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Ballet Talk for Dancers

couple issues


shea

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I have two questions that I was wondering if you all could help me out with. I am 23 and just started ballet this summer.

Question 1: My plie is so shallow becuase my achilles is so tight. My left is tighter than my right and I was wondering how I could stretch these tendons so that I can go deeper? Is there anything else I can do to help my plies?

 

Question 2: Because I am so new I am afraid to dance my heart out. I am afraid that I will screw up and look like an idiot becase I am putting my all into whatever I am doing at that point. How can I gain confidence and not be scared to try my hardest? I almsot feel like because I am a beginner I shouldn't try and dance like I am not a beginner. Is that weird?

Edited by shea
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Guest ingve

Hi,

 

The problem of a thight achillesis quite an issue. You have to know that you should only stretche the muscles around the achilles, in your calv etc. Do not try to stretch the tendon itself, it does not work like a muscle! But with patience and intending to work the plié you have completely out, and it will improve :)

 

It is normal to be shy in the beginning when you do something new, this shyness will leave you with time. It is not easy to "dance your heart out" just like that after you start dancing in a new style.

 

Cheers.

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Tight calf muscles are relatively easy to stretch. Do a yoga "downward dog", trying to let the heels touch the floor (obviousy, they wont be anywhere near there yet if you are tight). Bend one leg in at a time, so that all the weight goes on the other foot, and relax as much as you can. Change sides over every so often.

 

Jim.

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Shea, just doing the pliés will help, and as others have said -- stretching -- carefully and slowly (don't bounce it!).

 

And as for feeling silly -- well, read among the threads in this section and the Adults' Buddy Board, and you'll see you;re not alone, but also that our advice to each other ("Peer coaching" in posh pedagogical terms :) ) is that no-one really notices anyone else in class (unless you cross the studio in the path of someone else going en diagonale in grande allegro !) as we're all too busy trying to get it right ourselves!

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Because I am so new I am afraid to dance my heart out. I am afraid that I will screw up and look like an idiot becase I am putting my all into whatever I am doing at that point. How can I gain confidence and not be scared to try my hardest? I almsot feel like because I am a beginner I shouldn't try and dance like I am not. Is that weird?

 

Coming up on my one-year anniversary as a brand-new-to-ballet beginning adult, I can completely relate to this sentiment! I am finding, however, that as I get better at some things my ability to really 'dance' the combinations or steps and go for it more is starting to develop.

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I almsot feel like because I am a beginner I shouldn't try and dance like I am not. Is that weird?

 

I don't know if this will help you, but coming back to dance after a long time gone, often I feel the only thing I have going for me is "dancing my heart out." I don't have the technique I once had, so a lot of times I really focus on port de bras, closing positions cleanly, getting tempo right, even though my jumps may be an inch off the ground, grand jete looks more like petit jete (ha!), and my once respectable extension is lucky to be knee-high. It feels really good when everything else is off to think, "Wow, that arm position looks nice!" So go ahead and dance your heart out! The rest will come in time. No one is going to think badly about you for giving it your all.

 

And Redbookish is right... we're all constantly giving each other pep talks because we all feel the same way at one time or another. No one really pays much attention cause everyone else is struggling just as much!

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And tight achilles tendons can be one issue in a shallow plié, but follow it on up the backs of the legs; do you also have tight hamstrings?? How about your calves- tight as well????

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Well, to be honest, shea, your teacher will most likely notice if you're dancing your heart out. But the odds are 10-1 that they will be thrilled to see you do so. You are nearly guaranteed to brighten someone's day.

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Shea, I also have a very shallow plie' so I can totally relate. You won't ever be able to change the length of that tendon but the others are right about stretching your calves as well as your hamstrings. There are other things to consider as well:

 

Shallow plies make for difficult adagio (but definitely very doable) because you come to the end of your plie quicker than the slow music may allow. Therefore, pace yourself and slow that plie down as much as you can so you don't actually "sit" at the bottom of it but glide through it. This takes a considerable amount of strength from the very beginning of your plie all the way to the end. You have to imagine that a plie isn't the being down but the moving down and then up part. In other words, it's a verb and not a noun. At first it seems very awkward because someone else at the barre in front of you may be halfway to the ground while you are just getting started. Nevermind them, because your plie is not their plie. Concentrate on not lifting those heels up, either. Actually think of pushing your heels down as you get closer to the floor, the same when you come up. Doing that will deepen your plie over time.

 

On the other hand, while adagio might be tricky, jumping is a joy for those of us with spring! If you get strong enough to know how to use the full length and breadth of your plie every single time (like before jumps) you will find that you have a springiness others might lack. Imagine a tightly drawn bow ready to launch.

That's us, babe!

 

Have no fear. When you get more confident in yourself you will begin to shine. It doesn't mean that you don't make mistakes. It just means that in your efforts you are giving it your all, body and heart. You are doing this for your own enjoyment, are you not?

 

Shea, another thing I forgot to mention. Just like it might be awkward to see others down in their plie sooner than you are, it's the phrasing of the music that is important to consider. If you rush the plie and do it too quickly you may also arrive at the end too soon. People that have deep plies do this as well because they rush it. Be patient, move slowly but deliberately, using the complete phrasing of the music.

 

Sorry, you probably didn't need all of this advice. But, I've heard these corrections so many times myself that I could recite them in my sleep. I'm finally getting it. So simple and yet so subtle and difficult to master.

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And tight achilles tendons can be one issue in a shallow plié, but follow it on up the backs of the legs; do you also have tight hamstrings?? How about your calves- tight as well????

 

 

Yes they are all tight. I have been stretching every night so I hope that helps

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Ah. Tight bodies can have a difficult time especially just starting ballet, so the first thing to practice is patience!! :)

 

Other than that, Yoga helps with flexibility, and stretching is certainly good but only knowledgable stretching will be helpful. Make sure you have some direction with beneficial stretching for your particular needs, and do dance your heart out!! It is wonderful for a teacher to see a student trying and working and reaching beyond her comfort zone. :thumbsup:

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It is absolutely right that your teacher will be thrilled and maybe even comment on you dancing your heart out. Not may of us have deep beautiful plies as beginners or even later.

On one of the few occasions over the past two years that I stayed or a whole class and "danced my heart out" I got a rather starteling complement from my teacher on a simple exit run after a combination. I guess it could have been the whole thing??? I guess it was looking pretty nice.

 

Isn't the main point of going to ballet class that we enjoy it fully?

 

Laschwen

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