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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Grand Plie second position


elise

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I was reading a post by one of the teens regarding second position on pointe and making adjustments in the width of the position.

 

I'm wondering about grand plie. If I make my second position too small my grand plie isn't very low. I've seen a few in my class slide one foot out as they are moving into plie. Should the dancer adjust to get a deeper plie or stick with whatever second position width they started in and have a shallower plie?

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I have seen both ways, but I am learning some things this year that go against the habit of making a wider second in order to go lower. I am studying with a teacher right now who teaches the Legat method, and she makes me make my second position shorter than I have ever done. She says it should only be the length of one's own foot. Also, she says the point of the grande plie in second is not how far down one can go, but to get your hips open. If your feet are closer together, you obviously do not have to go as far down before you feel the stretch in your hips. And that is the important thing. She is winning me over to that argument, especially since I do not have to slide my feet in closer when I releve on pointe in second position anymore.

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I don't see how it works the hips when you can't get down further than a demi plié! If the feet are not open more than the length of one foot, there is just no way to get a good stretch out of a grand plié in second, and that is the one and only grand plié that I really and truly believenis necessary! :)

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I've been taught that in class, unless specifically instructed otherwise, to always grand plie in second in my normal second (the length of my tendu). Many schools/teachers are less particular - in the occasional classes I've taken elsewhere I've almost always gotten comments (positive and negative) for academic style.

 

I was taught that the variations in width of grand plie change its purpose: slightly wider grand plie position stretches mainly the calves/achilles, and that a slightly narrower shifts the stretch emphasis to the groin and hip ligaments. The middle (ordinary) position stretches both, which is why it is used in class. So according to my teachers a dancer who has tight calves/short achilles tendons might want to do some extra grand plies in wider second. I was born with long achilles tendons, so I do a few extra in a narrow second to open up my hips. :blink:

 

Päivi

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Guest BalletBrat

And as to sliding the foot out of the tendu to make a wider second, I don't agree with that practice at all. I think it's cheating.The dancer should be encouraged to lengthen the tendu as much possible and where the foot falls is their second.

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Many teachers in the open classes I take, I can think of David Howard and Fabrice Herrault offhand, give a wide second facing the barre (before or after? )grands battements. we are directed to take a wide second for the plie, and are not given directive for releve. I assume that we're to adjust the position to a narrower one for releve. The is given with large port de bras sequences. David Howard gives a hamstring stretch in parallel with this as well.

 

Personally, I feel that the feeling of plie should not be one of bending the knees. Bending the knees causes undue tension in the quads and inhibits full "sinking". You allow the knees to open side as you sink into the plie, feeling you hips opening. I never feel any sensation of "stretch" in the hips. Only that they're placed in the correct way which allows me to rotate the knees straight side. A very wide, very deep plie in second will give the feeling of stretch in those little upper inner thigh muscles.

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I don't see how it works the hips when you can't get down further than a demi plié!  If the feet are not open more than the length of one foot, there is just no way to get a good stretch out of a grand plié in second, and that is the one and only grand plié that I really and truly believenis necessary! :clapping:

 

 

I personally feel a lot more stretch in the hips and groin when I have a shorter second position. When my feet are wider, I can go down a lot further and never really feel much stretch in my hips. But I have seen teachers do it both ways and there's probably merits to both.

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