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exercises to develop better jumps/feet


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Hi. I am a musical theatre performer who has took ballet in college and returned to ballet a little over a year ago. I know I will not look like a ballet dancer, but having strong ballet technique gives one the vocabulary for any choreography. I have made great improvements but continue to struggle with jumps and turns. both these problems, but in particular the jumps, I have been told could relate to strengthening my feet. although I have decent flexibility and strong legs, I am not able to quickly articulate through my feet in small jumps and don't get the height and 'floaty' look that I should in grand allegro. I am only able to attend ballet once a week, occassionally twice if my work schedule allows. outside of class I lift weights and work on my flexibility daily. I was hoping this forum might be able to recommend some outside of class exercises so I can focus on my weaknesses and make classtime more effective.

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Hi, CE, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. Your problem is obvious. You need more than one class a week in order to gain anything at all in ballet. Start trying to arrange your schedule so that second class becomes a regular thing, then try to figure out how to get three! That's when you will make real progress. I won't recommend anything right now, as long as you're only taking once a week. You could be practicing errors, and that will be a difficult skill set to unlearn!

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Those are the suggestions. :lol:


While you're in class, make sure to pay especial attention to tendus and dégagés. Those make your foot articulate, as they must in rapid or large jumps.

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"I am not able to quickly articulate through my feet in small jumps and don't get the height and 'floaty' look that I should in grand allegro."


It took me ages to learn to articulate through the feet, and I certainly dont have anything like the floaty look at all. But what helped me learn to articulate through the feet, was doing it in a non-jumping situation - either just when sitting repeatedly bouncing one bent leg (i.e. a knee) up off the ground, using full and rapid articulation through the foot (if I've explained it clearly enough)*, or sitting on a (non-splintery) floor, with my feet flat against a wall and repeatedly using my legs to shoot across the floor - etc.


All the things I did let me get the rapid articulation, which I learned at first under a much reduced load.


Otherwise it was: 1. Jump. 2. OK, now I've got to point my feet. 3: Damn! I've landed already!




*the sort of things that drive other people crazy. Stop bouncing your knee! You're driving me mad!

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Good advice from Mel and jimpickles. The only thing I might add is that when you do the first jumps in class think of them not as jumps but rather as foot exercises where you plie as much as possible and barely get your toes off the ground.

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Otherwise it was: 1. Jump. 2. OK, now I've got to point my feet. 3: Damn! I've landed already!


That's similar to my problem. It's either as you describe or 1. jump and point feet, 2. uh oh, that was the beat I was supposed to land on...3. land.


I have added a series of relevees in 1st, 2nd, and fifth to my daily exercise routine, hopefully that will help as well.

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I would work with or consult a ballet teacher who is used to teaching musical theater performers. If you put the kind of time into ballet that's required to really "do it right," you would destroy your musical theater career. So the trick is to make the best use of the time you have to make realistic progress. I know of Kat Wildish in NYC (she has a website), but you're not in NYC.


Better feet is a long-term ongoing quest for every ballet performer.


There are ways to do the tendu exercises carefully and slowly that will improve the articulation through your feet. The good thing about these exercises is they happen at the beginning of class; thus, you don't have to be very warmed up to do them, so it would be practical for you to work on these exercises more often than your once a week class (once you know understand how to do them properly).


There are also ways to stretch your feet.


Articulation of feet in small jumps is built by working on the general articulation of feet. But additionally, it's good to work on the small jumps very fast. The aim is not to jump high, but to get the feet fully stretched in the air while jumping just high enough to get off the floor. And since the speed of jumping is largely determined by its height, this means fast jumps to warm up petite allegro. When you're in the air, you're working for "tendu down." Most teachers do not do the first warm-up jumps fast enough for this.


All this stuff should be taught in person with a ballet teacher. It's not really practical to explain it all in words on-line. But at least this is the start of the kinds of things you should be asking about to improve the articulation of your feet. Definitely ask your teacher. You're paying for class, you should get what you need out of it.


As for large jumps --- what happens in a large jump is mostly determined by the technical parts that go into it. If your large jumps are crashing and burning, so to speak, the best way to improve them is to improve everything else you're working on, especially at the barre. It takes a WHOLE lot less energy, and it's much safer, than trying to repeat the large jump again and again, trying to get it right.

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Your feet should be pointed BEFORE they leave the ground. If your weight is on the ###### of your feet, pointing during a jump will be easier.


A teacher recently had us do small jumps as silently as possible, the only way to do it is to point your feet, and come down through the plie.


All the best!

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Somebody edited out a word that can be interpreted as naughty. Your weight should be on the front of your feet, also known as the b4lls of your feet.

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Nobody edited. It's an automatic feature called the "badword filter" which we employed last April when somebody hacked the site using ASCII and that was one of his favorite words.

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So Mr. Johnson, I can't use words like ####, #####. ####. #####. and ######?


Warmest ######,



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You get the general idea. The default sign for badword filter is ######.



####! I'm really ###### off over this and want to ###### at ########. I typically don't use #### language, but this really ##### my ####!





Just getting creative with the pound (#) key if you haven't figgur'd it out :wub: .

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