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Ballet Talk for Dancers

correct arm placement in tendu derrière


dancepig

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Okay, I have three different teachers, so I have three different opinions as to where the arm going to the front should be placed when doing tendue derrière. On states straight out from the shoulder, one likes it more to the center and one out to the outside and slightly up. Any thoughts? Thank you!

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Actually I have never heard of it being taught anywhere but straight out from the shoulder, dancepig. The line of a classical first or second arabesque would be destroyed by the arm being either out a bit or overcrossed in front.

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That was what I thought, but when I (in my usual fashion) questioned the crossed to be place center of chest, I was shown "all lines lead to center" and we were told to place our arms straight out, then to place our hands directly one on top of the other, which placed our arms slightly crossed to the front. Then we were told that we should always be place so that all of our lines ended up centered. I hope this makes more sense to you than it does to me. Unfortunately, I loaned my Gretchen Ward book out to another student and have not been able to get it back. The teacher who likes it slightly out to the side is an extreme Russian instructor so I just take that instruction in stride. :wink:

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I haven't thought about this much lately, but I automatically place my arm slightly crossed, so it's in line with the center of my body. I must have been taught this way at some point in my training.

 

I am taught that the tendu leg should cross so it's in line with the center of the body, not the hip, so it makes sense that the arm would be this way as well.

 

Interesting question though, I'll try and pay attention to how other dancers are doing this.

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Originally, I was taught that the hand should be in the center of the body, but I disagree with this. The arm comes from the shoulder, not the spine, so IMO, it should be in line with the shoulder. Same with the leg in tendu derrière, although that has more to do with the structure of the hips, which cannot be kept square (enough) if the toe is placed on the same line as the spine.

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I should clarify that we do tendu front in the center of the body. Tendu derriere we're only told it should not be out--no a la besque :wink: You're right Hans, it would be too hard to cross the back leg to the center of the body and keep the hips aligned. I'll admit though, I haven't reached the level in my technique where I'm quite thinking in that fine detail as I work. For me, thinking about crossing the back leg (even if it isn't) keeps in in the correct line and lets me work the inner thighs.

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I've never heard of such extreme (to the centre of the body would look odd to me!) When we speak of line or 'centre' of the body, it is without doubt taking into account the 'width' of your body, so when you do an arabesque, the arm should not overcross before/beyond your shoulder width.

The only different feedback I had regarding the arm in arabesque would be the height of the hand itself, but even that's determined by the actual choreography or placement at the time it is to be performed, but a 'square' arabesque (without any artistic flourish) is at shoulder level, right in front of it, with the eyes parallel to that arm.

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Tendu directly in front of the center of the body is one thing, and in back it's another. In the front the center is correct, but in the back there is something in the way of getting the leg across that far. :wink: If the back leg goes behind the shoulder, as opposed to the center of the spine, then, IMO, the front arm should also go straight out from the shoulder. This is what creates the line. An overcrossed arabesque will force the body to twist, and can look just as bad as one that is out too far to the side. :blink:

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That was what I thought, Ms. Leigh, not to mention I just don't have as much balance with my arm over there, but I thought I'd put this on the board to find out what the general consensus was and then, unless there is some "strict" code of placement, just go with the majority. I have enough other stuff to think about! :grinning: (such as simply keeping my leg in back from straying)

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Piggy,

You did not state which direction you are facing, croisse efface and the other one would demand different port de bras.

 

MJ

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MJ, it really doesn't matter which direction she was facing, if the line is a first or second arabesque, the line of the leg and the arm is the same whether facing straight front, to the wall, or to the diagonal. Of course there are many different arm positions for arabesques, however, if it is a basic first, second, or Vaganova third or fourth, then the arm, whichever one is in front, is still straight out from the shoulder unless one is using an ouvert position determined by the choreography.

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