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Ballet Talk for Dancers

fouettes


sarahlyn

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It seems everywhere I have studied, the teachers teach fouettes differently. Some want you to open front, then second. Others want you to open second and do a movement with the foot at the knee which former teachers have referred to as "stirring the batter" in a negative tone. Help! Are there different kinds of fouettes or are these all just personal preferences?

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Yes, they are different methods. Vaganova uses the open tot he side method, and most of the other methods use the front to side rond de jambe and bring the foot directly to the retiré position. I'm not sure about the back/front thing with the foot, whether that is Vaganova or not, but I think so.

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Thank you Ms. Leigh. I'm guessing that they are both acceptable methods. When you are learning the Vaganova technique, they consider their way the true "right" way. So sometimes it gets confusing and I wonder if I am doing things incorrectly or just differently. I think I will work on it both ways.

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That "back/front" appearance is really only an optical illusion as the foot is seen in the air while you are turning. Some people think there's actually a rond de jambe en l'air at that point, or worse, a petit battement sur le genou. Don't make them harder than they have to be!

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Major Mel- I was trained to actually to a petit battment at the knee (back front) in the fouette--is this truly incorrect? :unsure: sorry I am a bot confused on this! At the SI I attended, the some teachers didnt seem to mind the beat, but others said it was wrong. :D

 

Thanks!!

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That's right; it's wrong. The working foot goes to retiré devant. Do not pass retiré derriere, do not collect $200.

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Mr. Johnson,

According to my teacher who was trained at the Vaganova school in St. Petersburg, I am to actually move my foot back front. All the other teachers I've had say not to do this. I think that is why I'm so confused. Could it be a strictly Vaganova technique? Thanks for your input.

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I'll leave this one for vrsfanatic, who will know for sure. I know it's not Cecchetti, RAD, Lifar-era Paris Opera, Legat, Bournonville, Balanchine or ISTD Imperial Syllabus, so that's about all that's left.

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According to my teacher who was trained at the Vaganova school in St. Petersburg, I am to actually move my foot back front.

 

Yes, the lower leg of the working leg does beat strongly back and front during the turn. I was unaware but it may be strictly something done in Vaganova. :shrug:

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She may have adapted it from the Romantic-era fouetté (grand) pirouette en tournant, which was exploited by Robert Joffrey in his "Pas des Déesses". Hop 1: Degagé à la seconde, arms open to second. Hop 2: making a half-turn, go to retiré derriere, arms to fifth (Third in Vaganova). Hop 3: make another half-turn to face front, go to retiré devant, arms to first. Repeat as many times as needed. The supporting foot does not leave the floor or go to relevé.

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Thanks for your input everyone. I decided to email my teacher and ask her about the back front movement of the foot. She said that fouette means "to change" and that Nicolas (tsar) brought Itallian and French dancers to Russia to teach the Russians. The first fouette was taught to them by an Italian dancer who was performing a Petipa piece. She did not say which one. The foot moved moved back/front. It was later simplified when they increased the number to the famous "32" fouettes. It was cleaner to perform that many times. She did not say where it was changed. She said it is not wrong to do it either way as long as they are done correctly. But the foot movement was in the original fouette. So I guess that ends our history lesson for now unless someone has more to add. She did remind me that the Russian methods are over 300 years old and American methods are younger and not necessarily worse, just different. Hope this helps to clear up the confusion for many dancers.

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Actually, fouetté means whipped. It's the direct antonym of frappé which means struck. I don't know but if I were given the option of deciding whether to be whipped or struck, I'd have a hard time coming up with an answer!

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All right in Vaganova, apparently, because I see Russian dancers do both the "Italian" version with the rond de jambe, and the "Russian", with just the degagé to the side. Apparently, they teach them both ways. But I still don't think that's right in any other school.

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In the pedagogy program in Vaganova Academy there is only one way to do fouette. The leg must open directly to the side, en dehors and en dedans.

 

That does not mean that one would not see other things on stage. :thumbsup: Professionals do what they like as in other countries. Unless the method has changed in the past 12 years (could be though) only opening side!

 

There is a movement called temps releve tour done at 45 and 90 degrees that does look similar to the "Italian" way of doing fouette however it does not open in direction front or back (the reverse). It opens in a direction between front/side and/or back/side, deepens in demi plie and then pulls in directly to passe front. It is not done in sequence however. :)

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