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changes of direction in petit allegro


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My long-time teacher has recently been setting us petit allegro combinations with loads of changes in direction, not her usual style. Needless to say, I'm finding it really difficult! Apart from always having your weight in the right place (!) does anyone have advice on this front?

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Sounds like you are getting a bit more advanced :wink: But, really the only thing with quick changes of direction is to know where the body weight must finish one step in order to make the next one!

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When that happened to me long ago, I just spent a lot of time repeating the combination outside of class. I always found the teacher who gave those combinations would reuse parts of them at other times and those times weren’t so bad at all.

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I find that sometimes something as simple as a barre combination can help with changing direction because it helps me to find my plomb line by placing my weight, squaring my hips, and making sure that I'm truly on the supporting leg- oh, and not sitting on my heels. Also, I'm more comfortable with arm-leg-head coordination at the barre than in center, so barre helps to prepare me mentally.


Simple barre combinations like this often help me with shifting my weight:


tendu front 2x, tendu back 2x, tendu side (closing back), tendu side (closing front), tendu the inside leg front and close back. Repeat exercise starting from the back (back 2x, front 2x, side 2x, inside leg, close front)


combinations with temps lies and glissades


pique combinations that move along the barre from side to side.


Other than that, the best advice I can give is to keep on keepin' on! You'll get it soon enough, just keep trying and don't panic or beat yourself up if you get a little lost from time to time. It'll come. :shhh:

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Knock, knock....


One thing I tell my students that helps, is to change the direction of their head.


For example... if I give them petit jete dessus right, then pas de chat left, once they execute their petit jete dessus right, turn the head and look to the left for the pas de chat. :shhh:

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I find that using the head arms and body properly and really working on that helps alot.

I used to think only about the legs and ignore the other parts (thinking I'd pick them up when I got the legs)


HOWEVER I would be all over the place, but when I gave up and started working on getting the upper body right the feet fell into place.

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ARGH - I typed a long response and lost it.


Hopefully I can resurrect some.


Basically, I was saying that I think it is great that you are getting changes in direction - as I noted on Hans' super wicked cool blog :thumbsup: earlier, many teachers don't incorporate that many changes in direction in petite allegro, especially with adults. You do everything en face, just moving side to side.


One of my teachers is excellent at including these in petite allegro, quite often from the warm up jump onwards (actually, from barre onwards). I love it - quick petite allegro, covering the floor, with changes in direction, minimal arms. Very Bournonville baby I guess.


But the main point I was trying to make was what Trying to Improve said above. In ballet, it's easy to get stuck on the legs and what they are doing. If the petite allegro is quick and you're trying to change position with just the movement of your feet, you'll end up in-between positions and sometimes behind the music.


At first, and now when I'm having difficulty getting a particular change, I find it really useful to go through everything slowly - maybe minus the jump, but with all the transfers of weight, finding fifths when needed, plies, degages, etc. And then I really think to get from a to b, what do I need to do. For example, if I'm en face and am going to change to croise with a petite jete, or so, the degage needs to hit that ecarte devant, the part of your body that is going to be upstage needs to 'open' (bad word - perhaps turnout is better) so that the direction is not just made by the dowstage shoulder coming forward, etc - the whole body makes the position.


I think I'm getting more inarticulate by the second these days.... :grinning::o

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I think this is really helpful, acually, I had got a bit obsessed about just my feet, and can see that thinking about the head and direction of the body will make a big difference. Roll on the next one....

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Last week in class, we had a really cool-looking petite allegro combination with lots of direction changes: a section in it had a sissone ferme front, then to the side, while turning about 120 degrees, then front again, turning the remaining 120 degrees (so you face the opposing front corner from where you started). When it was done right (which very few people in class could do), and done on upbeats, it looked like people were twirling about in space.


Looking at where I want to go and thinking ahead of the music and steps are two things that really help me with these kinds of things.



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Today's class was full of directional changes starting at barre and progressing from there. I found the barre changes very useful and challenging.


One thing my teachers do in petite allegro when there is a directional change is they actually stop, go over the change, and make sure you are aware of what part of the body the change has to come from to get you to where you need to go. Perhaps if you are still having difficulties you could ask your teacher to explain this to you before proceeding with the combination?



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Here I go talking about Bournonville last Friday, and lo and behold, we have Bournonville-inspired class Friday night. Which was fab... but while we did a bit of all the quick little petite allegro I love, we focused a lot on the hard hard hard adage movements. :thumbsup: Which is good for me of course..... Right?

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