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tips for higher jumps?

Guest silverfighter

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Guest silverfighter

I'm looking for things I can do and practice (other than just doing a lot of jumps, which I already am) to help me jump higher. Anyone?



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Yes, I am interested in this as well. I don't seem to have very much ballone (is that the correct term?) and spring in my legs required for a lot of the jumps.

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Work on your plies, and really working through the foot from ankle to toes on every tendu, jete, degage, etc. I also stand in first, and lift each foot from flat, to 1/2 pointe to 3/4, then off the floor, and reverse, increasing the speed with each repetition. Also, make sure you are aligned correctly, a plumb line helps with everything.

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Some interesting bits of info here.




Apart from muscular issues here's what else comes to mind.


Looking up (position of both head and eyes) does really add to perceived height from audience perspective, as would different positions of arms- depending on the kind of jump I suppose.


Also I think looking (and thinking) 'up' in, say, a jete might give you some more actual height too and help with ballone (although I can't think anyone would look down so I don't know why I'm saying this!).


I'm sure breathing must makes a difference, too but I can't imagine what to say about it...


Actually, I've just remembered I have sometimes looked down a bit doing jetes in a circle around a small studio - just to avoid landng on the person in front in case they decide to slow down. I remember once after such a class I did the same exercise on my own still looking down until everyone started shouting 'up, up!' ....then suddenly I really started to take off AND have that hanging (ballone) feeling! :wub: It was wonderful!

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Check in the mirror how much plie you have and how much of it do you use for your jumps. It's amazing how different a jump can look like using as much plie as you have :D

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Timing can make a big difference - and you may need 'different' things from you plie depending on the dynamic you want to create....


We tend to think a lot about calf/ankle/foot in the process of creating a jump - but don't forget all that stuff above it! Remember the opposition for the plies, the use of the thighs, etc - all of that stuff sets you up for the allegro work to come!

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Some points about jumping and ballet.


From strictly a jumping perspective (i.e., the simple ability to jump high), how high one can jump is determined by how many fast twitch muscle fibers one has. Jumping ability is also highly related to sex. Females don’t jump as high as do males, for the most part. Also, and perhaps most depressing from the point of view of development, improvement in jumping ability is very difficult to come by. Relevant to the adult dancer, jumping ability also deteriorates quite rapidly with age.


From a ballet perspective, once beyond a certain minimum, how high one can jump is pretty irrelevant. What is important is how high the jump appears to be, which is largely a function of technical mastery. Deepening the plie is an excellent example. For many people, deepening the plie will actually decrease the absolute height of a jump. But the appearance, the difference between the height of the head at the bottom of the plie and the height of the head at the top of the jump, will be that of a jump higher than it actually is.


Another piece of good or bad news depending on your perspective is that the traditional ballet class provides an almost perfect training for jumping, both ballet type jumping and absolute jumping for that matter. I say bad news because we are all looking for short cuts, and quite frankly there aren’t any. I say good news because the road to improvement is known—lots of classes and practices emphasizing all those corrections and images we hear over and over from good teachers. Yea, I know. Sounds boring, but such is life.

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Jumping is interesting, because if I think of the best girl jumpers I know, they are NOT the ones with the deepest plies or anything like that. I think it's partly a matter of strength and partly a matter of coordination, i.e. knowing how to USE whatever plies you've got.


One thing that helps for big jump is to make sure you're using your full plie right before you take-off. I think most of us get all excited when we're about to do a jump and end up using this wussy little plie instead of our full range.


The other BIG thing is to think of LIFTING YOUR HIPS. I have no idea why this works - maybe someone else can explain it - but that one thought can make a huge difference. I don't do this as much as I should, but when you see someone who's doing it well, it's really noticable. Maybe because it just gets you to think "UP!!!"...

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I've found that water environments are a great way to work on balletic issues, jumping not withheld. Jumping in deep water was the only way I could engrain the cleanest muscle patterning for entrechat six and then entrechat huit. With jumping in particular the buoyancy that water provides allows for more time to think about where the body is in space while still in the air, or off the pools bottom in water. So while it may not do as much to enhance the way you leave the floor in my experience it helped immensely in redefining the way I landed. I’d always been told to articulate through the metatarsal when landing but I think was intuitively afraid of coming down with my foot still pointed and rolling over it. With the weightlessness of landing in water I was able to physically roll through my foot from the big toe down. I became comfortable with the movement and established the coordination there. It enabled me to take it out of water and into the studio.


I am not too familiar with Stott reformers but I know the ones made by Balance Body have foot boards that you can put in at the bottom when the foot bar is lowered. This is also a great way to work on the coordination taking off and landing in a different gravitational setting.

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Another good way to get comfortable with the coordination of jumps (and to build some arm strength!) is to work between two barres. Place two portable barres just over hip width apart or place a portable barre next to a wall barre, or work with a corner where two barres meet. Holding on to the barres from the top, plié and push off. Instead of actually jumping, lift yourself into the air be pushing down on the barres. You can practice any petit allegro jump, including beats this way, and you can emphasize the rolling up and rolling down of the jump. This is one of my favorite ways to work on tricky beats (sissone battu, etc,) but I think that it is a good way to understand any jump at a slower speed.

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For ballon, I've observed that dancers with good ballon tend to hit their position in the air sooner, and hold it longer. For example, in a grand jete, hitting your split as soon as possible, and holding it as long as possible until you have to land. Visually, this helps with the impression of floating, perhaps because there's one constant image impressed on the eye. Being able to jump higher can help, because you can hold the position longer.


edit: one more thing I forgot: Kenneth Laws claims that proper coordination of the arms can give 25 percent more height in a jump. With this in mind, it's very interesting to watch videos of good jumpers to see how the're using their arms. Mikhail Baryshnikov in Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux is one of my favorite examples of this.



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