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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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At my ballet school we usually do normal changements (or I guess what I would call "normal" because they are what I'm used to: from 5th with a quick change of feet in the air before landing), but a few times lately we have done picked-up changements. I looked them up in Gail Grant's "Technical Manuel and Dictionary...." and saw that the picked-up version is used in the Cecchetti and French Schools. (My school draws from many methods like lots of American schools) My question is just about a clarification in their execution. (I will ask my teacher if I need to see something particular to understand them, but I thought I'd just ask here first.) My teacher said something about passing the feet through 5th in the air (at the top of the jump when you look somewhat like a frog), but I wasn't sure quite how to manage this. Are you supposed to change the feet before you reach the apex of the jump (like a "normal" changement) or on the way down? Where exactly do you "pass through 5th"? (like if you start with the right foot front, which foot is front when you hit the 5th?) Thanks for any help on this.

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Changements can be done any number of ways. You can change feet immediately upon leaving the ground, or wait until the apex of the jump, then change on the way down, or with no accent at all, just an even up-and-down. In the Cecchetti grand changement, the knees are slightly bent, and the picture at the apex of the jump is actually in 1st, with the toes touching, and the soles of the feet facing one another. Some teachers like to make this a three-part picture, with people seeing the fifth position, then the pass through first, then the fifth with the feet changed on the way down. Usually, this is reserved to men's work, but I've seen it given generally.

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