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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Sitting back in heels


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In ballet, a dancer's weight is distributed evenly within a "control zone" which goes from the rear of the ball of the foot to the front of the ball of the heel. When the dancer goes to relevé onto demi-pointe, obviously this control zone shifts far forward onto the ball of the foot. On pointe, it goes farther forward still. What it must not do is shift to the rear, all onto the ball of the heel, especially in developpé, because that encourages bad alignment and also rather locks you in place. You really can't go anywhere once weight has settled in the heels, at least not without a most un-balletic heave-ho, that destroys the fluency of the work. Students with hyperextension often have this problem, because the lines of thrust in the backward-curved legs place the center of balance over the heels when the knees are locked back, an excellent reason for not letting them lock! (Among many others)

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Not really. There is general consensus among all the various methods of ballet that we don't schlumpf into supporting heels and hips. Incompletely trained teachers often allow their students to do this, or even unknowingly encourage it, but it's not right anywhere.

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