Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

developpé


Holly Golightly

Recommended Posts

I have a small duet (question: do you call it pas de deux even when you are not dancing with a proper partner? I mean, if it's just two people and no touching/lifting involved.) where I have several developpés. *Very* slow. Some of them are in IV front, and I have a very slow one a la seconde, in ecarté.

 

The title says it all. Apart from obvious things (like practicing on and on because I already do that, and maybe too much as my thighs are not too happy and I fear they might grow even bulkier), is there anything I can do to make it look better? What is it I should exercise?

 

It's not just a question of extension, even tho as far as I know my legs are more strong than flexible. I can only get somewhat past 90° to the front :dry: , and probably a little less than 120° a la seconde.

 

I would like it higher for sure, but also more turned out. Or at least more turned out. Anything particular I should watch out for?

Link to comment

The singlemost important thing in my mind is to nail the *exact* angle you'll be taking these at. An ecarte which is too direct to the audience becomes invisible, and shortened. You want to maximize the space the audience sees between your legs, if that makes any sense. In croise devant, make sure the angle is at it's longest. If the leg opens from the hip, and is not crossed enough, the line looks much shorter:)

 

I'm fortunate to be able to study my rehearsals on videotape, and have been very happy with ability to "fix" how things looks, simply by changing an angle slightly. No instant technical improvement required. A little tweaking to an angle can go a LONG way for something like a tendu or developpe:)

 

The degree of extension you describe seems totally adequate to look good. Many pros have "just above 90 to the front" and "120 to the side". Learning how to present at the best angle is the "trick"...and it's totally academic body positions:)

Link to comment
The singlemost important thing in my mind is to nail the *exact* angle you'll be taking these at. An ecarte which is too direct to the audience becomes invisible, and shortened. You want to maximize the space the audience sees between your legs, if that makes any sense. In croise devant, make sure the angle is at it's longest. If the leg opens from the hip, and is not crossed enough, the line looks much shorter:)

 

Wise wise words! :P To some extent, ballet is all about lines, geometry, patterns.... keeping those clean, accurate, make our movements so much more attractive to watch.

 

And Holly, the degree of your extensions is something to be proud of!

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Just keep in mind, dancers, that there is no line without rotation! It is better to have the leg a couple of degrees lower and rotated than 120 turned in! :P

Link to comment

I second that ms Leigh, and since I am very self-conscious about my turn-out I'd like to know if there's anything I should watch out for, like common mistakes and the like. I am somewhat paranoid about it because my teacher requires very turned out legs, and I have had problems in my hip joints which have made my rotation more difficult.

 

Thanks for the angle thing - I'm definately gonna check that at the mirror, since I have to do without a video camera!

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Holly, if your hips will not support a perfect side position with rotation, it is best to move the leg very slightly forward of 90º side than to have it turned in or to hurt your hips. The leg will look much better with rotation, and it will still look side as long as it is not too far forward. Also, be very sure that you are lifted out of your supporting side, because if your weight sinks into your heel and and hips, the extending leg does not have the freedom to rotate and extend that it needs. :P

Link to comment
Thanks for the angle thing - I'm definately gonna check that at the mirror, since I have to do without a video camera!

 

Holly, a girl from one of my classes once recorded a routine we did simply with her digital photo camera! The video-function has really low resolution, but it's more than enough if you just need to see it for the angles and such (or if you want to YouTube yourself! :P ).

Link to comment
Holly, if your hips will not support a perfect side position with rotation, it is best to move the leg very slightly forward of 90º side than to have it turned in or to hurt your hips.

 

Oh thank you ms Leigh! That's exactly what I do right now - so I can assume what I am doing is not wrong. And ta mimi for the idea! I see I tend to have my weight somehow "out", towards the toes of my supporting leg when a la seconde. I'm not bent, but leaning, somehow. Is this wrong?

 

I really have to find a way to get my turnout back - but when I try too hard my hip joints start hurting again...sob...

 

Another related question. I am feeling very ignorant right now, but I have a doubt: in developpé front, is it the leg or the thigh to "guide" the developpé? I am not sure I am making much sense here. For example, a la seconde, or back, I suppose the movement begins at the hip/thigh. Is it the same in front, or do I have to start developing the lower leg first in order to avoid turning the thigh in? :thumbsup: I'm confused.... The thing is that they are such slow developpés...and the last one, front, is just before a long grand rond de jambe ended in an arabesque pose, and if I get tired the line gets ugly...

Link to comment
  • Administrators

The thigh has to hold the rotation, so the lower leg leads out in a front développé. Lead with the heel coming forward, just as in tendu. If you lead with the toes, the foot will sickle.

Link to comment

So it was as I though. Ta ms Leigh.

A la seconde, should I work on keeping my hips perfectly square, or is it normal that the hip in the working leg rises up a bit (when you go past 90° or 100°)?

Link to comment
  • Administrators

The hip is not supposed to rise in à la seconde, Holly. However, some people seem to accept that it will go up a tiny bit when the leg is very high. I don't care for that, but it happens.

Link to comment

I hope it's okay to tag on some questions/thoughts here - I'd be interested in hearing what teacher's thoughts are...

 

I've been thinking a lot lately about my extensions. My alignment issues are for the most part sorted, and I hardly get corrected on them anymore. In working on alignment, we also worked a lot on rotation, directionality, etc.

 

I'm not a 180-degree person, but I'm thinking here of turn-out in two ways: one, the rotation of the leg in the socket, and secondly, the rotation/movement of the leg as it travels. Does this make sense? The second part, for me involves the entire body, and the two sides working with (against) each other. I think my second use of turnout is probably better than the first, but neither are bad.

 

I've been working like this for about 2 years now, and it feels great. My legs feel much more open in the socket, and en l'air I do not feel that I have any problems with the leg being almost directly side, and less problems with clickiness during grand rond de jambe, etc.

 

That said, I've never been the most flexible/loose person, and I find that my extensions can vary dramatically with even small breaks, etc. But the alignment and rotational work I've done have increased the height of my extensions by a few degrees, and that's becoming more consisitent. But they are still low. I'm not asking for super high extensions: my body is not made for that, I know. But I think I have some more flexibility and strength in me, and I'd like to access it, and understand more how it works. If I do the foot in hand stretch, to seconde, my working leg is almost directly to the side, hips mostly even, bottom of foot facing forward to the mirror, and my toe is just above head height. It's slightly lower to the left. But to the front, it's understandably much harder... and I explain some of what I'm feeling below....

 

My first question is this: what is the role of the sartorius muscle (going from top, outside thigh, down and across the front of the thigh, and connecting on the inside near the knee) in this - especially in rotation and extensions front and side. I ask because lately mine, especially on my right leg (better for extensions devant and seconde), has been a bit tight and sore. I'm wondering how I should be feeling this muscle work in turn out, and also in extensions. I'm also wondering if it might be sore due to the fact that I've been correcting alignment issues, and thus allowing my legs to work in a different way than before.

 

Secondly, I've noticed over the past few weeks in stretching, that when I do hamstring stretches (either bending over to touch toes, or sitting with legs straight out in front, bending over them, and some times even sitting in second, bending forward), I mainly feel the stretch not in my hamstrings, but in my lower back, along my spine. (In a deeper stretch, I then feel the stretch further down my rear, sometimes to the very top of my thighs, but hardly further down along the backs of my thighs). I'm guessing this might be the top part of my iliopsoas. I'm not surprised my lower back is tight, as I'm naturally sway backed, so elongating it has always been a struggle. I've also often heard that a loose lower back is great for extensions - and I'm trying to figure out what exactly is meant by that. I understand how the iliopsoas works as a thigh flexer, and I also remember from my Hawkins classes how we'd try to access it to do some contraction exercises, but thinking back, I don't know that I've ever figured out how to access, or stretch, the *top* part of the muscle. When I do pied de la mans to the front, I basically am a bit below shoulder height - but feel restricted by my arms not being quite long enough! Again, I feel a bit of stretch in my hamstrings, but mostly I feel constrained by my lower back.

 

For my hamstrings, I find I get the most stretch by lying on my back and stretching.

 

Any thoughts? :giveup: I might be out on a limb here....

 

ETA: Clara 76 - I've been doing the Dowd exercise you mentioned earlier a few times a week, both with pointed and flexed feet. I feel like I'm just shaking my leg around, but I do feel it right where you said we should... Hopefully that might help some things.

Link to comment

On second feeling around... it might actually be the main quad muscle, on top (just lost the name of it...) that is sore...just where the sartorius crosses it, and then below....

 

I guess I should add that I've been doing the step machine at the gym...

Link to comment

There is a way to aim the stretch at the hamstring rather than the lower back. Sit with your legs straight out in front and lean forwards with a completly straight back - you will probably hardly move at all at first. It feels as if you are sticking your butt out behind. You can also try holding your arms straight forward parallel to the floor (and your legs) and reaching forward with your finger tips. Doing a stretch this way has quite a different feel to when you allow the back to curve and try to put your head on your knees.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

It also gives you much more stretch if you flex the feet. :giveup:

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...