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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A couple of questions about posture, Pirouettes, Arabesque...


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I thought I would ask them all in one thread.


1.) First of all, my posture is much better now and even my teacher said to me that it is much better. But there is still one thing I just don't get, although my teacher is every single lessong trying to explain me. She always says that we should "stand high on the supporting leg". I know that she means we should not "sit" on the supporting leg but sometimes she comes and squezes my but and stomache until I have the feeling that I am lifting my hip. Also when I do it in front of the mirror, I have the feeling, my hip would be lifted (on the working leg side) but then she comes and says that I must also lift the hip of the supporting leg. I just don't seem to get it and it is very confusing. I wonder if there is anything that I can do.


2.) Then I have a problem when I am coming down from pirouettes. Especially when I do them on pointe I somehow have too much turnout in the supporting foot and then I stumble over it. It is really annyoing because the turning is no problem, I also have a good turnout in the working leg and the supporting leg looks okay during the turn. Just when I do the plié at the end, I have the turnout problem and then I roll in and stumble over my foot. My teacher said I should pull up more when coming down and not try to loose my center but I don't think that loosing my center is teh problem. What else could it be and what can I do about it?


3.) Since I got the advice to pull up diagonally in arabesques, they work much better. When I have my arms to the side it looks nice but when I have them to hold in front of me (first or whatever) my shoulders seem to drop forward. I don't habe this problem when I do attitudes just when I do arabesques. How can I bring them back and make it looks nicer?


4.) My back is really unflexible. The main problem is, that I can't bend my lower back forward and my upper back backwards. I am working now on my upper back and I already see results. Now I wonder if there is any stretch I can do to get my lower back more flexible. When I sit on the floor, my legs stretched out in front of me and try to touch my knees with my head, I am just nowhere. I do this stretch about 2 years now and just managed to sit upright and hang a bit over, just because my back is so unflexible. I also do this stretch while standing (then hang over in front) but I wonder if there is more to stretch this part of the body.


Sorry that it is so long but thanks in adavance for reading!

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This is a lot all at once, Claude, but I'll try :)


1. Being "lifted up out of the supporting leg" is absolutely critical. It's a feeling of having all the bones and the weight of the body over the supporting leg but lifted by having the weight forward and not in the heel, and feeing like the whole body is lifting away from the pelvis. You must use the muscles at the top of the back of the thigh and the gluteus maximus, as well as the abs and middle and upper back. It's not any one thing, it's a bunch of things put together to create the whole.


2. The end of a pirouette is an "up", not a down. That would be the first thing to change about your image. A pirouette is an upward spiral, and the end of the pirouette, the moment the working foot is going towards the floor, is the HIGHEST point in the turn. You must LIFT yourself into the finishing position, rather than descend to it. Be carefull not to take too much force, as that is what it sounds to me like you might be doing.


3. Attitde and arabesque turns are different because usually you have the left arm up when turning to the right in attitude, which helps to bring that side of your body around. In first arabesque, the left arm is side or back, and you have to work harder with the back muscles to get the left side around. You must also LIFT the supporting side and not allow the force of turning to push you over and down on the right side.


4. I'm afraid I don't have a lot of help for this problem except to keep stretching, do a lot of floor stretches, and maybe try some Pilates work for this.

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Thanks a lot for your answers! They are really helpful for me. I will try them carefully and slowly at home and after my Christmas break I will try and find out how they work in class.


In number three I was referring to the position, not to the turns but since I still have some trouble with attitudes and arabesque turns your advice was very helpful :D

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