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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Help With Arms


sugarplumfairy_caroline

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When I'm in class concentrating, usually at the barre, I get very concentrated on my legs and midsection and I forget about my arms. They always get very tense. Sometimes I think they're fine but then my teacher comments on them and they look extremely strange and stiff! And my fingers are probably the most un-delicate I have ever seen. Once I did a whole combination with my fingers looking like they were glued together. I didn't notice until someone pointed it out. :blushing: What can I do to relax my arms so they don't take away from my improving footwork?

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Work on them separately, at home, or in the studio by yourself. Learn how to support them from your back muscles and motivate the movements of the arms from the back muscles. Use music, and also use your upper body and head. Do not lock any joints, like the elbow or wrist. Let the arms feel supported but free, flowing, moving not putting.

 

When you have achieved this feeling, consistently, then gradually introduce some lower body work along with it until you can coordinate everything together. You have to remember than dance is a whole body thing, not a leg thing or a foot thing, or even a step thing. It's about movement. Breathing and also learning how to use patterns of energy in the movements helps a lot.

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I have the exact same problem! For the past two years, teachers have told me to soften my arms every where I go! I try to, but then I forget about it. I used to not have this problem! Has anyone had this problem and grown out of it?

 

Thanks

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You don't "grow" out of it. You learn to use your port de bras as a part of the movement and motivated from your back muscles. This happens from first a knowledge of what it should look like, and then a LOT of practice.

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Something a teacher told me years ago has really helped me use my back muscles in port de bras: when you move your arm feel as if you are leading with your pinky finger. The only problem with this is that if you overdo it your hands end up looking a little funny. The key word is to feel as if you are leading with your pinky, without actually distorting your hand.

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