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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this... If it isn't, could it please be moved to wherever it belongs?


I've just started doing a little bit of partnering, and I'm really bad at it. I always seem to put my weight in the wrong place, so that the boy can't handle me, or I get the timing just a little wrong, and get us both messed up, or I'll rely on him too much to balance me or to lift me when I should be balancing or jumping without help. :)


I'm with the same boy almost every time, and he's really nice about it, but I still feel like I'm making it really hard for him. Once I even scratched his hand. (Accidently, of course) And, of course, I feel fustrated that I don't seem to get this.


Are these things that will get better as I get more experience? Or is there something specific that I need to do to 'fix' these problems right away?

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Magdalena, the first thing in partnering is to pretend that he's not there! That's right, you have to take an arabesque en pointe and promenade all by yourself, at least that's what should be in your mind. After you've got the "he's not there" part down pat, make sure you don't grab for his hand, he's not there, remember? That way, you'll be sure not to scratch him.

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Don't pretend that he isn't there too much though! He wont like it if you hit him in the while doing a soutenue! Pas de deux can be really hard in the beginning! I think that it really helps to try and keep your core strong, upright and centered as possible, boys will have a really hard time if you don't stay straight because then they don't really know where your weight is. Also you can ask your partner what he thinks would help.

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The soutenu isn't so bad, he can watch out for himself - but a pirouette you've both got to work on together. Usually what happens is that the boy gets too close to the girl, and she hits him as she turns, then you have to work three times as hard to get him to get close enough to partner the turn thereafter, until the proper working distance is worked out. The problem as expressed here is that Magdalena seems to be flailing, looking for support. The big rule is no wiggle, no giggle (giggle causes wiggle). Yes, take that position and hold it. Don't try to correct yourself. If you're constantly shifting, that will set up your partner to try to overcorrect, as he tries to center your weight. Usually, this scenario ends up with it getting worse and worse, until you both end up on the floor.

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Partnering is a two way street Magdalena. As Major Johnson has suggested, the female must dance so as not to depend upon the male. The partners must compliment each other however. The exercises you are practicing in class should be constructed in a way that is training the female/male skills involved in partnering. For example torso arm relationships to one another (the S curve) or how the male is able to help the female maintain her balance by lifting her up slightly rather than holding her in place from the waist or from the arms over head. Distance between partners is also a very important aspect of training. When the female steps toward the male is she stepping to far or too short? The movement is a piquette (or pas jete). Is the movement really being done well and musically as the exercise was constructed? Often in partnering one or both have not learned their musicality, just the sequence of events. The female has her job and the male has his, but they must coordinate together. Ask your teacher for a little bit of extra help with a concrete issue then work together with your partner on that concrete issue. Understand you must feel light as a feather, not as if you are falling or stuck in cement!


Most important, enjoy learning partnering skills rather than fear it. It is great fun. :thumbsup:


Major Johnson and I were posting at the same time. Please excuse any repetition of his advice. :unsure:

Edited by vrsfanatic
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Thank you so much for your advice. I know it'll be a while before I'm good at partnering, but in my last class, I felt I did better. Hopefully that's a good sign.

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Good, sounds like you're getting onto the right track. The more you do, the more comfortable you will feel.

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