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Ballet Talk for Dancers

back foot in arabesque


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I have been having problems with my back foot in arabesque, especially in pointe shoes. When I see it in the mirror it looks to be sickled or it just has no shape to it. I do not feel like I am sickling but I can see it. It is the worst when I do jumps and transition steps. How can I fix this?

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Generally speaking, a sickled foot in arabesque is a sign that the leg/thigh is not being rotated correctly into the hip socket. The entire leg, including the foot must suspend and connect in order for the foot to maintain the straight, classical line in arabesque.


Start out with the basics, face the barre, with a mirror immediately to your arabesque side. Practice slowly, the opening of battement tendu, releve lent (lifting the leg slowly from the floor to 45 degrees and eventually up to 90 degrees). Watch yourself in the mirror to make sure you are not loosing the stabity of the hips as you open the toes backward. What is imposrtant is to understand physically what is happening inside your hips as you rotate you leg to the back. Lengthen everything on the front of your leg, maintain elasticity yet strength in your working leg, resist the desire to loose your upper back. Remember the importance of opposition of supporting side to working side.


As with most things in ballet technique, the sickling issue can only be worked out slowly and with a good eye or two (your teacher's hopefully) so that a student can improve in the necessary areas. Sometimes it may help to see what is happening in order to feel what the actual problem is.

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