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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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I know this is going way off-topic, but now I'm confused about going to pointe. confused.gif


I thought that in Vaganova you spring, never roll, to pointes (Or that is at least what I think I read from "Basic Principles of Classical Ballet") so does the rolling reference the French school or has this evolved since?

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Paivi Savola,


The French School applies the pointes technique very similarly to RAD technique: you roll your foot every time you go to or from a full pointe... This technique has been applied for decades/centuries and is still in practise nowadays. To my knowledge, it has always been the case...

The 2 methods (French/RAD) are actually very similar, except that in France, you are taught 'from the bottom down', i.e., you develop your leg 'as high as you possibly can', and if you can't, you're asked to reduce a little to see if the placement is there, whereas in RAD, the placement is of primary importance (it is also in France, don't get me wrong!), and therefore it's usually as low as possible with a good placement, then, if that's good, higher (but it's not necessarily applied in exams... If you have a good extension, you're still asked to do a develope at 45 degrees, no matter what)...


I'm not too familiar with the Vaganova technique, but I would think this is rather closer to the Russian technique than the French one... So, for pointes, I'm not sure if you're supposed to roll through the foot or not... I'll have a look and go back to you if I find this particular point somewhere...

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Guest beckster

Forgive me if I am wrong, but I understood that the RAD method included both rolling up and springing up to pointe. For example, I believe that the RAD ele syllabus contains both eleves (rises) and releves (springs) to pointe. Maybe I have misunderstood what you are talking about?

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Victoria Leigh

According to Basic Principles of Classical Ballet, by Vaganova: "In so far as pointes are concerned, the Italian technique has such unquestionable advantages that I subscribe to it without reservations. Cecchetti taught the dancer to rise on pointes with a little spring, distinctly pushing off the floor. This manner develops a more elastic foot and teaches the concentration of balance of the body on one spot."


She does state that one would not do this spring at the very beginning of training, as you learn to just rise on pointe facing the barre first. However, IMO, if a student is ready to be on pointe at all, they should be ready very soon after beginning to do a sous-sus or échappé on pointe, facing the barre, with a little spring.


Beckster, I'm not sure exactly what RAD does, but I would find it very strange if any student were trained with only one way to get on pointe. Both methods are valid and have different places within the technique. Some moves in center require a softer, more controlled roll up and others really need the spring. Even with the spring method one often still descends by rolling through the foot. I believe that one must be trained in both methods of rising to pointe and lowering from pointe.

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RAD includes both methods, elevé and relevé in rising to pointe. You see it especially in the very beginning pointe work that gets introduced at about grade 5-6, and is carried through the rest of the syllabus in both Higher Grades and Majors.

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RAD grade 5 and 6 (any grade in fact up to 8) do not have a pointe work in the syllabus (but still a lot of students take a pointe 'free' class.


The majors however (from intermediate foundation) teach pointe work and is a requirement in the exam (unless you sit it as a mature student, but I'm sure it's not the only exception). The 2 methods are of course applied (you will need to have an impulse up as you raise to do a pirouette, but I wasn't seeing it like this... I think the method -like the French one- does not encourage you to 'jump' on pointes, like the Russian method would)... Again, it's a generalisation, because you will need in a relevé (relever means to elevate yourself, so it doesn't necessarily implies a 'jump', it can be done very gently with a roll of the foot from a position on the floor to a full 'on pointes' position) to have the same impulse as for a pirouette if you want to include the dynamism of the movement, but to my knowledge, the more you can avoid that, the better (in RAD and French technique anyway)...

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