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Question about feet in arabesque derriere


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If you follow the link below (hope it's Ok to link to the English National Ballet) it will show you 4 photos

In the 2 photos the furthest to the right the dancers are in arabesque derriere.


My question is about their feet. It looks to me that the working foot is overly tilted (winged?) is it an illusion: and is it correct technique or not? If I try to have such an angle on my foot I'm definatly not pointing it evenly.

I seem to see this farily regularly in photos/


This also links to the post on one of the 17-22 board where a girl asked about winging her feet in arabesque derriere called wingin and turnout, but I didn't want to post on there.





Grateful for any thoughts

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Not easy to tell from this angle. There should be a straight line between the knee and the end of the big toe, and while these photos seem to show a sickled-out foot, I can't be sure if it's fully pointed or not. One of the hallmarks of winging is a partially-unpointed foot. And by the way, all arabesques are derriere - quatrieme derriere, but with distinctive arms and line.

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Thank you!


So even if the foot is fully pointed it looks like it is sickled out.


Is it just me that seem to see this in a lot of arabesques these days?


Thanks for the arabesque clarification, so is there a term for the pose of having a straight working leg off the floor to the side or devant (that you for instance develope into)?

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The Giselle photo does look to me like the foot is winged, but I don't think it is in the Swan Lake one. Not sure.


Extensions to the front and side would be be called a la quatrieme devant and a la seconde, or, if facing a corner, they would be croise devant or efface devant or ecarte devant or ecarte derriere. (Sorry for the lack of accent marks. On the laptop and forgot the codes as I haven't used it in a while.)

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And, since you're 'Trying to Improve' :blink: , I have a pet peeve about calling the leg that's en l'air the "working" leg, simply because it implies that the supporting leg is then, by default, not working!!


The supporting leg is working just as much as the one that's in the air!!!!


There's my mini-soapbox for the day!! :blink:

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"Winged"-shape is pretty, as long as it is created by the full turn-out.

As long as foot is fully pointed, then it isn't sickled-out.

What happens a lot these days is that those who don't have a perfect turn-out (which is : turn-out all the way from the hip-thigh joint to the the foot) want to create the winged-shape too, and to achieve that, they lower their heel and sickle-out their feet.


Just try to sickle-out your foot to create the "winged"-shape, you won't be able to pointe your foot to the max.


When talking about technique, this is certainly not allowed. But, in performing, hey, who doesn't want to look beautiful?? Just don't forget to fully pointe the foot at a la seconde to success the trick!!


I have to admit that I too sickle-out my foot a little all the time. You see, I have bowed shins. If I stand in parallel position, my shins aren't perfect 11-shape, but actually thin-() shape!! If I don't sickle-out my foot a little in both devant-derriere a terre-en l'aire, then they will look sickle-in instead! So I have to sickle-out a little to make them look straight. For years I've been training my feet to be able to fully-pointe in that position.


:D it's sad, but true..

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You can also use the term "gesture leg" for the one that's up. The term "working leg" comes from Cecchetti.

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knock, knock, I'm 17


My feet naturally sickle out when I point them. I've got banana feet and really bendy ankles and I've been told this is a result of that. I'm not trying to achieve this but have had some teachers tell me its a bad habit and others tell me it makes my lines gorgeous. Who do I listen to? I do ankle strength work to work on just overall ankle strength and have gotten my feet and ankles pretty strong now (I just started working with a black theraband, I found the blue one that I had wasn't giving me enough resistance) so I don't think its a strength issue anymore.

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I am sorry, I still do not understand how one wings her foot WHILE having it fully pointed? When I want to attempt winging, my foot is unevitable "cramped" ie, not fully stretch at the ankle and I do have a good decent amount of turnout from the hip of the arabesque leg.

:D Is it not sufficient anymore to have a correctly fully pointed foot in arabesque? One image that comes to my mind (footwise) is the cover of the book One Hundred Lessons of Classical Ballet.

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Guest ArmedFiddler

Well, now I'm a bit confused. In arabesques, I wing my foot as I was taught (though admitedly, not the extent seen in those photos the OP linked to, just enough to continue the line). Yet I can still fully point my foot - it both feels and looks fully pointed - while subtly shifting my ankle. The only effect this has on my toes is to lightly press my big toe against the box of my pointe shoe more than it would be normally in a raised leg.


I'm wondering if this is a situation similar to dancing_dentist's, as my shins are also bowed like this () and I have hyperflexible ankles. Maybe I've just learned to compensate over the course of the past 28 years in ballet. :blink:

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We used to call that "sickled out" position "bevelled" as opposed to "winged" which wasn't fully pointed. We were allowed to bevel the foot but never to wing it...


I've always thought sickle had something to do with how one would might cut wheat... "sickle out" just brings strange broken wrist imagery to mind for me ;)

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Here is Leo Kersley (A Dictionary of Ballet Terms, Black, London, 1977) on sickling:




A dancer's foot is said to sickle when it forms an angle to the hip to ankle, instead of carrying it straight on.  Excessive sickling breaks the line of the leg.


I believe that's all there is that needs to be said about it.

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Well... not entirely... what's "serpette"? Is that a term of the French School?

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