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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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I was wondering whether there are any good exercises to help heighten a penche?

At the moment i can reach around 120 degrees and the only exercise i have been taught is to stand with one heel against a wall (facing outwards) place my hands on the floor and then slide my other leg up the wall. I find problems with this though as I can't reach this height otherwise so my hip alignment tends to go :ermm: Any exercises to help with penches?


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Remember that in any arabesque, penché or not, you have to lift out of the supporting hip. Then you have to open the working hip slightly, while at the same time, feeling as though you are trying to keep it squared, but it must open in order to get that leg up.


This isn't an exercise, but enlist two of your friends to help you. Take an arabesque, and have one friend take hold of your front arm with two fingers and pull toward her/him. At the same time, the other friend takes the toe of the working foot, also just in two fingers, and pull lightly straight back. Remember that an arabesque penché doesn't go down, the body lifts up and forward until there's no place to go but into the penché. After you've tried that a couple times on both sides, and you have the feeling of pulling forward and back at the same time, then do the penché without your friends.


You need strength to do a penché. What you're doing now only works on flexibility.

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Mods can remove this if its not appropriate since Im not a 13-16 yo but...


One good exercise is to do a cambre with your leg in arabesque tendu, while still in the cambre lift your leg to arabesque en l'air and then penchee. A teacher of mine used to give this one a lot to ensure our backs stay up when we penchee.

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  • 4 weeks later...

All RIGHT! Finally some information on how to crank up my penché. Right now it's just... not... going... anywhere...


Thanks, all! :thumbsup: - Meggy

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I always had trouble with this too until I found a trick that seemed to really work well. I first stand in tendu back, then go to arabesque, then (if standing on right leg) imagine trying to touch the back of my left knee in arabesque to my opposite right shoulder blade which helps me stay square and causes me to lift as I penche forward. Then when I come up I reverse this thought by trying to bring my right shoulder to my left knee. Remember to keep your arabesque leg straight while reaching out with front arm. Hope this helps!

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It helps me to practice penches facing a mirror. It helps me keep my back up and gives me a focus so I don't fall over. Now I need to practice not falling over without a mirror...A teacher once told me to think of hinging from the hip socket, the same way you bend from the hips in a cambre forward.

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  • 3 weeks later...

i'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but i can get a 180 on my own like in adagios and holding onto the barre and I've done the diana and acteon variation so I can do it on pointe (although you don't have to hold it in the variation). But for some reason I can't do it with a partner. I'm very tall so I thought maybe my partners aren't putting me forward enough? For some reason I always feel way behind my center of balance and off my leg and I cannot get it up! Is there any thing I can do to help this??

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OK, then you have to tell your partner exactly what you told us, and have him move you to a place where you CAN do the full penché (which I'm not sure is absolutely essential in "Diana and Acteon"). Practice it apart from the rest of the partnering, then practice getting into it, and then getting out of it into the next phrase. Then do it the ways that work when you rehearse the full pas de deux.

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  • 2 months later...

I've ALWAYS had difficulty with my penches, and I'm not sure why yet!! I can easily bring my leg to 180 with my back up at the bar, but in the center when we do penches I always fall over! I usually lose my balance when my leg goes too high up and end up dropping my back, or I just can't seem to balance correctly, (like if I'm too far over or behind my leg or to either side).


My teacher also said that a good way to strengthen your back muscles for penches is to lie on the end of your bed on you stomach (like with you body hanging off it) and lower yourself down and then back up again, like not completely up but just until your body is straight again. Is this exercise correct?

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