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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Head, arms, and so on...


Ballet Bunnie

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Hi, Ms. Leigh! Sorry for the late reply. I was sick and overwhelmed by my workload.

My teacher told us that we should "save our head" as we were talking to the audience as we turn around and do a tour jete. But after reading your description, I understand that "spotting" in this case is just purely for aesthetic purpose, right? Does it mean that I don't need to leave my head to the front as long as an actual "spot" so I can actually see the direction of travel?

Thank you again, Ms. Leigh for your help!

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Read it again. I'm saying don't leave your head and there is no real spot involved. Look where you are traveling, and then when you jump look to where you are going.

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  • 2 months later...

Update: I got a praise last week from an ex-boston ballet soloist saying that I have a really good tour jete, and I was just floating up in the air~ Yay!

 

Another question: How to reduce the tension in the fingers but keeping the energy?

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Very good that you received a compliment on your grand jeté en tournant entrelacé. :P

 

As for the fingers, if you are using your back muscles to movtivate your port de bras, then you do not need to hold any tension in the fingers to maintain the energy flow. Keep the wrist relaxed and the energy will go all the way through the fingers but without excess tension. If the wrist has tension, the fingers have tension.

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That's relaxed in distinction from tensed or locked. Actually, the advice extends up the whole forearm, which is not easy to accomplish when you're doing something which requires a lot of exertion. It's an exercise in isolation.

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By relaxed I mean that it still has energy because it is a part of the whole movement and port de bras. There is a big difference between a dropped wrist and one that is relaxed enough to have movement in the joint. There has to be energy flowing throughout the body to the arms and feet and beyond, otherwise they would either be rigid or totally "dead". Excess tension causes rigidity, relaxation with no energy causes total flopping. In other words, the wrist must have freedom of movement and not be held rigid.

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I see... I have been traveling back and forth between the two extremes -- before, it was dropped wrists; and now the problem is from too much tension from rotating the wrists!

Thank you, Ms. Leigh! :ermm:

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  • 1 month later...

I have another question regarding my arms:

One teacher at my SI told me that I should add a bit accent to my arms. She said they look too mechanical for now, and would like me to add my "personal touch" of my arms by making the elbows softer. I understand what she wants me to do, but the soft elbow thing just doesn't look good in my opinion. I am not a very big fan on dropped elbows in any situation... The teacher said that "dropped elbow" might be a good thing to do occasionally, as long as I am aware of my elbow movements. But I am not very convinced. So, is soft elbow thing a necessary thing to do? Or are there other ways to add accent to the arms? Thanks!

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Ballet Bunnie, good port de bras requires a knowledge of how soft is too soft and how straight is too straight. Students need teachers to guide them in this area. It could take years to get. Speak with your teacher at home about your concerns. Perhaps your teacher at home will work with you to help you to understand. It should not be your opinion about it right now. You need guidance and good teaching.

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Thank you, Vrsfanatic! I will check with my home teacher for help. I am actually thinking about joining the SI studio's year round program, so maybe that will be even better!

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  • 1 month later...

Another question is in~! regarding the accent of rond de jambe a terre:

I have been told told by one teacher saying that the accent of rond de jambe should be the the beginning of the actual "rond de jambe" part (right after brushing to tendu). Another teacher said that in lower levels the accent should be on hitting 1st position, but higher levels should accent the brushing of the feet to work the ankles.

Is this another "teacher's preference" thing again? Or is there a preferable way to accent rond de jambes? Thanks!

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I guess I think of it as accenting the beat in the music. "And uh 1, and uh 2 etc."

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I think that after the beginning levels, where rond de jambe à terre is done in 4 measures with the accent on the front, the side, the back, and first (or back, side, front, first for en dedans), that the accent can be done several ways. I often use two measures, accenting the front and the back, and then go to one measure with the accent front for en dehors and back for en dedans. However, sometimes I switch that up and put the en dehors accent at the back and the en dedans at the front. I do this to achieve complete positions for each rond de jambe, as students do tend to cheat them and not make a clean front or back position. That is also why I use the two measures, so that they understand that every time you make a rond de jambe it must be complete to achieve the purpose of the exercise in terms of the rotational work.

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Thank you, Clara and Ms. Leigh!

 

I need to work through my mental block with en dedan... My en dedan are usually too plain compared to my en dehors... :lol:

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