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La_Bailarina

Tips for getting a higher passé/retiré?

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La_Bailarina

My ballet teachers this semester have more or less collectively declared war on my passé--they want it higher than I'm getting it. Right now, I'm well placed with my toe just beneath my knee cap but definitely have the flexibility to get it well above that--they want it above my knee. Part of the battle is the fact that, because of my hip problems, I spent three years working in coupé because I couldn't go through passé--so it's a muscle memory thing in terms of getting it up automatically. But I'm also definitely lacking in the strength to get it there--I start griping in my hip flexors instead, which is the absolute last thing I need. Any helpful hints?

 

Thanks!

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Mel Johnson

Beware of the "war" metaphor. If you want to get retirés higher, it's slow and steady. Easy does it. I don't know what your teachers are going for asking for a retiré above the knee; I know of no classical position like that.

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Victoria Leigh

La Bailarina, I am in total agreement with Mr. Johnson. The classical retiré position is right at knee height, if the leg is a bit more side than front and under the knee cap, but it is NEVER on the thigh. Above the knee would put it on the thigh. That position is not only incorrect, it is not even attractive! It breaks the line, and almost no one can do it without a sickle foot. Baaaaaad. Try moving your foot slightly more side of the knee, and that makes a really good line if you have the rotation to do that. It will look high enough. :speechless:

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La_Bailarina

This may be a case of my being over-corrected so that I will achieve the desired result--while they are asking for higher passé from nearly everyone, in my case it might have been more of a "aim for above your knee" that I'm misinterpreting. At any rate, I'm well aware that my passé is lower than it should be and I'm having difficulty maintaining anything higher.

 

Thanks again

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Clara 76

LaB-

Until the hip rotation issue is correctly addressed, your retiré will not be placed properly.

 

If I were your teacher I'd be more concerned that you were developing the strength to hold your rotation correctly than I would be worried about retiré position. It will come along as the control improves. This means that temporarily, your pirouettes will be off because you're adjusting to different muscles working for the first time.

 

Quite honestly, what would be in your best interest would be to take some low level classes where you can just concentrate on working the rotation correctly. Once that is in place, then you should progress quickly from there!

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La_Bailarina

Thank you Clara. We've been working on my rotation issues a lot lately as well and they have been improving, as have my hyperextension control issues. I'm taking a lower level class, in addition to my own, this semester and that's actually where this correction originated--then my other teachers started noticing it as well. I have the rotation when in retiré, it's the height of it that I'm really struggling with.

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Victoria Leigh

I have a feeling that your teachers are asking for it higher than it should be. :) Can you get it to right at knee height, like just to the side of the knee, which is about equal with a millimeter or two higher than under the kneecap?

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L' Allegro

I have a quick question... I heard that in some Balanchine ballets the retire does go above the knee... is this true? Or am I misunderstanding???

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Victoria Leigh

No, not misunderstanding. It does. But, I think that those are very contemporary, or at least very Balanchine, style works, not classical.

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L' Allegro

oh ok! Thanks!

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La_Bailarina

I think the Balanchine style might be part of the problem--that's the style that two out of my three ballet teachers are trained in and tend towards in class, these two are the ones that are also asking for the higher position (the third, Vaganova influenced, hasn't pushed for it to be much higher than it is).

 

It's any higher than the under the kneecap that's the problem--even if it's just barely level with the kneecap, I really struggle maintaining the position. Maybe it's also a crossed vs. to the side dilemma? With it placed beneath the knee, I'm sure I tend to over cross more than would be desirable but, when to the side, I'm striving ore for the toe right at the side of the leg?

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Victoria Leigh

Well, that's a little hard to specify. It's more side than under the knee, but not so much side that it is almost back. Does that make any sense?

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La_Bailarina

Yes, it does. Thank you Ms. Leigh.

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Ballet Bunnie

Yeah, one of mine teacher also declared a war against our passé heights... Luckily, I wasn't alone. She told us that most Cuba trained dancers have really high passés. And another girl in our class who was trained in Japan also has amazingly high passé (it looks like humanly impossible!!!!) . I don't know how she does it, but it really looks good...

So, recently, during a passé/retiré, our teacher told us to flex our feet, lift our thigh, and point our feet again to get a higher passé... Currently not working so well for me...

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