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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Plisetskaya's Leap


ami1436

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Well, at the end of one of my solos for our show this year I get to do this leap - the one that's famous from DonQ (grand pas de chat, as my teacher calls it, with back leg in attitude and back arched).

 

I am not getting the right angle with this leap - I think I am fairly parallel to the floor. My teacher has said that I need to get my back leg up more and to not kick out my front leg too high, or I'll never get over it at the right angle.

 

I understand what she means - but I need some new imagery/thoughts/ideas for this! How should it feel in the air? What should I think about working on? I know these are very vague questions, but I feel like it is a somewhat vague jump for me at the moment! Any help appreciated!

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If it's the one I'm thinking of in Act I, that's not a grand jeté or pas de chat, or anything like that. It's a sissonne! Plisetskaya's way of finishing her entry dance was a diagonal of assemblé dessus-sissonne-failli-fouetté en dedans à terre-whack the stage with the fan- and so on across the stage.

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I know that jump as a sissone too.

 

I'd say imagine doing a huge grand battement derriere. I use this imagery for grand jetes etc since it is easier to imagine any big jump in its component parts rather than thinking "goodness how on earth can I get up there"!!

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Ack! Of course you are right - it was a Friday evening and I'm afraid my brain was off.... :blushing:

In any case, well, what the choreography calls for is a big grand pas de chat as I leave the stage, but into that position (attitude derriere and kicking my head). It is *much* easier as a sissonne! *sigh* Any ideas for helping with this one?

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Sure! :blushing: Just take the lead-in to the sissonne and make an assemblé, then do the sissonne, failli through and sweep off the stage with your downstage arm as you exit.

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Sorry, I'm being really obtuse I think.

 

The choreography doesn't ask for a sissonne - it asks for what my teacher calls a grand pas des chat (saut des chat or flick jete or stag leap), but bending the back leg and arching the back. I can hit the desired position from a sissonne (although my back leg could be slightly higher), but am having trouble getting into this position in the context of a grand pas des chat... I have been told not to kick the front leg too high, so I can lift the back leg and get into the right angle. Because of the grand pas de chat, I think I'm too parallel to the floor.

 

Does this make more sense now???

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I think Mel was saying

:blushing: do a sissone instead and make it pretty.

 

Seriously though, that is a hard leap. You need to battement your front leg up to get height in your jump, but somehow make the back leg end up much higher. :) I'm curious to hear if anyone has any good advice for you. I can't do this very well either.

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No, what I meant was that the step Plisetskaya did was a sissonne. If you're looking for that kind of line in a variant of a grand jeté, it's not going to happen. This comes from trying to divine movement from still photos. It doesn't make any sense until you see it in motion.

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There was also a "Russian" style saut de chat (pas de chat jete? I'm not used to calling it this...) that was all the rage in my first school when I was growing up watching the Bolshoi (definitely Plisetskaya inspired!). I think this is what is being asked for? Our back leg flew up into a slightly turned in "Russian" attititude and the arms reached out and up into a sort of rounded third position with the palms up. You had to really kind of throw your back against a strongly thrust-up back leg and reach a bit more towards the floor than "up" with the front leg after the develope. It was not a sissone...although I do know that sissone jump that Mr. Johnson is accurately describing here...Have you ever seen the tape of Plisetskaya dancing this variation? It's absolutely sensational! And I mean, by today's standards!

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Yes, Gina Ness, this is exactly the jump I am speaking of (with different arms, but the legs the same). And the comments you gave are what I've been told (over and over and over....) - thrust up back leg, front leg more towards the floor after going up. How did you go about this??? I know what needs to be done, and am working on the sissonne to get the feel of the position (and to have a strong Plan B!). Right now I think I'm more parallel to the floor than angled. My teacher apparently learned this jump in her school as well....

 

Thanks lampwick, and Mr. Johnson, for your help! I'm going to keep working on the sissonne as well!!! No harm in having something that looks pretty at the end of the variation, right???

 

I would *love* it if I could figure out this jump though - it seems to be my major mental block at the moment, and I feel like I'm finally getting the rest of the variation to where we are now just rehearsing small details - getting this leap would be the icing on the cake for me! :)

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I am NO teacher, but you did ask for imagery, and when I was trying to picture the jump I thought of that plane stunt (the Immelman?, Major Johnson will know!) where the plane flies straight up, perpendicular to the ground and then does a 180 and dives straight back down.

 

I would think in terms of trajectory that hyperexageration might work-after all you have to go way up in the air front (battement develope front) and then way up in the air back.

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Hi ami...First, this is a very difficult jump...that being said, there are a few things you could think of when practicing. This is a huge, rather flamboyant leap and needs to have a huge push to get as airborne as possible. The bend back is not twisted slightly to the side (you know how a regular saut de chat often has the head turn to face the audience). You go straight back in your backbend. And, try to get this bend at the peak of your jump...otherwise, you won't create the correct "picture" in the air, and your landing will be way more difficult. You might try the "scooping" up of the air palms up in third for your arms and then "throw" the air up and behind your head. The arms help with the bend back...

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Oooh I like both of these thoughts - the 180 degree turn around, to get up and over, and the throwing back to get the picture.... Will try these in rehearsal tomorrow! :) Thanks!

 

Have asked my teacher (same one discussed on another thread though, so.....), but wasn't really getting anywhere.....

 

Thanks, I'll keep you posted!

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Gina Ness--thanks so much for sharing your tips here. It's very valuable information.

 

A lightbulb went off. I know exactly what you meant when you said not to open at all to the audience. I'm positive I'd been doing that to check it out in the mirror. .. Of course it won't work that way. DUH :pinch: It sounds like a scary jump though...I don't think I can do this very well yet. Maybe someday.

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  • 4 weeks later...

An update!

 

What I didn't include in my last postings about this is that we have to do this in a very small space - our rehearsal studio is so so so tiny... less than half the size of the stage, very closed in, and now (they redid the floors over Christmas) pretty slippy. Not good conditions, and not great for a finale that needs a really good prep in order to make it work (or some magic dust to make me able to just jump upwards and hang in the air from nothing but a plie!).

 

So, that was part of the problem. But, I've really been working on the imagery and looking at different ways this is done (like in Bayadere and Esmerelda). Gina Ness' suggestion of feeling weight in the arms to throw backwards was a good one, and now the jump is feeling much better and much more 'up' as opposed to throwing myself into the position.

 

We had our big run-through yesterday, in a studio that is almost the size of the stage (but with slight slipply floor), and not as boxed in as the studio we are usually in. Things were so much better here, and I did the jump (amongst other things) over and over and over again, whenever there was time and space. It felt amazingly better - just the preparation took more space than the entire sequence in our usual studio, and I felt like I had the momentum and power to really jump. The angle of the front leg is much better now too, and my teacher said that the whole thing looked amazingly better (this is a HUGE compliment coming from her!). Only issue now is back leg - I was told it needs to come up more. I think I'm bending back over it before it has a chance to fully come up, and thus I'm not giving it the space it needs to come up - if that makes sense. I need to delay the back bend just a slight bit (only slightly - the jump happens so freaking fast!!!). But, after getting told this, I didn't have the chance to work on it more.

 

And there's the pickle. As far as I know, all of our rehearsals until the dress rehearsal are going to be in the same small studio. Practising this full-out there is just impossible - even if there aren't people at the sides, there is simply not enough room. There is enough room just for maybe a glissade into the jump, but not a really powerful, moving glissade, which I would need as I'm not strong enough to just soar into the air magically! In another part of our show, I have this long turn sequence to do on the diagonal - again, not enough room in the small studio so I've been rehearsing it in a wierd across-the-back-of-the-room then a *very* sharp turn and then on the diagonal. It's not just harder, but frustrating that I never feel like I'm rehearsing (certain movements) properly anymore.

 

In other words - I feel like I've got it to a point, and have enough time to maybe make it better, but really no *space* in which this would be possible... :)

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