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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Buzzwords


Dick

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Here are the corrections that repeat most often in my classes, and that have taken the form of short simple efficient buzzwords which require no further explanation.

 

plié

stomach in

turnout

pelvis under

back straight

 

Also some expressions:

 

your other left leg Richard, or

tank God we have only two arms!!!

 

What are yours?

 

Richard

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I can never seem to get rond de jambe going in the right direction. So last night's lesson corrections were:

 

"foward foward FORWARD!!!"

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Careful of that "pelvis under" correction.....that can lead to tucking under, which is NOT what you want to do! If you tuck the pelvis under, there is no way you have a straight back and you will be sitting into your hips, preventing rotation and freedom of movement. :)

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Miss. Leidh

could you give two separate ways of "feeling" the difference between tucking under and having a well placed pelvis in order to get freedom of movement?

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I tried to tuck under too much to correct sway back and all it got me was tendinitis in my hips. I just signed up for more ballet classes with teachers who I knew would correct me constantly about it.

 

 

The most frequent thing I get in ballet class is my ballet teacher clutching her chest and screaming "I think this is this big one!" but I think it has to do more with my behaviour :thumbsup:

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Shoulders down.

I've been hearing this one since I was 12.

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koshka,

"shoulders down" has been my correction since I began ballet 20 years ago. My shoulders always pop up during grand allegro. You'd think I could control them by now...

 

Lately I've been getting "mouth!" "mouth!!!". I'm not allowed to close my mouth all the way anymore until I can stop pursing my lips when I concentrate.

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The mouth thing made me laugh, I used to stick my tongue out while dancing when I was younger. I don't think I do that any more, atleast I hope not!

 

They also used to tape my two middle fingers together. I am not sure if that was to prevent the splayed out hand or something else. But now I am getting corrected on having my two middle fingers together and down a bit, I guess it's not natural looking, but dang at this point it is natural for me!

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Stand tall

Stomach in (or "Ribs in", depending on the teacher)

Point the toes

The opposite arm!

Both shoulders move together

"Straight all the way like spaghettini"

 

These are the current ones. Basic stuff. But my all-time favourite recurring correction is "Jaana! Again!" It meant "straighten the supporting knee" and I got it about a thousand times in a class for months in a row. :thumbsup:

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Sylphide, the alignment of the bones should create as straight a line as possible, but of course we all have a derrière! :thumbsup: The idea is to feel very long and straight, with the ribs relaxed, the head in neutral on top of it's axis, the abdominals engaged, and the pelvic bones lifting upwards, but not to the point where the seat "tucks" under! The muscles in the buttocks must be engaged, or there will be no rotation, however they must not be "gripped". When you "tuck" under, the pelvic bones actually sink back and down, (as opposed to forward and down when swaybacked). They should simply feel very lifted. The back will not be perfectly straight because of the gluteus maximus, but it will be as straight as possible without tilting the pelvis backwards and tucking under. Hope this makes sense. It's so much easier to show and to use the hands to fix than to try to explain in words!

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There are so many... but the one that always tickles me is:

 

 

Smile!!!

 

 

(Oh, that's right, this IS supposed to be fun!)

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sylphide,

 

I have been struggling with correct pelvis placement for quite some time, and the battle is still not won. (I have made a lot of progress, though)

 

Here are a few things that have helped me.

 

I'm an engineer and a fairly visual person, so studying an anatomy book, and then spending some time in front of a full-length mirror experimenting with arranging my bones in different ways was quite enlightening. Pictures of professional dancers in class (I have Gretchen Ward Warren's wonderful book) demonstrating the correct placement helped also immensely.

 

Whan dancing I found it necessary to think of the pelvic alignment as coming from the front - the abdominals (and only the abdominals) placing the pelvic bowl perpendicularly and straight under the ribcage. I feel like I'm using my abs to pull the pelvis under to the correct position, and then my sides and back to counteract the downward pull to lengthen my body. Once the body weight is lifted off the legs, the hips are then free to open and rotate. (The truth of pelvis placement, I understand, is quite a bit more complex and the gluteals do come into play somehow in getting it perpendicular, but at least my gluteals instantly became over-active if I allowed myself to think about it that way.)

 

I found it also helpful to visualize my buttocks turning in, not squeezing, in order to engage them without tucking and gripping. This results in a feeling where it almost feels like the buttocks (and me as a result) are going up.

 

 

Päivi

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Seamonkey, LOL! :sleep: at your teacher! That is too funny.

 

Hmm, I get

 

more turnout on the supporting leg

relax the chest

INTO the floor

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It's funny how Päivi says she had to think of the pelvic alignment coming from the front for it to work. For me it is exactly the opposite! To get it right, I have to think of my back, and actually quite high in the back, and also my ribs. If I start doing it from the front, everything gets messed up, and teachers just frown at me, but it seems if I think of pulling myself straight from under my scapulae and thereabouts the pelvis kind of "aligns itself". :D

 

Not that my alignment is ever good. It seems just to get harder the more I understand about it. :yes:

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