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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Extension


Vickie_CO.

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Please remember that the image of arabesque from the ABT site is an illustration for a visual dictionary, and has to be "plain-vanilla" for that reason. Photos for a student's resume are a sort of in-house advertising, and show that the student has a competency including proper placement, alignment and line in arabesque en pointe.

 

(And we all know that Ms. Jaffe is perfectly competent in that area!)

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Mel or Ms. Leigh - quick question - with regards to extension, what are the general expectations for male dancers at this time? Let's say for someone who would be graduating from a pre-pro school at 18 or 19. Just curious.

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Ummmmmmm, Miss V, how MUCH later after "growth is about finished" -- :D ?????

 

(In voice training, some of us don't hit a high C until after age 35 -- how I pray we could draw a correlation with ballet!)

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Men's extension doesn't have to be extreme. As a matter of fact, I wish people would ease up on the women, too. All this emphasis on high extensions makes me feel like I'm walking around a shipyard, with all the cranes. A man's extension in developpé is at a professional level when a bit above hip level, about 100º or so. Anything else is superfluous and unlikely ever to be used.

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Victoria Leigh

Funny Face, it's hard to say exactly, however I really don't think there can be any correlation to opera singers on this one. :wacko: I usually see the change somewhere in the vicinity of 14-16, but it varies with each child. I was watching our Nutz performance the other night, and there is a 15 year old with a very beautiful body, exquisite legs and feet, and a face to match. She has it all. Her extension has always been good, but all of a sudden, with finally a bit of growth (she is exceptionally small, and did Clara until this year when she finally outgrew it) there is this magnificent arabesque happening! It's like her leg is just flying up there all on it's own, and her placement remains intact. So, the arabesque has gone from very good to exceptional almost overnight. I've seen this happen a lot, and yet it's always such a joy and surprise when it does! :D

 

However, with students like this, one does generally see all the potential for that extension long before it happens. There is a freedom and flexibility there, but I think they have to develop the strength, which seems to come with a certain amount of growth, before it really develops fully.

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As far as Miss Jaffes demonstration of the arabesque. She has the classic arabesque line of arabesque lines in my opinion. Having seen it in class demonstration, I would say it is not the height but the line and the feeling of continuous extension and length that is quite remarkable, the foot seems to reach across the room and touch the outer corners of the space.

I spent quite a bit of time on the arabesque in class tonight, knowing the audition pictures are looming, it is the connection between the front arm and back foot, placement of the hip, placement of the leg behind the hip, lift off the supporting leg and side, and the line of the leg and back foot. 90 or above is what they are looking for.

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:D Thanks Mel - your reply confirms what he is being told and asked to do during class. Plus, he is still working on the strength needed to lift and hold those muscular legs!!
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Now, grands battements can go higher. That shows flexibility which is a related, but different thing from extension, but in a man's developpé, "waist high" is good! B)

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