hours! Now, I'm only going to figure it out for the left side as well :) My teacher also added difficult arms to it...but that will have to wait until next class!


Lampwick the ABT dictonary is till up. If you go to "education" in the main site, then "library" then the dictonary option will appear.


This is the URL:


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Pas de valse is very similar to a balancé, but they're not *exactly* the same... It's quite difficult to explain, but the pas de valse en tournant and the balancé en tournant give the best explanations.

In the pas de valse, usually the first step is a strong 'brush' onto the floor (passing the foot in 1st) the 2nd leg (after turning 1/2 turn) will brush back into a low arabesque.


In balancé, it's the same principle, but the first movement doesn't have the brush onto the floor (and not passed in 1st). It's passed (almost, but it's done quickly) sur le cou-de-pied, and it 'steps' into the ground (so on a semi-bent knee) then comes the other leg (after the 1/2 turn) again in a half bent knee passing at the cou-de-pied.


The other difference is the arms: in pas de valse, it's usually a long arm in ouvert, looking at the audience, without a curl in the elbow if you want (it should be long long long..) whereas in the balancé, the arm curls more frankly and the eyesight follows the arm *looking underneath it*.


Going to the ABT link given above, if you see the 2 steps (go to pas de valse, and it's one done en tournant) then click onto balancé, and it demonstrates a balancé de côté (that is VERY similar to a pas de valse) then a balancé en tournant (then a finishing step). It's written underneath when the balancé en tournant comes in. :)

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Just another little tip: Personally, I find that these are easier to teach people if I start them from first position, brush the downstage leg, turn, then brush the downstage leg again. I find it's easier to think 'downstage, then downstage," instead of "right, left." (Otherwise, I'll find myself correcting my students, "ahem, the OTHER left leg").

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Hmm I'm a little bit confused with the "downstage" term (don't know what it means :blushing: )


But I notices in the video-clip from ABT that she takes a step forward and then closes from back. Does it matter how you close (on the count 3) or is it optional where you put your legs as long as it is one two three?


Does it matter if you do: One- step- close, one-step-close? Or One-step, step, One step, step?


Still a little bit confused :)

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Susanne, the downstage leg is the one closest to the mirror (which is where, if you were rehearsing for a performance, the audience would be imagined to be watching you from).

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