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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Arm in cambré?

Liz Power

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When doing your standard issue cambré at the barre, where does the arm go in relation to the head? Does it maintain its position slightly in front of the head and neck or does it go further back, allowing the dancer to look over his/her inner elbow? The latter seems to be what happens most of the time, but is it correct? It seems like it pinches the upper back.

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In most schools, a cambré back carries the head back in the same relation to the arm with the head still forward. A teacher may ask the student to look to one side or the other, depending on the goals of the class being taught. The back bends at the point where the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae meet in mid-back.

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The relationship of head, eye and arm does not change in an academic sense from standing upright to bending back. The breath and activity of the spin however must play a key role in order to give the bend backward a sense of life.


Eyes focus with the head turned to the side is above, beyond and in front of the arm 3rd/5th, elbow diagaonally facing backward and the palm of the hand must face the forehead approximately one hand width in front of the head. How to bend back of course is another discussion. :shrug:

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