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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What's your best side


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Almost everyone has a prefered side, one which works better and easier than the other one. I'm just curious to know what's yours 1) in plain life (righthander, lefthander) versus 2) in ballet for the following movements:


1- Pirouette en dehors

2- Pirouette en dedans

3- Tour en l'air

4- Arabesque or attitude en tournant

5- Piqué en tournant

6- Saut de basque


I guess it could all come down to simply ask "What's your best supporting leg"? But then, what about the tour en l'air? Or saut de basque? Or could it come down to ask which side one spots best?


To make answers shorter, I suggest we use cw as an abreviation for clockwise, ccw for counterclockwise and nd for no difference (lucky guys!).


OK. I'll start:


I'm a righthander in my everyday life


Pirouette en dehors: ccw

Pirouette en dedans: cw

Tour en l'air: cw but thinking of switching to the other side

Arabesque - attitude en tournant: cw

Piqué en tournant: cw

Saut the basque: ccw


Feel free to add to the list.



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I'm generally a rightie all the way, except that for pirouettes in any position en dehors, I can still do them right and left, no difference. That's from early training. My teacher insisted that there be as few "one-legged dancers" as possible! One choreographer I worked with turned this into a real beast of a transition. I did a triple pirouette ccw, then took straight off into a double tour en l'air cw. For single saut de basque, it makes no difference, but for doubles, it's cw!

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I've been to several ballet teachers over the past few months, and they all seem to have been to the same conference! Basically, they all are trying to set the exercises we do in class on the left side first, as was recommended at the conference they went to. I have noticed a bit of a difference (with turning and general barre work but not with adage,) in the sense that I'm feeling less of a difference between left and right by varying the side I learn my exercises on!


Does this make sense? :sweating:

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Sure does. That's what my teacher did, and on her own. Give the combinations to the left and right first equally in distribution throughout the center.

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I have a teacher who usually varies the starting side each year - this year we start with the left. Another starts the center combinations sometimes with the left side, but the rest do right side always first.


Personally, I don't think the starting foot has much difference, at least for me. I find it slighly easier to transfer things from left leg to right than from right to left, but that may only be because of my renaissance dance experience, where everything is done left first or to the left only. :sweating:


As for movements, I'm very right-handed and right-legged. My right side is both stronger and more flexible. My right leg is better both as a supporting and working leg - more turn-out, stabler balance, higher extension, stronger jump, better line, faster beats. And my weaker left side gets all the problems and injuries, creating a vicious circle. :(


Although at a ballet intensive I've been attending my sides have suddenly evened out a lot, especially in turns. I think the reason may be the teacher's meticulous attention to correct placement and muscle usage and his very intellectual and analytic way to teach, which helps my "less instictive" left side more. (My right side usually "just does it", without needing much explanation)



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My dominating side is my right side.


No matter of en dedans or en dehors; The most "natural" way for me to turn is cw. Even though I cannot turn at all :sweating:. When I try to turn ccw I don't even stand a chance to stand up!


I suspect it is because my left leg is circa 0.5 cm shorter than the other. My pants always sweep the ground on my left side, but not the right. If I lay down on my back and bend my knees you can clearly see that my left knee is lower than the right. Even my right foot is bigger!

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Hmm... I've got to mention this thread to my teacher. She works very hard at avoiding "sidedness" (as she calls it) in her students. She alternates the starting side every week... meaning all of the combinations in all of her classes for the week start with the right foot, the next week all the combinations start with the left. Works well... you always know which way a combination is going to start, from plies to reverance, but after studying with her for two years, I can't think of anything that I do better to one side than the other!

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Southpaw here. Never knew it was unusual while growing up because we had 5 righthanded siblings and 5 lefthanded siblings. We had large benches on either side of the dining table, with all righthanders on one side and lefthanders on the other, so as not to get into fisticuffs with one another.


Left pitcher. Left batter.


All turns better on right, although turns in arabesque pretty equal. Extension higher on right. Releve higher on right.


Here's a fun way to see just how evenly or unevenly you're 'distributed.' Find a photograph (head shot) of yourself, looking straight at the camera (no profiles or 3/4).


Put a small flat, square mirror in the center of your face on the photo, with the mirror being perpendicular to the photo. Now look at how your two left sides look together. Then switch the mirror to the other side and look at the two right sides together. Amazing, isn't it? The face comprised of two left sides will usually look thinner and with much weaker features. The face comprised of two right sides will usually look quite wide, with the features very strong. Rarely will you see the face look pretty even, no matter which sides you put together. (My oldest brother, who was something of a prodigy, looked basically the same, either way).


BTW, you can do this with pictures of people in the news, celebrities, etc. Very interesting.

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I'd like to take credit for it, but I recall reading an article about this when I was in grade school, and immediately started grabbing pictures of my brothers and sisters and trying this experiment, which I've never forgotten about.

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very funny djb--


all of my chin is on one side of my nose...


my left hip, shoulder, and jaw, each of them dislocates...


my right eye is highly dominant, and my spot is much better when the right eye is the first to come around.


my left leg is the one I want to stand on, fondu on, jump from, and land on -- though recently I've gotten my ribs and shoulders much better lined up over the right foot -- Hallalujah! -- and I'm noticeably more even than i used to be.


The right leg turns out better, rises a foot higher in second, and its foot has a prettier arch.


I'd much rather do emboites, or coupe jetes, or pique turns to the left

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I'm right-handed, and I find it easire to turn ccw usually ; yet, my right leg goes higher and stays higher in grand battement 2nde and front ; in floor barre, my left side is better than my right ;

does it make any sense ?! :thumbsup:

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I've been trying to determine what's going on with me on this very issue lately...I'm right handed.

En dehors, cw; En dedans, cw -- on flat. En pointe, en dehors ccw.

I'm super flexible and hyperextended in most joints and sometimes have a hard time controlling my limbs. My right side is more confident and stronger and this seems to really manifest itself en pointe as I'd rather have the weaker left leg supporting for things like fondue developpe for the control needed on the working leg/side. The only time this is not the case is en dehors pirouettes en pointe where even though I'm less confident ccw, they work much better having the stronger supporting leg. On flat, it's not really an issue.

I also find travelling on the diagonal, I tend to feel very awkward on the left. But I believe this is just direction related, in the center and barre I'm fine with the left side.

I've been known to when going to the left on the diagonal with a lot of direction changes to do half the combination to the left and have the right side take over and end up on the wrong side of the studio! B)

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I think I will be at the acme of my ballet career if ever I can turn reasonably well both to the right and to the left. Right now, I seem to turn poorly both to the right and left about 30% of the time. About 35% of the time I turn reasonably well to the left and poorly to the right. About 35% of the time I turn reasonably well to the right and poorly to the left. There is no pattern or trend. Makes no difference the kind of turn or whether it is en dehors or en dedans.

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