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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pas De Deux


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In my ballet class we are working on our recital-dance, and I get to do a little pas de deux :clapping: ! I was wondering if any of you would have any tips for me. I've never done any thing like this before :huepfen: !





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1) Stand on your own feet, not his.


2) Stop wiggling.


3) Do everything, including lifts, as if you were doing them without him.


4) Stop wiggling.


5) Dance with him, not against him.


6) Stop wiggling.


7) Don't grab him and hang on like grim death. Let him hold you.


8) Above all, stop wiggling. It's hard enough to find where somebody's balance is if she doesn't seem to know where it is herself.

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That's great that you got the chance to dance a Pas de Deux.


I hope you don't mind asking me another question in thi thread (I don't want to open a nex one): How does a normal Pas de Deux Class looks like, I mean what do the people have to do there (yeah, I know, dancing :cool2: ) How is the class built (warm-ups or in addition to normal ballet class???) What's about combinations etc. or what do we learn first and what is more advanced? You see, I have no sens of Pas de Deux (I have never had the chance to take a class but maybe in near future I will have and so I want to know what will expect me)

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It's like a variations class, only there are boys there, too. The usual thing is to hold it after technique class, so you're already warmed up. There are a few basic pointe warmups like echappés, and some other things to make sure that you're ready to work. The boys often do pushups to warm up their arms and backs, but I don't think that does very much. Pushups are only good for building muscles that thrust straight ahead, as in punching. It has never been Good Form to punch your partner.


A basic partnering class starts by introducing the students to finding balance, and getting used to being "handled". The boys move their partners off-balance to the right, then to the left, then to the front, and back, and back to center, then let go to find out if they can identify centering the girl. Then, maybe the girls will run to their partner, take an arabesque, penché, come up, and balance. This may be done in sequence, running from one partner to another. Pirouettes are introduced, first from fourth, and then as fouettés (finger turns). Lifts going straight up and down are introduced. Lifts (assemblé, pas de chat, etc.) that travel are next. That usually does it for a class of beginners, as the class is usually only an hour.

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Knock knock - not a teenager anymore but still taking some PDD classes. Be aware that it takes two people to partner. Don't be afraid to tell you partner what he is doing wrong (or right). It is hard for a male partner to know whether you are on balance or not - it takes some time to practice and I always appreciate comments from the ballerina.


PDD class is usually after a technique class. We often start with some adage and supported turns before we move on to supported jumps (for example sissones) and eventually lifts. Combinations are not so difficult in my class as they are quite short and the emphasis is on partnering and not on long combinations.

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And it is also good form for the boy to talk to the girl during partnering. For example, being a man, I often end up as one of the partners in a partnering class. You'll often hear me say, "Stop wiggling!" :cool2:

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IF the whole "wiggle" correction doesnt help you, because it doesnt seem very specific, just think of keeping pulled up all the time and keeping ur legs and back fully straight when they are supposed to be. im sure you'll do great!

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I have a partnering question. I have to do just a simple lift in a short duet with a guy. I just do tombe pas de bouree, glissade, saut de chat, and he's supposed to lift me on the saut de chat and set me down in arabasque.


Originally, the choreographer just wanted him to run with me in the air and set me down, then changed her mind and said she wanted him to really hold me in the air and set me down.


He and I are almost the same height. I'm 2-3 inches shorter than him in street shoes. We talked about how it would be easiest for him. He grabs me just where my ribcage ends and I arch my back a little to give him a "shelf" to lift. Its been working for the both of us and we're comfortable doing it. The past few times we've done it, we've both felt good about it.


THe choreographer has never choreographed partnering before because the guy I'm partnering with is the first guy at the studio and this is the first year he's been old and strong enough to do it. She's having issues with the fact that I'm not in a perect 180 split in the air. My front leg tilts down a little when I arch my back for him to lift me. I'm in a split, its just not parallel to the floor. She wants us to now have me in a split and him grab me around my hips, which makes his job a lot harder. I've asked a few other guy dancers I know and they both said the bottom of the rib cage is the right place to hold me.


So I guess what I'm asking is, how do I either work harder at making my front leg not drop while doing this lift, or how do we approach the choreographer with the problems we're having? We're both comfortable with the lift as we were doing it, but we're both not sure if what she wants from us is possble.

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It's possible, all right, but the real question is, is it probable that you will be able to do it? Holding a 180° flat split in the air is not something for beginners. Try to negotiate with your teacher to substitute something else that has a nice line and that you can both do.

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Thank you very much for your answers, it cleared many things and now I am not afraid anymore if I have the possibility to take a PDD Class.

May I ask another question here? Do the girls wear always pointe shoes or does a PPD-beginner girl wears flats? And it is better to dance with a much taller partner than with one who isn't much taller than the girl (for both, girls and boys or is it just chreographie)

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Partnering class is always on pointe. And class is the place where you learn to work with all sizes and shapes. Unless you're working on repertoire, you don't get sized. Actually, one of the great compliments for a dancer is to be given a partner who's way too tall or too short, because that usually means that the teacher has faith in both of them to be able to work out any problems in basic adage work.

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Thank you so much for all your replies! Will any of this be different when I'm in my tutu?



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OH, YEEEES! Get a practice tutu and start using it as soon as you have the choreography learned. I remember one rehearsal where I was talking to my partner's mother, and saying, "Here I am, feeling all around for a hip to grab onto, and the skirt won't let me!" Mrs. Ruscelli, ever the nurturing type, was nodding her head in agreement. My teacher's husband, a full Colonel in the Army, turned to MY mother and said, "If I had known when I was 14 that I could talk that way to a girl's mother and have her be so sympathetic, I'd have gotten into a whole other line of work!"

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This may be a question for a new thread. Please feel free to move if necessary.


Our studio currently has one boy in the top level, and one to be added in the fall. They've been bringing him along slowly, as he had some technique issues to repair. So far, there has been no partnering for our girls. They are going to have a select few in pas next fall.


My question: I know by the time most girls are in advanced levels, they are going to SI's that have pas class. In most cases, though, it's just one or MAYBE two classes a week. If they are not getting it in their home studio during the year, how much can a few pas classes over a few summers teach the dancers? I've been reading the company audition article in Pointe magazine, and saw that nearly all of the auditions include pas.


It's not a huge worry now that we know we will have two boys, both with pas experience, in the fall, but it could have gone the other way just as easily. Also, who usually teaches pas classes? We have wonderful faculty, that have had professional careers. Do daily teachers usually teach pas, also?

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