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Ballet Talk for Dancers

RAD Intermediate Foundation Exam


Kitty

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I want to take my Intermediate Foundation next year but I need some pointers and tips for improving my extensions and pirouette.

 

I really don't like pirouettes. I can't go round without falling over. Are their any good tips for pulling off a perfect single and double?

 

I also need help improving my stomach muscles so that I keep my legs at 90 degrees!

 

Any tips would be great!!

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Um, more pirouettes? :) Don't mean to be silly about this, but that will help - see the Sticky in this forum about improving your ballet, and the general advice (I think the phrase is Garyecht's) the best thing to improve your ballet is more ballet!

 

And there are lots of threads discussing pirouettes on the Adult Students forum - Ami & Lampwick have posted some illuminating things from the perspective of students learning and doing pirouettes, as well as of course, Ms Leigh & Major Mel with teachers' perspectives, ideas, and advice.

 

My personal note to myself with extensions (especially developpes) is the voice of a former very influential teacher in my head: "Navel to backbone." Her other one really helps me with tendus: "Use the floor!"

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Thanks Redbookish. Pirouettes totally destroy my confidence and I don't know why. I was able to do them in my teens but now they are a total anathema to me. I have tried spotting quicker, pulling up, up, up, using arms, using no arms and still I wobble badly. :)

 

I am starting to think that I might not be finding centre correctly, I will run a search on that too!

 

With regards to the extensions, 'navel to backbone' does that mean suck your stomach in? I can grand battement to about 120 but I can't hold anything above 45!! :blushing:

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With regards to the extensions, 'navel to backbone' does that mean suck your stomach in?  I can grand battement to about 120 but I can't hold anything above 45!! :)

 

The way I use that correction "navel to backbone" is not so much suck my stomach in as to think of my abdominals connecting my ribs with my spine (as the uuper ribs do anyway) and holding my whole centre like a corset, and helping me lift the hips as well, and flatten my back, and drop my pelvis (without tucking - tat's the tough bit). That's also the use of abdominals & intercostal muscles in Pilates, as I understand it. For me, the overall feeling is of flattening and spreading out, rather than sucking in & up - I have to be careful of 'up' as I hunch my shoulders and carry a lot of tension there, given a quarter of a chance!

 

Well, that's the theory - obviously it wasn't working for me last week in fouettes ... But is it something you could ask your teacher about as s/he's the one who sees you?

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Our teacher makes us hold every pique releve we do at the barre for ages without holding on to the barre (or at least what seems like ages.)

 

Since I've had to do this for every class for about a year, I have noticed that my pirouettes are much stronger because I can hold the position much better. It's really helped, and I try to practice holding it as often as I can now.

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Sorry to bear bad news. But unless you have natural high extension (some people do!)...it takes a long time to get it up there and hold it properly. Some years.

 

The most helpful advice I've gotten actually is to "make it comfortable". I'm hyperextended and tend to "sit" back all the time. If I make my standing leg like a rock and hold my knee very straight, while I make my waist grow longer, this gives me the correct posture to have the most mobility in my hip joint without gripping there. I tuck naturally and collapse, so I try and keep the arches in my spine. This may not be your individual situation so you need your teacher's help. I try and loosen the working leg up so it feels like it can move freely. I avoid any gripping sensation. If it feels awful and I collaspe in the torso, I make the leg lower until it feels OK. The left one never feels wonderful (even at 90 it grips a bit), but the right one I can hold forever.

 

I have very narrow, tight hips and a lot of weakness there. I still go "off" my hip quite a bit. But after diligent work for three years, my extension in developpe a la seconde can be held above my waist. I can let go of pied dans la main and hold it near my head, but still can't developee there yet. It SLOWLY and steadily improves.

 

For pirouettes, do slow singles and just practice staying "up".

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