Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Petit battement


Recommended Posts

Sorry to flood the board with questions, but, perhaps it's my inquiring mind with the new year...


I went to a class where we did slow-motion petit battements in which the teacher demonstrated straightening the knee until the shin was perpendicular to the floor. She did this without moving her knee, and the toe was still an inch or so from the floor. When I do this, if I extend my leg, my toe hits the ground. I've tested it several different ways, and if I were to not move my knee and yet have my toe clear the ground when I unbend, I'd have to begin with my cou-de-pied substantially up my shin/calf - about halfway to the knee. What am I doing wrong?

Link to comment

Picture holding a stick in two hands with a bend in the middle (like a knee joint). Bend and straighten the stick by moving both hands. Now imagine holding one end stationary and bending the stick by just moving one hand.


In other words, you're likely letting the thigh on the working leg drop. The upper leg needs to be stationary. It takes some practice to get the right feeling. Slow motion is good:)

Link to comment

You're taking a demi-retiré, not position sur le cou de pied. Cou de pied means "neck of the foot" and is just at ankle height. The working foot is "wrapped" around the ankle with the ball of the supporting ankle, the calcaneum, just under the arch of the working foot. The heel of the working foot is in front of the supporting ankle and the toe is just behind the heel, without touching the floor. There are some older schools of ballet in which the working foot is even lower (!) with the toes brushing on the floor, as if on demi-pointe.

Link to comment

Well, actually, that's the problem, Mel. When I take a true sur le cou de pied as you describe, that's when I hit the floor if I straighten the shin to perpendicular. :wub: I've checked Lampwick's suggestion and have gone so far as to hold my knee/thigh with a yoga strap secured over my shoulder to make sure it isn't dipping down and it seems that even when the knee truly stays in the same place, my toes brush the floor. Perhaps I should join the low toe-brushing school...

Link to comment

They are hyperextended just a small amount, not even enough to interfere with my first position. Could it have to do with proportion of shin/tibia to thigh/leg bone?


I will check on the sitting in the hip thing.

Link to comment

Yes, if you are truly not dropping your knee, the only things I can think of are that you must be either sitting into your supporting hip, or doing this on a squishy surface at home, like a carpet. I can't see how else it could possibly be.

Link to comment

Yes, and you would also likely be not holding your high demi-pointe either if you are sitting in the supporting leg. Check your alignment and be sure to pull up out of your legs and maintain control over your supporting leg's ankle.

Link to comment

Oh, I'm supposed to be on demi pointe?




...perhaps that explains everything...




Well, I mean, in my normal class, I would be, but in this unfamiliar teacher's class, we did this slow petit battement exercise en flat, and that's where my toe grazed...

Link to comment

No, I think this is supposed to be done on flat. How are your frappés, especially the beaten ones? (This is so hard to do when you can't see the student!)

Link to comment

Petit battement can be done flat or en demi pointe, and I thought you were grazing the floor because of the reasons mentioned above, and if you were en demi pointe, it would be likely that you were not maintaining a high demi pointe- make sense?

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

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...