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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Improving arabesque


Chronus24

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Did a search, but nothing specific...

 

What excercises and/or stretches can I add to my routine to improve the height of my arabesque without sacrificing the position of my back (a lowered back arabesque has to be one of the worst looking things)? On the right, my arabequse is a smidge at or over 90 degrees, but not comfortably. The left is barerly at 60 unless I GRUNT to crank it up there all the way to 75ish. Thanks!

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Ah, one of my old problems. One of the first things I found out was that the height of the arabesque is highly dependent on the tone and stretchiness of the hamstrings of the supporting leg. However many things to stretch your right leg that you're doing now, do twice as many to the left leg. You'll find that it also helps the developpés to the front done with your left leg.

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One exercise I was taught was doing a penchee, usually after I've done quite a few advanced bar work and grand battement (very warm and supple). For penchee, I stretch up first with my arm/hand high above my head and upper body, up up up stretch etc... and slowly penchee, go as low my upper body will allow and as high my leg can go up...then as my upperbody slowly goes up, I resist my leg from being lowered and keep resisting as my upper body slowly goes up, it's hard work and I hold in *that position* for a few seconds, this is the magical moment..eventually one day overlooking a mirror, I could see the height of my stretched foot rising higher than my head, that's arabesque for me!

 

*that position* - it can be a correction by a teacher or you imagine what looks good.

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I used to do grands battements to the back at the barre with the inside leg--with a cambré back in the upper back. The arm is in second. Throw the leg as high as possible, and at the top of the grand battement, try to raise it just a little higher.

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Well if you're back is going down and your leg is going up it seems like a back flexibility issue to me. I would also reccomend a penchee stretch where the angle of the back and leg is maintained throughout the stretch.

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  • 3 weeks later...

another correction I get often, not just in arabesque, is to straighten my legs. My problem is that I have a small amount of hyper-extention in my legs and when I do things in the centre on one leg, I feel totally off my center if I try to straighten my legs all the way like my teachers want. Its like I have to "sit into" my legs to get them all the way straight and it feels like my weight is back and on my heel rather than ball of foot. Any ideas?

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Don't let your knees lock! That's terrible, for the very reasons you have cited. Just get them to where they LOOK straight.

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  • 1 month later...

Take the strongest Theraband you have and tie the both ends together... Then just get it around your foot and over the supporting-leg shoulder. Then strecht your leg into arabesque. Nice stretch and it develops strenght... :-)

 

That's how I got my arabesque high. Well, one side is 90 degress the other one is about 110 degrees... I just love attitude and arabesque, but I also have a very flexible back which I have to control a lot...

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Solor,

That sounds like a good stretch, you must use a really long theraband! I don't think it would work with a gray/silver band.

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  • 5 months later...

I have found an exercise that helped my arabesque quite a bit. I put my leg up on the barre in arabesque, and then do sort of a reverse sit up. I arch my back as far as it'll go with my leg up on the barre, then come back up, and repeat. It would never hurt to do: a wall split and try to bring your back up, reverse sit-ups, and work on back flexibility.

 

Cheers,

-Andrew :D

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That's an oldie but a goodie that a lot of former Ballet Russe dancers used to give in class. You have to be rather careful that you don't try to wrap the foot around the barre and therby encourage sickling.

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Ha ha, go figure. I am a very Russian trained dancer, so I guess it would make sense that I do that exercise!! :wink: . Good luck with the arabesque improvement Chronus!!!

Best wishes!

 

Cheers,

-Andrew

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  • 3 weeks later...

Get to a doorway put your leg up on one of the sides and grab behind you so you can stretch your back...I have a naturally flexible back so Im not sure that it would work for anyone else...

 

 

you can also sit with your chest on the floor and your legs in the air on the wall

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Just a minute here! How does one do that last?

 

I am getting a really terrible mental image of a contortion for which I don't think the human body was designed! Gibbons maybe, but not humans. What I see is somebody lying face down on the floor with his legs arched over his head to rest the feet on the wall. This maneuver is just plain dangerous with the plurality of body weight being borne at an extreme angle by the lumbar vertebrae. Good way to rupture a disc and pinch a nerve! B)

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