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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Walking in Classical Ballet Style


Guest Anindya Krisna

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Guest Anindya Krisna

My teacher made a comment about the way I do the ballet walk. He said there had to be 'a little air underneath the heels'. I know I have this habit of walking either totally on flat feet or very high demi-pointe. I still don't understand how to walk 'properly' in ballet, because everytime I watch ballet videos, I see dancers walking differently. Some are walking in demi-plie on flat feet, some are rising very high on demi-pointe with the knees stretched most of the time. Walking should be a very simple thing to do, right? And I don't seem to know how to do it properly :rolleyes: Oh, could it be because I have slight hyperextension? I know somehow THAT makes my legs and feet look pretty weird, especially when I'm standing on flat feet. My heels do look like they're sinking into the ground :blushing:

 

Any kind of advice will be highly appreciated... Thank you :)

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The classical ballet walk, pas marché, is what I consider the most difficult step in the world. The proper walk is toe-heel, and with turnout. It takes years to cultivate, and the hyperextension doesn't make it any easier!

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There are different levels of walking, depending on the tempo and the purpose of the walk. If you are doing a very slow walk, for instance, like an elegant entrance, the kind where you take one step at a time and stop each step, then you step on flat leaving the back leg stretched in a tendu. You step onto a straight leg by pushing from a slightly bent supporting leg. When you are moving a bit quicker, the heels should indeed have "air" under them and you take one small step after another on a low demi pointe, leading of course with the toes. When you move quicker than that it becomes a run and the toes must stretch out in front of you.

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Guest Anindya Krisna

Thank you for your replies! :shrug:

 

Ms. Leigh, the tempo is like that of the ticking of the clock. So the second type of walk, with smaller steps and low demi-pointe is the one I should be doing, I think. Now I just have to find a way to make myself look less 'grounded'... I don't have a problem going up en pointe, or doing jumps. But somehow, everytime I go down, I really go down. Like I surrender to the gravity. I know I shouldn't. How to make my dancing look lighter, especially when I'm dancing en pointe? Because I've been told by my teacher that I love the ground so much :)

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You must learn to take your level in space up quite a bit. That does not mean being on a higher demi pointe, it means being lifted enough to be able to use your legs and feet well when you walk. There is not much that is worse to look at than an unpointed pointe shoe! :rolleyes: Every step must be articulated, and if your foot is not on the floor supporting you, then it is pointed. In order to do this, you must be very lifted out of your hips, and have an understanding of how to use your levels in space. :(

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This is slightly off the topic (sorry) but its cute so I thought I would put it in anyway. All the Japanese girls in my class at school, do these stylised walks during the entrance to a solo where each step is started on full pointe and rolls down to demi with their legs out in front of them. I think it looks lovely and when I asked one of them about it she answered that it's typically Japanese and all students in Japan are taught to walk this way. :yucky:

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my biggest problem concerning walking wasn't so much the walking itself, but what the choreograph (sp? soory) wants you to do.

sometimes, well mostly, i was forced into a totally new style of walking, which ended into my very own individulized way of walking.

i've learned that you have to walk conciously ... think about every step you do; posture, turnout etc.

and what is most important listen to what the music says to you, feel it and it will somehow carry you ..

 

hope i could help

 

good luck walking

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