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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Using the Back in Port de Bras


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I am very familiar with this correction :grinning: but have a hard time implementing it. Last night I was corrected about this after plies and given some images (the back is like a cobra spreading it's hood, like the top sail of a ship, bubbles between the shoulderblades) that all seemed very helpful, but when I tried some arm movements (though I got a "That's it!") it didn't feel any different from a muscular stand point. :jump:


I don't think I'm moving from the shoulder, exactly, but I dont' think I'm really using my back either.


Where exactly (not too scientific please!) does one feel tired if using the back properly?

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The muscles in the arms which drive the port de bras anchor in the upper half of the back. You should feel the support for the arms from the fastening point of the arms to the torso and on in, leading toward the shoulderblades and even past, as the spine is engaged, too.

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Try this: Stand facing a wall, about one foot away. Place the palms of your hands flat against the wall, elbows relaxed. Push the wall without moving your arms. Your back muscles will engage to do this, and you will feel the muscles that move the arms. If you can't feel it at first, have someone stand behind you and place their hands in the middle of your back. Without moving your arms push against their hands.

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Holy cow! Thank you both SO much. That wall explanation was perfect Ms Leigh, I ran through a few port de bras and felt those muscles engaging.


Then, I think I've been trying to get the back to grow into the arms, instead of the arms into the back. Mr Johnson's way is much easier for me. I'm sure it'll be a long haul, but at least I know what to think for now.



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I've been told the muscles for women in the back are a little different for women than men. I try to imagine holding an egg using my muscles in the back of my armpit area, it pulls your shoulders down and lengthens the spine.


When I use those muscles, my turns are better and cleaner.



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