Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

About Arabesques and Square Hips


skyish

Recommended Posts

:D

 

I really searched for this question but found nothing. I still have a hard time understanding this "square" thing because I see many other people who do not seem like applying this rule; I get this rule as "your shoulders and your hips must create a square", am I right? So in any position you should keep your upper body in a straight line? If that's the case, I'm right. So in that case an arabesque means, leg is lifted to the "straight back" while upper body remains square.

 

However, I see many people sacrificing their "squarity" (sorry for making up new words =P) to get their working legs higher; they open their hips as much as possible to the working side and they bring their opposite shoulder to the front; now we can say that they create a square in this position too; but what my teacher warns me about is that I should push my opposite shoulder to the back as much as possible (creating an imagination of making a physical connection between working leg and opposite side shoulder) but that I should open my hip to the side to get the leg higher. Now doesn't it ruin squarity in terms of angles?

 

Because of these questions in my mind, I've been desperately trying to do an arabesque without opening my hip but that kills the height, and if I were to open my hip but not bring my shoulder to the front, wouldn't it ruin the square shape or if I were to both open my hip and bring my shoulder to front to create a square, doesn't that look like I'm not actually raising my leg to the straight back, but to the side, so it's not actually an arabesque, right? But all other students in my studio have been doing that and get high arabesques :party: (and I'm the only one who gets warned about pushing the opposite shoulder to the back by the way :))

Link to post
Mel Johnson

Absolutely squared hips and quatrieme derriere are pretty incompatible. You can't let the hips fly wide open into "alabesque" (something between a la seconde and arabesque), but you can't maintain perfectly squared hips and any kind of extended position. We have structures there not encountered to the front or side -- to wit, the bum. The student has to lift out of the supporting hip and open the working hip slightly in order to get the leg in the correct position. At the same time that it opens, it has to be controlled so that it doesn't fly away from you, so counterpressure to keep the hip down, but not so much that it produces "turn-in" on the working leg.

Link to post

Earlier this year someone posted a photo of an arabesque with a very lifted hip. I think it was under a thread about winging, but I cant find it. I hope someone can find it, and tell us the link again, because once it was pointed out to us, the photo showed very clearly what NOT to do in an arbesque. At least, I found it a great lesson.

 

Jim.

Link to post

I'm talking about this. This photo is taken by my best friend during our Spring performance (so no worries about copyright etc.). This girl is not me by the way!

 

I mean, with or without partnering, is this acceptable? Because they all do that (either with partners or not) and I'm generally the only one who's corrected not to do it (maybe I'm blessed :rolleyes: ), so this makes me feel like it is right to do it like that =P I'm asking this because I've never done pas de deux before and I may not understand its dynamics, so maybe this position is right for partnering, but what if there's no partner?

Link to post
Claude_Catastrophique

Good that you brought that topic up. I was wondering the same since a long time... I also see the pointe with rotation and I wonder which would be more important: Rotation or square hips? In many pictures I have noticed this: When the hip is more open, the leg is better turned out and the other way around. Should a student go for some middle way?

Link to post
insidesoloist

Opening the hips is one thing, but one has to be careful about opening the chest. Generally, it's probably best to think of opening the hip slightly and squaring the shoulders, not to match the hip, but to the direction in which the arabesque traveled. Then you can open your side arm further to the back to create the line you're looking for. And it's very important to hold your turnout on your supporting leg! Without squaring your shoulders and holding your turnout on your supporting leg, you lose the clarity of line and the beautiful curve in your back that makes an arabesque an arabesque rather than a modern dance extension.

Link to post
  • Administrators
Victoria Leigh

Absolutely right, insidesoloist. In the photo (linked above) the dancer's torso is totally twisted and the supporting leg very turned in. Not good. Opening the hip slightly is necessary, opening the shoulders and torso is not. There is no line there, even though her back leg is okay, but even that is more because of some hyperextension and a good foot. The thigh could actually be more rotated. Looking at the supporting leg I don't see any hyperextension, which leads me to think it is not even all the way straight. :rolleyes:

Link to post
appleblossom

I was at WI recently and had this very problem addressed, i had always struggled with attitude derriere position (more so that arabesque) because i didnt want to risk lifting my hips. The teacher told me to think of my pelvis as lifting up above my supporting leg as a whole unit and tilting slightly forward as if i were placing it on a table. Ok so it sounds super weird to write it like that. But when she physically put me in that position it helped and i now have a much better line for arabesque and attitude. She explained that you physically have to lift that hip slightly to get the leg there, but the more you grow from the supporting leg the less difference there will be between working and supporting hip.

 

Now to just work on the strength to hold the leg there for longer! the challenges of ballet are never ending. :rolleyes: thats why i love it

Link to post

Oh I wish I had a ballet book with pictures, but I cannot find any in here and shipping etc. is complicated to deal with sometimes... :sweating:

 

By the way, I'd like to ask another question without spamming boards with several topics, so I hope that it's appropriate to ask it here,

 

About attitude derriere, I just still don't know "how bent" should my working leg's knee be? :rolleyes: I mean, in many pictures I guess it's like 110 degrees between tibia and femur, but many students do it like 80 degrees or less; is it an "école" thing, or? and which must be higher, toe or knee? (I guess it's toe, but it's then harder to keep turn out in the working leg to get toe higher than knee? So it gets to include winging the foot.. :wacko: ) Oh summer confusions :dry: I'm looking forward to start classes again (we're on summer break..)...

Link to post

Some methods require the toe and knee to be of equal height, making a very flat looking attitude (which I like). Other methods require the toe to be higher than the knee. This one is pretty too, but I don't know how to do it without loosing my turnout or letting my hip drop or whatever.

Link to post
  • Administrators
Victoria Leigh

Many years ago the attitude was very 'square', less open and closer to the body, with the knee and foot almost equal. With a good shape to the foot, it should be slightly above the knee even in that square attitude. Today the attitude is generally much more open, and, if higher than 90º, then very open. In these positions the foot is definitely higher than the knee, but of course the knee must not drop (turn in).

Link to post

Thank you skyish for posing this question! I have been wondering about the same thing about square shoulders for quite a while now.

 

I understand that, ideally, one should keep one's sides or shoulders square in the arabesque. Some people in my classes twist their upper body (and also hip) to some extent as described above, getting what I perceive as very nice arabesques. When I asked my teacher about how much, in practise, one is allowed to twist, she was quite adamant that the shoulders must remain square. She's also caught me in some dubious twisting action and corrected me for it, but doesn't correct all the people that are twisting a little. Is this a matter of taste, do some teachers allow for little twisting?

Link to post
  • Administrators
Victoria Leigh

Generally not in the shoulders, heffalump. The hip needs to open to bypass the gluteous muscle, but the shoulders should remain straight to where you are going, which would either be facing a corner of your own square or a wall. (In between those places does not work either, and if the shoulders are facing your corner, then the back leg must be going to the opposite corner, not to the side wall!)

Link to post

The linked photo is an excellent example of 'alabesque' - the body (supporting leg and torso) looks like it should be in a la seconde, but the working leg looks like it should be in arabesque.

 

The shoulders in arabesque should be square - the sternum and both shoulders should face the direction you are going. Keeping the shoulders square makes it much more difficult to over-lift the working hip IMO.

 

As a dancer with very poor rotation, I always had to lift my working hip higher than ideal in order to correct the arabesque line (otherwise the leg looked very turned in - it was a compromise for my body that helped the line but made other movements more difficult), so arabesque hips are something that will look a bit different on different body types. I recommend having your teacher help you find the right position.

Link to post

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...