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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pique on pointe with straight leg


gerlonda

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Hi all,

Got another nagging dilemma for ya.

WHAT IS THE TRICK TO PIQUE WITH A STRAIGHT LEG???? :D

I mean piques in ALL directions.

I am slowly getting better. I know one factor with me is fear; because when you pique you actually land a little further out than the spot your foot was pointing to (make sense?) instead of "stepping underneath yourself." I feel like I'm always going to miss the floor, or my ankle will twist or something.

I know you need "umph" from the plie of the pushing leg, but my movements are disjointed. I'll push off with my plie leg, get scared, my pique foot is hanging mid-air, and I have to actually take my hip UP to stand on a semi-straight leg. This is causing my hip to seize up and I'll get a kink in the hip and then I'll hear a "pop."

I can do piques okay on demi-pointe, and I've been trying to translate that movement and that bravery to my pointe work, but I'm hitting road blocks.

Any good advice? :shrug:

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The push from the supporting leg is imperative, but so is leading with the body weight, not with the piqué leg. The push from the plié will only get you to a straight leg if your body is in forward gear and not following the leg. :shrug:

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It really helps me to think about pointing my foot. Otherwise it is really hard to do it on pointe and you end up with a bend leg.

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I thought it might be helpful to add that I also experienced twinges/gripping in the hip when first learning piques onto pointe. They were caused by poor body alignment - collapsed lower back and leaning back with the upper body.

 

I know from experience it is easy to forget alignment and placement in the "Oh my god, I'm going up now" -fright, when that is exactly when you need them most! (Once you get more confident and used to the idea you can get up and down in your shoes things get so much easier. :) That is why pointe beginners releve and pique endlessly at the barre.)

 

 

Päivi

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The only way I can make piqués on pointe to work is to imagine that I am pulling the leg to under me, even though I in fact am putting myself over the leg. That is, I plant the platform in the ground, and then I kind of "pull the leg under me without letting the toes move" - as if I was stationary, and it was in fact the floor that moved. This seems to engage the correct muscles and put my weight to the correct place over the leg.

 

It is a crazy image, but it works - though to be honest, it only works when I am really concentrating, and not very tired, which is at most about half the time currently.

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Piqué movements are like the other kinds of movement in ballet in one respect - pick out the spot you're going to, then go there. No fear, just go! Certainly you can see choreography where somebody does a piqué and seems to fall off of it or back from it, but that's choreography. They can do the movement just fine.

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This isn't something I have a problem with myself, but in pointe class, when I've seen people having trouble with their alignment in piques, its usually because they're looking down at their foot to make sure that they're getting over their shoe, usually before they're actually getting up... which is impossible to do unless their rear end is behind them and usually the pique leg hip is raised. I'm sure its connected to the fear issue, but its usually a pretty quick fix once the teacher reminds them not to look down.

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Thanks a bunch guys for your help. You all have such valid points.

Ms. Victoria and Sulan hit it on the head for me. I do remember my previous teachers telling me to "get over" that pique leg and that my body weight was too far "behind." Also, I do have a tendency to look down at the floor. :shrug:

I think what I'm going to do is to really practice those piques (straight leg and straight leg from a develope) at the bar at the end of classes; visualizing leading with my chest.

It's so weird, yesterday we were practicing pique turns. I remembered I had actually done "one or two" pretty correctly two years ago. So I visualized what I did years ago. I actually got "up" and my ankles did not wobble :) . I was like, "Oh my God, I'm doing it!" (Though the leg was not perfectly straight) To actually notice the feeling of the floor "turning" under the platform of my pointe shoe kind of freaked me out.

But my point is that I think I have more ankle strength than I want to believe. Now if I can just get the bravery to push my BODY forward, the sky's the limit for me.

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Pique turns are my favourites, and on the right side (I'm a bit movement-dyslexic on the left) I really love going for them (altho' whirling dervishes do come to mind!!). It sounds like there are two things here, and one of them is getting over any slight fear or apprehension you have about this turn on pointe. I know it's easy to say , 'Just go for it,' but that IS part of it. The other part is to do with getting over your leg, as you've identified. I was always taught to take my whole pelvis with me as I stepped forward onto the supporting leg. Indeed, I have a mental image of my hip bones square and leading the movement. The whole thing is a bit like showjumping on a horse (and I did a fair bit of that at Pony Club) when you're taught to 'throw your heart over the jump first.' I assume you're also doing a lot of the pique step en diagonale without the turn? I find this helps a lot, too.

 

Kate

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If you feel insecure it helps just to do the piqué without a turn. Just piqué and balance en diagonale. Once you feel more secure, add the turn :-)

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I think practicing at the barre like you said is exactly what you want to do. This way you can learn how far you can push yourself while you still have something to grab onto. When it feels easy, you can do piques at the barre but don't grab on - by the time you think that's silly you'll have gotten over your fear for center.

 

I like to practise _everything_ on pointe at the barre first. Except maybe pirouettes - and I like to do the prep for those at the barre. That extra confidence works wonders in the center.

 

jayo

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Maybe thinking about stepping onto your hip, instead of stepping onto your foot might help.

 

The knee just can't bend at all. Don't let it. If you keep you leg straight and tight, you'll be forced to let your hip move over the supporting leg, because they'll be no other way to do it.

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Guest prokofiev

Piques were very scary for me until I managed to really nail down assembles en pointe (same demi-on-the-supporting-leg, straight-working-leg, BAM-GET-THERE kind of thing.) What did it for me: first, my teacher said "lead with the hips," which got my core weight going forward and my upper body aligned. Second, she emphasizes the importance of strong arms in these kinds of movements for helping you get there and stability once you're there.

 

If you practice preparations for pique turns on demi-pointe (everything like the turn, just don't turn), you can work on fearless forward motion and really engaged muscle groups without pointe fears. Each time you hit the position, make sure your arms are really strong, shoulders down, abs engaged, etc., and that you could hang out in that pose indefinitely. Then try it on pointe. The 'leading hips' image helps me get over the box so I don't find myself on my backside (Happened. Once. :shrug: )

 

Assembles really helped me, too - it's a similar feeling, but you're going to two feet in fifth and the arms are closer in, and that's much less scary.

 

I also practiced a lot around the house on demi-pointe making sure I was 'up on my leg' and moving forward. Good thing we don't have carpet or much furniture! :green:

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I've just come back from my fun beginners' class and guess what - we did posé to arabesque in an adage at the barre, pose piques at the barre, and lots of pose piques practice in the centre, and then in a long enchainement in the centre. But, sadly, no pose pique turns :angelnot: So although I hadn't managed to make it to class for about three weeks (I'm finishing a @*# book, but only about three paragraphs and neatening up the footnotes to go!!) I was thinking about taking my hips with me, stepping up and past my degagé and all the other tips in this thread, and had great fun with them and was on balance and all ... (we just won't talk about my echappé battus)

 

Thanks everyone!

 

Kate

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I'm actually starting to like pique turns... on pointe (and softshoe) I pretend I'm a pirate with a peg leg... don't know why but it helps me remember to keep my leg straight and pointed, works with getting up as well. The visual might do nothing for you, but thought I'd mention it just in case! Now if I could stop flapping my arms about cluelessly :)

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