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Grand Battement Muscles


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I know I'm not suppose to use my quads for grand battements, but my teacher tells me to "throw from underneath". Does anybody know what she might mean? From what little I know about anatomy, muscles can only contract. So if I battement en avant something on the front of my body must be contracting to draw the leg up. Put another way, what muscles should I be focusing on for correct battements?

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What I've been told, and trying to work diligently on, is that the quads are used only for straightening your legs, and not for lifting your legs. They can lift your legs through a hip flexor tendon (which pops up at the top of thigh when you're using it) that runs up from your thigh to your torso, but it's inefficient, and bad in other unspecified ways. Apparently, you're supposed to use your psoas muscle which runs from your back (attached to your spine) through your torso to a knob on the upper inside part of your thigh bone. This muscle is used naturally when you walk as well. The way to activate this muscle is to make sure your center is lifted, otherwise you will want to use your quads when doing GB. I've heard too that ballet dancers are unusual as a group as they tend to have the most psoas muscle injuries.


I think the lifting from underneath correction is a mental visualization trick to get you to activate the correct muscles, as well as making you keep your leg long and straight. Another common correction I've heard for this that seems to help me is to think about using the whole foot pushing against the floor articulating from whole foot to the push of the toes at the end in a degage-like action to initiate the action of GB instead of lifting the leg. This seems to make it feel easier, and you get pointed feet at the same time!



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Danny, think hamstrings! :D While the quads have to work, if you can visualize the energy moving in a big circle around your body, and going from the top of that circle down and under your leg and lifting it from underneath, this puts far less strain on the quads and makes the movement much more fluid. It also helps to take a breath just before the movement and release it as you start the battement. It may be imagery, but it DOES WORK! :D

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For battements I was told to use the floor as much as possible. My supporting leg should press against the floor while I grow from the back right to the ceiling. Then I should press the working leg against the floor so that it snaps when I leave the floor with my foot (controlled of course) I shouldn't use my muscles too much to go up just to stop it from going down to fast. Maybe you can try to work more over the floor.

Edited by Claude_Catastrophique
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Actually, the use of the floor should be a "given", since a grand battement is essentially an overgrown dégagé! :blink: Using the floor correctly and well in tendu and dégagé should lead directly to using it the same way in grand battement. Not that it always does with everyone, but it certainly should! :)

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Thanks for the input, everyone. I think I'm doing my degages correctly, my teacher only notices me gripping my quads for grand battements. So, is the idea is to "snap" and relax at the hip for a grand and let the momentum carry the leg higher or is it still a contraction of the psoas as andre points out?

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Just my opinion but I think if your tendu and degage are fine, grand battements are all about your supporting side and pelvis. I know whenever I do them, I most often think of projecting my sternum forward and up and keeping the pelvis flat and that is it.

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Technically, yes, the ilipsoas are the muscles doing the actual lifting. This group of muscles (which attach at the spine, run along the "bowl" of the pelvis and attach to the top of the leg) are VERY difficult to feel unless you're extremely in tune with your body. Most people will not be able to sense these muscles working.


The visual imagery of "using" the inner thigh and the energy-flow type of stuff which Victoria Leigh mentions are far more useful in practice than trying to isolate the ilipsoas!


If you're gripping your thigh, you're probably not holding the supporting side together (as Garyecht mentions). And you're probably pulling out away from your hip with the shoulder on the barre side going up. Think of pressing the barre shoulder down and feeling the connection of the shoulder to the supporting hip. It should stay in one piece. Look in the mirror and make sure your shoulder doesn't go up. It's pretty hard to do, actually.


It is a fast movement. Your leg should feel quite free in grands battements. If you stick your butt out at all, you'll lose your rotation and end up gripping with the top of your leg. To the side, your heel should be very forward. To the front, think of bringing your foot to the opposite shoulder (lots of people don't really "cross" the front leg enough in extensions front)


My teacher always tells us to think of lifting the foot, and not the leg.

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