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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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I've never learned these properly (only in variations for Sugar Plum and Tch. Pdd) - and could use some serious help.


We started rehearsing last week and I have to do one to each side. I have decent pas de chat, decent saute with rond de jambe en l'air.... but with gargouillades, I don't know where to start! I feel like I look like a wet dog in the mirror! (Actually, the whole trying to do them bit was fairly entetaining for everyone else to watch!!! How's that for free entertainment? :) )


Anyone care to start with me on the basics?


I have until May or June... so hopefully enough time to improve! :thumbsup:

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Maybe you can start out practicing doing the first rond de jambe (say with the right leg) on the way up (during the jump) and then on the way down is when you do the rond de jambe with the second leg (with the left leg). Then once you get the feeling of doing the 2 rond de jambes, work on getting enough height to complete both rond de jambes while still at the height of the jump.


We don't practice them much (maybe once a year or less, if choreography calls for it?) so I usually just end up doing a pas de chat-type jump and wiggling the feet to simulate the rond de jambes. Definitely not the correct way to do the jump... :D

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I'm afraid I want to start even more basic than that, but thanks Gretchenstar - I think you're right in the 'one at a time' approach!


I've thought of one detail to ask, thanks to your post!


I think this should *start* as a pas de chat, right? A low pas de chat? That is, the first leg coming up through a retire, extending, rond de jambe, and then land? or out to a degage and then rond de jambe?

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The most basic way I remember them taught was to stand in 5th, plie and bring back leg to 90 degrees side, rond de jambe enlair en dedans w/back leg, en dehors rond w/ front leg, plie. No jump. We later added the jump. During the jump, the legs meet as one is coming in and the other going out. Mind you, I can't jump right now and hope I am writing this properly, mods please edit if needed!

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I call it the Egg beater step - cos it feels like my legs are doing the movement off and old fashioned egg beater, and i sympathise with the wet dog analogy cos im sure i look like that or worse having never been taught properly how they are done, just trying to copy others in the class.

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The most basic way I remember them taught was to stand in 5th, plie and bring back leg to 90 degrees side, rond de jambe enlair en dedans w/back leg, en dehors rond w/ front leg, plie.


This is interesting - I was taught to brush the front leg out for the 1st rond de jambe (endehors) and then the 2nd leg (which would have been the leg in back in the 5th position) goes en dedans. Are they done both ways?


I guess you can try this to get the feel of the rond de jambes, without jumping: start in 5th position (say right leg in front). Plie, extend the right leg to the side, do a rond de jambe en l'air endehors, step onto the right leg so now the left leg is free (in a la seconde) and do a rond de jambe en l'air en dedans, close 5th. [This is probably exactly what missvjc420 was describing!]


This is assuming you're doing the version that I learned. Or you can reverse it for the other version.


Hope this helps!

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Guest pink tights

Just adding to the confusion here.....According to Warren, in the Soviet Syllabus, both ronds are performed en dehors. Unless you reverse, then they are both en dedans!

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Ami, if you have Grant and Kostrovitskaya, they both have a lot of information on this step, both en dehors and en dedans. I couldn't find it in the Beaumont book about Cecchetti, but it might be there, too. Too much for me to type out just now, but I might have time later today.

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I was taught the same way as Gretchenstar, and would agree with her way of learning the Gargouillade. They do exist in reverse, i.e. starting with the back foot and the first rond de jambe being en dedans, however, I don't recall ever seeing them this way on stage - perhaps it is just a class room exercise.


A Russian teacher once told me that at the Vaganova academy they used to reverse everything - just for the intellectual exercise, even if they were steps or combinations that would not normally be done that way.


If you think logically about your double ronds de jambe it makes the step easier. From the front the first leg will be en dehors, then the second leg from the back will be en dedans.

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Thanks All.


I only have the Grant, which I had left (stupidly) in storage (I'm in temporary student accomodation this term), but I went and begged for the key and now have in front of me.


I THINK I'm *trying* to do an en dehors than en dedans with the second leg - but it looks like shake, shake. :) And, I don't know what the teacher wants (but my gut is saying both en dehors). So I need to ask at Saturday's rehearsal.


I still have the same basic question regarding the first leg. According to what Grant says about the Ceccheti method of this step, she says 'excecute a double rond de jombe en l'air' - so does that mean the leg brushes to second (a la demi-hauteur) or goes through a retire, extends, and then does the double rond de jambe? Or am I missing something in my reading of Grant (very very likely).


Thanks to all. So glad I have a LONG time to work on this....

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My understanding has also been that it is like a pas de chat, with the legs executing double rond de jambes en dehors unless otherwise specified.


These have just been added into a pas de deux I'm rehearsing, with arms coming from first to third (Vaganova third, overhead), and down through second to low preparatory position. Now, I don't remember having trouble with these as a child, but the last time I did them was thirteen years ago, so it could be that my memory isn't altogether accurate. I don't think we look like wet dogs, but my partner and I are having a heck of a time not ronding our hands as along with the double rond de jambes! We go up, arms to third, begin to open them, and execute four ronds -- with our right legs, both wrists, and left legs. The effect is quite comical.

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I believe that thinking these things as ornamented pas de chat is probably counterproductive. The leg that starts it has to start in a demi-grand battement. No developpé is involved. Of course, there could be a step like that, but it would be something else other than gargouilliade.

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Hans and Mr. Johnson,


THANK YOU! :) I think this will help loads, in both having the time to do the ronds in the air, as well as having the power to...


Will report back after Saturday's rehearsal.


In the meantime, continued advice is always welcome! ;)

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I went into the studio today and did a gargouillade and realized that I also brush the leg instead of picking it up from the knee. I tried doing it as an "ornamented pas de chat" and it definitely didn't come out right. So, regardless of how I remember learning it, the proof is in the pudding. Of course, it's no surprise that Mel and all the famous authors are right! Definitely brush the leg!

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