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Ballet Talk for Dancers

'Horizontal' arabesques


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I'm definitely not talking about allonge, nor about taking the leg above 90 (as that is a rarity with me). The difference I'm referring to is really slight, and may have more to do with the musculo-skeletar (is that a word?) configuration of a particular dancer (thank you Hans!) than anything else.


Zakharova's extension in that particular picture is also more 'open' than I'm envisioning, as well. I think I should not have used the word 'horizontal' to begin with, because by no means did I mean to tilt the body to create a horizontal plane, or anything even close to it.

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I think there is a lot of influence from contemporary dance for the horizontal arabesque (contemporary ballet/ ballet training for contemporary dancer). RAD prefers a more vertical line, thus I have to adapt for each class in a different way.

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Is what your trying to get at about how flexible a dancer's back is so that when a dancer's leg is raised in arabesque, there are differeing degrees to which a dancer's upper body moves forward?? In a dancer with a flexible strong back, it will remain more upright when the leg is lifted creating a more veritical line. A dancer with a less flexible back, even if the working leg is at the same hight will bring their upper body more forward, thus less upright so the line will look *slightly* more horizontal. Please let me know if I am remotely close to what you are describing because it sounds interesting and am having trouble with my arabesque myself!

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As much as I usually dislike Zakharova's dancing, that really is a rather nice arabesque. BalletBrat, what you're describing as allongé is what I would usually refer to as arabesque penchée. As I was taught, 1st through 4th arabesques allongé refer mostly to having the front arm raised (for example, in the picture of Zakharova, she would be in 1st arabesque allongé). However, that might be more of an issue for the Teachers forum to debate. :blushing:

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The term allongé (allonger) means to stretch out, lengthen, elongate. I was taught that when you take the arabesque into a plié it becomes elongated, and is called arabesque allongé. Ballettowoman, what would the French say about this?

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I always consider allonge an arabesque with plie and one arm parallel to the arabesque leg.


I've noticed that a lot of my Balanchine taught teachers like an arabesque with the supportig HIP much more upward, so there's almost a straight line through the supporting side. The working hip does need to open a bit more to accomodate this (on me). And you need to be much more shifted over onto the supporting side. But it can be a very pretty look if done well. I actually think it looks best with a lower arabesque.


OK, use your imagination and picture this type of line.. but standing up



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I was taught that when you take the arabesque into a plié it becomes elongated, and is called arabesque allongé


Victoria, that is exactly what we have in RAD, so this was my thought on what Ami was trying to describe, sans the fondu. I am also interested in what the french have to say. :yes:

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Hi all,


I'm so sorry for causing so much confusion! In hindsight, I think my teacher was just trying to get me to think a bit differently - to stop trying to be so upright.


First, I'm with Ms. Leigh on the allonge - however one of my teachers who is more Russian-influenced *sometimes* calls the extended arms, especially from en haut, allonge - but it's not consistent.


Way back when I was a teen, my teachers were Balanchine-influenced... I always wanted to have a really upright body in my arabesques. I still do! My back is fairly strong and flexible. However, I have really tight hips, and I think that if I want to stay as square as possible, I do have to move my body slightly more forward than others who may be looser - and I think what my teacher was trying to say to me was that it was okay for me to move horizontally in that way. I must say, my arabesque and my over all line look *much* better with that very slight difference.


I do think that slight difference can make some arabesques look 'longer' than others (regardless of arm placement), and I guess that was what I was referring to.... RMc, you were basically on the money! How nice if the difference had been stylistic and I could do both... :wink:


I hope that helps a bit????

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One of my teachers is Cechetti trained, and she wants my torso a bit more forward in arabesque. My other teachers were from the Cuban school and wanted a more upright body. I think that it definitely depends on your back flexibility and the style being taught. I am very flexible and can keep my back straight in arabesque- I don't really need to open my hips to stay turned out, really. I would check your lines in the mirror and see what looks best on you. If both look good, do what the choreography specifies.

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