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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tour Jetes and Grand Jetes


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I seem to have problems with just about anything that has the word jete in it.


With grand jetes I really struggle to not do a saut de chat. I have worked on brushing my leg through first with a straight leg. I can now do a little grand jete with a relatively straight leg, but whenever my teacher yells at me to jump higher, it seems like I pump my front leg when my back leg comes off the floor, even if my leg is straight. It's like there's too much of a time delay. Also, I have seen grand jetes in which both legs seem to reach the pinnacle at almost the same time, and I have seen grand jetes in which there seems to be a delay between the front leg going up and the back leg going up (the front leg seems be coming down when the back leg is still going up). Is one preferred?


Now to tour jetes, a source of much embarrassment. What's the magic to not looking like your jumping over a barrel? How do you get your leg to battement straight back instead of doing a ronde jambe? A former professional dancer in the class said that I have to release the leg that I brush to the front, which seems to help some. Any other suggestions?


Thanks in advance for the advice.

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Hart, I don't remember what level you are, or how much training you have had, so forgive me if I tell you things that you already know. :)


For grand jeté you must have your body weight traveling up AND forward in order for the back leg to get up. If you just go up, and the forward momentum stops, you will never get the back leg to arabesque. There are grand jeté with an up and over arc, where the jump is more important than the split, and then there are the ones that really travel forward enough to create the split in the air. To do that, besides the momentum and the continuing forward movement, you would need to be able to make a split on the ground before you could expect one in the air! :wink:


For grand jeté en tournant entrelacé (slang term "tour jeté), my guess is that you are not turning in the air quickly enough to get the back leg through instead of around. Have you worked on grand fouetté sautés at all? It's the same idea, only the legs switch in the entrelacé. :)

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I haven't been dancing long enough; that's for sure. I have been taking class for just about a year and a half. My teacher just gave us a combination today that went chasse and tour jete; chasse and fouette. The fouette was brand new to me although I have done fouettes from forthfront to arabesque at the barre (not jumped). However, they have always been done at a much slower tempo then the tempo in the center.


So, if I am having a hard time turning fast enough, sounds like I should practice doing a bunch of fouettes at the barre at a faster tempo. Are there any other preparatory exercises that prepare an individual for good tour jetes? What kinds of things are done to prepare kids for tour jetes?

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The jeté passé en arrière.


This is a lot like a cabriole back that misses its beat, and the legs pass closely past one another, but do not beat. That's for later! :)

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For grand jetes I found I really had to change my expectations, because I'd gotten so used to saut de chats I was expecting to get an easy near split, travel a ton, and have an enormous elevation. So, then, when asked to do a grand jete I had a complete disconnect in my brain; I did a bunch of grand jetes on the diagonal (step, step jete, etc) so it switched legs each time, and discovered that, for me, the two steps feel completely different.


Now that I have a different idea for the feel of a grand jete they've stopped looking quite so spastic and leaden.

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The ever-erudite Ms Leigh wrote:

For grand jeté you must have your body weight traveling up AND forward in order for the back leg to get up. If you just go up, and the forward momentum stops, you will never get the back leg to arabesque.


That is precisely the problem that I (and a couple of other folks in our adult class) have

been struggling with, and I like how Victoria described this so succinctly. Thanks!

This must be Grand Jete Season, because we were discussing this exact same issue in our

adult class just this Friday, so it's neat to see the topic here too. Our teacher made essentially

similar comments (though not as precisely as Ms Leigh) and I'll pass them along for what

they are worth: 1) He suggested that we imagine our trajectory in the air as a curve and not

a straight line -- feeling our weight going "up and over" as Victoria suggests. And, 2) he said

to make sure that the preparation steps before the jete are smaller than the jete itself and

lead up to it-- I think some people in our class (myself included) need to work on building

forward momentum in a fluid and connected way between steps, linking them instead of

executing each step separately. For me, that disconnectedness happens most often when

I am not exactly completely sure what is coming next, or where my legs need to be, and when.


It's comforting to know that all over the world there are people who are simultaneously

working on overcoming the gravity of habit, and pushing to be a little less earthbound in the

process. Good luck during "Jete Season" ... :)

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Thanks, DPR, I appreciate that! Also, very important about the preparatory steps. I like to use a "precipité" type glissade, so that they don't kill the jeté with a big glissade. Or, of course there are chassé coupé or tombé coupé steps to lead in. The way it is often done with glissade makes it, IMO, much more difficult.

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Here is a strategy I’ve used before that may help in learning new jumps. I’m assuming now that you’ve been introduced to a jump in class and had significant trouble doing it, for whatever reason.


Outside of class try doing the jump without any regard to technique. Don’t jump high, but just try to get the general idea of the jump into your body. Once you get comfortable with the general idea of the jump, then begin to think of and work on all the technical aspects of the jump. I learned many a jump that way and have believed it effective, at least in my own case.

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I have a grand jeté problem as well. I can do a beautiful full split grand jeté on the left, but on the right, it just won't happen. I know my right leg is neither as strong nor as flexible as my left one, but no matter how much I practice, my right leg just won't go up.

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Garyecht, I always agree with you!! I do this outside of class with any step or combination that is not "fully in the brain." Only when it is in your brain without question can you begin to tinker with the way it is executed (even crudely) - at least in my case. :yes:


I'm sure lots of us already do this naturally outside of class with other steps, but it is a very interesting point to make with reference to jumping.


The opportunity and space does not always provide itself naturally to such practice, so it's something the student might have to consciously make time for.


(Sorry for the bad grammar. I'm always bad at that thing where you're not supposed to end the sentence with a preposition)

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:D I bet Major Johnson can supply the exact quote (FROM MEMORY) but I believe Winston Churchill in protest of that ridiculous rule about ending sentences with prepositions said that it was something "up with which I will not put."


If memory serves further I believe it was Alexander Pope who imposed the rule, importing it from Latin, where it does hold true, to English, where it's just silly.

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Egad... It's the fiendish "no prepositions at the end of a sentence rule!" :angry:

Why did you have to bring a topic I'm so frustrated with because of up for?




Back (sort of) to the topic of practice... To Gary and Spankster's point about trying

leaps outside of class; I have a friend who swears that a tour jete is necessary when

encountering a decent-sized puddle. She makes it look easy -- I've tried it, and learned

that (1) my normal shoes are heavier than ballet shoes, and (2) there's a reason we

warm up before the large jumps... (ouch)...

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While the forward momentum mentioned by Ms Leigh is important for grand jete, I think it does not apply to tour jete. For that step you must jump "up" not "out". It makes maintaining your landing much easier.


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Absolutely, ce. I was strictly talking about grand jeté, not grand jeté en tournant entrelacé!

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