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Ballet Talk for Dancers

"Relative" vs. "Perfect" Second


hart

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I had a different teacher than my regular teacher yesterday. My regular teacher has always taught us to find our, I guess you would say, "relative" second, based on how much turn-out we have. So, my understanding is that in a "relative" second your tendue would be on a diagonal somewhat if your turn-out is less than ideal. The teacher last night said that he believes that people should work to find their perfect second in order to more fully work turn-out. He described it as being the place where your front toes would be in a straight line from one another, parallel to your body. He would say that your tendue should go to this "perfect second" instead of to the relative second. I am wondering what people think are the strengths and weaknesses of each perspective?

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Victoria Leigh

Hart, this is argumentative in different methods. I believe very strongly in adjusting the second to ones' limitations and not trying to make a perfect position when one does not possess the rotational ability to do that. There are just too many things that go wrong in terms of alignment, weight placement, rolling knees, turned in legs, etc., when the leg has to go to a perfect second when the student does not have that kind of ability in the hips. I do believe in working TOWARDS that perfect position, however, I do not think you can take a body that does not have the perfect ballet facility to begin with and force it into that position without causing other things to go wrong, seriously wrong. It becomes "turned out feet", but not actually rotated legs when this happens, with most people anyway.

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I agree with Ms Leigh, you cannot force someone who does not have the facility for perfect turnout to get a perfect second. Of course this does happen with young dancers and pushy teachers and it leads to awful results. I do think you can improve through patience and a lot of hard work, but again, only if your bone structure allows this.

The trick is to make the audience believe you are perfect in everyway, and you may see many many dancers on stage all appearing to have absolutely perfect turnout, some do, alot don't, but they make us believe they do, and that is what is go great about many of the dancers you see. But they know how to make the most of their limitations, and they know what their limitations are, but they are never lazy and always strive for more. I think that is very important as a dancer or someone learning to dance to remember.

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