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Ballet Talk for Dancers

strengthening on pointe


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i have been cast (well, assigned is a better word) in a small performance. One woman was reassigned, and I joined the class just when she left, so I am taking her role. Here is the problem: the piece is an old Kirov bit of choreography, and has the dreaded eschappe, passe, eschappe, passe, and then 4 passes combination that repeats several times. We are all in a circle, and rotating while doing this. I am a relatively new pointe student, and informed my teacher that I hadn't actually gotten off the barre on pointe yet. She assured me this was not a problem, and spent quite a lot of time with me to strengthen my feet, etc. All is going relatively well EXCEPT for this part. I am terrified of the passes! The eschappes are fine, but I am scared of the passe parts. It doesn't help that this occurs near then end of the 10 minute piece, and I am already tired.


I am working on them at the barre, but I wanted to see if you had any other suggestions, or if there were some additional exercises that might help. Do I just need to work on the strength and stamina of the leg muscles, and if so, would releves in coupe at home help? I still have a month to get this, but I am getting nervous about it. Any suggestions or advice is much appreciated!

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When I had to do that choreography what worked for me was practice to build stamina. However, I was also not a beginner.


I guess you will have to have faith in your teacher that she will not allow you to go on stage unstable. The other thing you will have to conquer is your mindset; you are discovering that there are more things that go into being a dancer than just spectacular technique :(

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Guest ingve

Hi there,


you will need to take the time to help you.


It sounds like both you and your teacher is working consentrated to reach your goal.


Do not get terrified, continue working, and week by week you will see and feel the difference.



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Try doing a few releves on 1 foot at the barre i.e. releve devant, fondu keeping the raised the foot up and releve again etc. Try say 3 at a time for the first few days then gradually increase. Good luck :)

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Make sure you are not rolling backward into your little toe on the releve in passe too! :)

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First, best of luck with the performance!


I have practiced a set exercise similar to what you described as part of the RAD intermediate syllabus-(releve (in fith)-passe-releve-passe-echappe)*4. I think as long as you can align your whole body well enough on the pointe you are standing on, you will be fine. To me, alignment and balancing seemed more important than stamina for the passe part. Although I was pretty new to doing center work on pointe when I started learning this set exercise, and it was often given toward the end of the 1.5 hour practice, I was able to be on balance for quite a few moments as long as my alignment was good despite the reasonable (and inevitable) fatigue. Good luck with practice and keep us posted on your successful performance!

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Thank you all for the pointers (no pun intended)! I will defintely working on keeping those heels forward, and alignment. I tend to lean back and this is something I am defintely working on. Thanks again!

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One thing my teacher told me regarding how to put my weight forward (so that I won't lean back) without crouching my shoulders-"think of a paper doll-your shoulders are widely expanded but you are slightly forward from the waist"=>this tip helped me with alignment for pirouettes and temps lie on pointe as well. I bet it will help with finding a balance on one pointe too. Good luck!

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