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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Concerning tendus, and posture


Guest pavlovadancer

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Guest pavlovadancer

Hi everyone. Haven't been here for ages. :helpsmilie:

 

I've been having trouble with my degages derriere since forever, especially from fifth. I noticed several things, namely: 1) if I turn out more, it gets harder to keep the weight off the working leg and keep the leg to the back and turned out, 2) it's really really easy to fall forward, 3) compared to devant and a la seconde, I feel as if muscles are much more tensed, 4) there is an initial jerky "push off" out from fifth as opposed to the smooth tendus front and side

In the RAD elementary syllabus, in the tendu exercise at centre, you do 3 tendus to the front, plie and then 3 to the back. I have a lot of trouble with this. My weight is constantly on the working leg, and gets "stuck".

Also, I feel as if I'm pushing back my lower torso when I degage, and then pushing it forward as I bring in the leg. My ballet teacher talks about keeping the hip foward and lifting when doing a tendu back. This seems to help to a certain degree, but I still don't experience the same feel as when I tendu front and side.

Do you have any advice on this?

 

Another thing that's been bugging me is the correct posture. I attend classes both at my ballet school and at my academic school (joined the dance club). One day, my ballet teacher from my academic school told me that my posture was wrong and that (I shall be crude as I don't remember the correct term) the vagina bone should be pointing straight down and not be tucked under and almost pointing up. The thing is, my lower back feels straight in this "wrong" position, and in addition, my ballet school ballet teacher never ever commented on this, and in fact, I'd never previously thought about it that way. Instead I imagined that there should be an arrow going upwards with my belly button, and an arrow going downwards from my ribcage (I don't really know if this is the right expression to convey what I mean) and an arrow going down my back. I was wondering if any one could go through where exactly each part of the body is supposed to be, as I don't really have a clear picture as to where everything should be. Also, when I tuck my ribcage in, I feel as if I'm being strangled.

 

Thanks for your help folks. I'm really terribly terribly confused with this, and not particularly eloquent in my descriptions. :pinch:

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Okay, pavlovadancer, lets start with the posture, or alignment actually, as that is the basis of everything else.

 

The up and down arrows are fine, but if the arrow in the back goes too far down you will be "tucking under", and this is definitely NOT a good thing. If you are doing that, it's no wonder at all that you can't make a back tendu feel right! :pinch:

 

Also do not "tuck in" the ribs. Just relax them. They should not stick out, nor should they be pulled in. The shoulders should be aligned over the hips, the hips over the knees, and the knees over the feet. The majority of the weight of the body must be forward in the metarsals, NOT in the heels, even though they are on the floor. There is some weight on them, but more of it is forward. When you stand in fifth position you should be able to very easily release the heels off the floor and feel like you are totally lifted OUT of your hips, not pushing down into them.

 

When you demi-plié be sure to remember that that is an UPWARD movement of the body, not downward. The knees bend, but you must feel like you are going up, sort of like a tree, with the roots in the ground but the trees grows upward! :helpsmilie: There is a two way vertical energy in the body, and it's always ready to move if the weight does not settle back.

 

When you do a tendu or anything to the back, the body must move slightly. It's NOT the same as front or side, where the rest of the body remains still. You have a major muscle group in the back that is in the way, and you must move your weight slightly forward and upward. In a tendu this is VERY slight, and a bit more for lifting the leg up. The higher up the back leg the more forward the body weight moves, as your center of gravity must change according to the position. Remember though that moving the weight is NOT leaning or tilting. It's a slight forward and upward movement on the standing leg.

 

If your weight is too far back, and if you are pushing down into your supporting leg, when you tendu to the back your lower back will be shortened instead of lengthened. NOT GOOD! AND, much worse in arabesque.

 

Let me know if this helps!

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Guest pavlovadancer

Thanks, Ms Leigh! I liked your analogy about the tree / plie.

 

I get the tendu now. Heh. No wonder I used to sometimes feel as if my derriere was blocking my leg from coming out. After reading your reply I also noticed the slight shift of weight forward when I do a tendu back. It's hard to notice whether I'm lifting up before moving the weight, but I think I get what you mean. I do feel as if I'm moving my entire torso very very slightly forward, though

 

I've heard of the weight being on the metatarsals before, and I find putting the weight on the metatarsals quite easy while on two feet (esp in first), but I still find that I can't put my weight on the metatarsals when I'm only on one leg, and after transferring weight to a different leg. Am I missing a point?

 

Once again, thanks for all your help. When I learnt ballet as a child, I practically let my body go on automatic, and now as my thought has "matured" I'm getting a little mixed up with these kinds of things. :D

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When you are standing on two feet, the weight of the body is evenly divided and centered between them. When you remove one leg you must shift your weight over that leg. While the weight remains in the whole foot, I prefer it to be more over the metarsal than the heel, even though the heel is on the floor. If you rise to demi pointe or pointe on one leg, then of course you have to move your weight over the center of the toes!

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Guest pavlovadancer

I think I get it. But isn't it easier to "sit" into that position?

 

Thanks again for all your help, and putting up with my slowness! :lol:

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Absolutely not. In fact, if your weight is up and forward over the metatarsals, there is no way you can "sit" into it. In order to sit into the leg you have to have too much weight in the heel.

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