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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Arabesque


dancepig

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Ms. Leigh, thank you for calling out that 'arabesque'. I call them 'a la second-bests'. But they're not even second best! They are just... not anything! There are a few performers who I feel use these regularly, and it annoys me to no end!

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Thanks for all of the great imagery, it really helps! :thumbsup: I really didnt notice some of the girls weight being too far back until it was pointed out, but I think that is something I am often guilty of myself, so its especially useful for me..

 

I do want to mention that I am not at all a fan of an arabesque/secabesque as seen in the Vaganova picture, I just wanted to use it as a demonstration of the kind of totally straight back I was referring to in my previous post.

 

I still am a bit curious as to the appearance of length of the segment of the body above the arch in the back. Do some peoples backs simply arch from a higher point on their torso, leading to the appearance of a shorter top segment? Or does a shorter torso itself lead to this appearance? I sometimes notice that even in pictures of the Vaganova students doing cambre back, which they can all do to a quite extreme level, it appears as though some girls bend from right above the pelvis, and others from the middle of the back... :shrug:

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I still am a bit curious as to the appearance of length of the segment of the body above the arch in the back. Do some peoples backs simply arch from a higher point on their torso, leading to the appearance of a shorter top segment? Or does a shorter torso itself lead to this appearance? I sometimes notice that even in pictures of the Vaganova students doing cambre back, which they can all do to a quite extreme level, it appears as though some girls bend from right above the pelvis, and others from the middle of the back... :shrug:

 

The important thing to keep in mind in dance is that taste is subjective and all bodies are not going to look the same doing the same movement due to structural differences, both in solid mass like bones as well as musculature and connective tissue. There are going to be varying differences in the amount of space between vertebrae even though we all possess the same number. Some dancers are very good at using imagery to lengthen upwards and downward using opposition. How high the illiac crests are also come into play- if they are a good distance from the lower ribs, the torso will be able to bend more because there is space for it to do so. The degree of being able to release the fused sacral bones in the lower spine also allows for more freedom within the movement of arabesque- this accounts for more movement in the lower spine/bending right at the place where the pelvis and spine come together(Julliard anatomist Irene Dowd gave a week-long workshop focusing on arabesque at the 2005 National Ballet School's teaching seminar in Toronto).

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I am struggling to get a well-placed IV arabesque fondue. I always feel as if I twist more than I should in order to get the arms right :shrug: .

 

Can anyone give me some suggestions on how the position of the shoulders and the hips should "feel"? I hope I am making some sense here... If anyone can suggest a reference picture of a correct arabesque of this kind I'll also be sempiternally grateful (haven't been able to find one yet)!

 

Thank you.

 

Edited to add: I hope it is ok to leave this post in this thread - even if it is more specific?

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Holly Golightly,

 

See if you can get your hands on Gretchen Ward Warren's book, Classical Ballet Technique. See pg. 49 as it gives both a profile as well as frontal view of Russian fourth arabesque. As is suggested in the book, if you keep the shoulders parallel with the floor, you will avoid the tilt of the upper body over the supporting leg.

 

When in 4th arabesque, I personally attempt to feel the most expansive amount of space from the finger tips of the downstage arm through the toes of the working leg. By keeping the ribcage over the working leg as described above, in addition to the spiral of the spine, one works the upper body and lower body in opposition both through the frontal and lateral planes of the body.

 

If properly placed, fourth arabesque in fondu should just be an extension of the original position adding the plie and attempting to add more breath and depth to the movement(because you would rarely hold that as a position for any length of time, there would usually be a connecting step of some sort following it, perhaps pas de bourree en tournant).

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