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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Jumping Turns

je danse dans ma tete

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We were doing jumps from first and turning them in the air (1 full revolution). I think they were called sautes en tournant. I can get ALMOS all the way around (maybe 345 degrees instead of 360) and I tweak my position quickly at the end so it's hardly noticeable even to the teacher. My feet end up in my 1st, just like they began, which I guess is good.


But I can't spot and do the arms (3rd, with one arm closing in as we turn) and the pointed feet and the jumping and turning all at once, and spotting is always the thing to go. I just find it so hard! I have fairly weak glasses (-1.00 in each eye) but I don't wear them for class. Would it help to get contacts? I'm worried because the pace is picking up and next week we are going to try for 1 and 1/4 and then 1 and 1/2 turns, and then 2 full turns as we jump. If I can't spot I will end up on the floor. And then I will cry and run away and you will never hear from me again, and wouldn't that be sad???


Any tips for what to think about when I try to do these jumps? Thanks!



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Lauranne, those are tours en l'air! It's a bit different to teach them from first position, but that's what they are. The most important thing to think about doing them is to jump STRAIGHT UP! WITH GREAT VIGOR! That gives you the time you need to do the turn. Single tours don't really even need a spot, but when you start doing partial turns they have to be spotted as you begin the tour in the direction that the tour will end.

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I thought these were a boys' step!


Though the girls have done up to 1 full turn "just for fun", only the boys in my class are expected to do doubles!



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Thanks Mr. Johnson and everyone else who replied. Last night I added more "vigor" and the first time I fell (all the way down!), but every time after that, I went around the full 360!!! YAY! I tried it again but with 1.5 turns and I got a bit dizzy but I made it the whole way too.... so you're very right, jumping high is critical!!! :D And EXHAUSTING if you forget to breathe, just a warning! :sweating:


Our class has men (5) and women (20). The guys have to sit through our lovely delicate exercises and are expected to try them but put a masculine feel to them, so it's only fair that we try the guys stuff too (although I didn't know this step was a man's). It makes us appreciate each other's hard work more. :thumbsup:


Mr. Johnson, why is it odd to teach them from 1st? Are they taken normally from 5th? :shrug:



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I helps to change the feet as quickly as possible (from 5th) - this gets you around easier. RAD exercise for tours is fifth on releve, changement, fifth releve, tour.


mmmmh... haven't tried (or seen) them from first position.

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Though tours are usually a guy step - our teacher expects all of us to try for doubles. Even if we never have to do it on stage, it's something for us to learn and work on. She doesn't expect us all to be able to do doubles, but at least to go for it. After all, you won't magically be able to do a double if you keep sticking to singles...


We've always done tours in 5th (though sometimes we've done starting in 5th, jump/turn and land in 2nd position, or the reverse of that - staring in 2nd position and landing in 5th). One of the teachers (a guy) always reminds the boys/guys that when they do a tour from 5th to 5th - they should *always* switch feet immediately. If you get into the habit of switching feet at the end - it's hard to break that habit (I know, because I'm one of those people!).


As for getting contacts - I wear contacts for ballet and glasses normally (my eyesight is pretty bad). On occasion, I've taken class without contacts or glasses. I was able to "spot" without seeing clearly - it might take some practice but it's possible. Just pick something to spot that is big enough for you to see without glasses/contacts .

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I've had to do tours (singles from fifth), many times in choreography, so it's a great idea to be practicing them from the onset! Seems like it's be useful for eventual emboites too.


Are they called something different when one foot ends up in coup de pied on the landing?

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A tour to other than fifth is a tour en l'air terminée à (whatever position).


And girls sometimes do double tours. Jerome Robbins had Nora Kaye do one in his "Age of Anxiety", and Frederick Ashton had Alicia Markova do one to end her "Polka" variation in "Façade".

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And girls sometimes do double tours. Jerome Robbins had Nora Kaye do one in his "Age of Anxiety", and Frederick Ashton had Alicia Markova do one to end her "Polka" variation in "Façade".


Slightly off-topic, but a few years ago at the Linbury at the Royal Opera House there was a reconstruction of a ballet by Balanchine for Ballet Russes (Nightingale... need to look it up to find the full title, but I'm sure others here know!), and there was a lovely documentary about it with Markova, who was perhaps 14 or 15 when she went to work on the ballet. She was known for her double tours by that time.


I'm sure Mr. Johnson knows much more about this than my fleeting memory can recall.


We don't have to, but most of us join in the tour exercises with the guys, and try (for at least a set or so) some of their slower jumps.

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"Le Chant du Rossignol" (The Song of the Nightingale) was an early piece of Balanchiniana that starred Alicia Markova. Just as the Ballets Russes company was getting set to do a command performance before the Prince and Princess of Monaco, Markova came down with measles, I think it was. Between the contagion, and how sick she was, she couldn't go on, and none of the other women in the company could do the role, in part because of those tours. You can't very well say no to a reigning Prince, so Balanchine himself went on in the role. It looked pretty weird, one dancer remembering, "He looked like an orangutan!" Serge Grigoriev, lying on his bed as the old dying Emperor, was startled to hear the girls surrounding him start to giggle uncontrollably. "What's that? Stop it," he growled, under the music. The giggles continued. "Cut it out! No laughing onstage!" More giggling. "I'll fine you! I'll fire you! I'll kill you!" Then Balanchine took an arabesque right over Grigoriev and the latter looked up and saw that Balanchine had painted a third eye - right in the middle of his forehead. :thumbsup: The old Emperor seemed to get much better very quickly, as Grigoriev exploded in laughter, rolled off the couch, and had to drag himself back up. :)

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Thank you for filling in the gaps Mr. Johnson!


If anyone else has the chance to see the documentary, also including Iohna Loots (of the Royal Ballet, when she was quite young), I recommend it - some lovely memories from Markova herself.

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