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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A la Seconde Turn Arms


BalletMac

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Being that my regular studio is on holiday this week I took a couple classes at another studio. While doing my a'la seconde turns the teacher said not to hold the arms in a standard second position but just let the palms face down and keep the arms outstretched. Is this just a different style or incorrect form, also, I don't know if this makes any difference, but the teacher is Russian.

 

Mac

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It's a different style. It's good to be able to do it both ways, but the standard position is with the arms rounded, as it sounds like you have been doing.

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Each teacher has their own style. You are expected to follow that teacher's specific style while in their classroom.

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Both the Bolshoi and the Vaganova schools begin teaching tours in 2nd with the arms in 2nd, palms facing the audience, not down. Perhaps this Russian teacher was teaching a more advanced version with the arms. Once students know how to turn with the arms in 2nd, the arms can be anywhere a teacher would like them to be. :(

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And when it comes down to it, in character dances for men, the hands and arms for turns in second are sometimes carried the way you have described.

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I figured it was just a style difference. I can do them both ways so that isn't a problem, just wanted to make sure that I was on the same page.

 

Mac

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Actually, after dancing close to 15 years, I just learned something here :thumbsup: I thought it was connected to the syllabus. Not that it makes all the difference, but hey - now I know that as well!

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There are training reasons why the turn is taught at first with the arms in 2nd rounded palms facing forward. To be honest, I have rarely seen the turn done with the palms facing down, but I have not been in too many men's classes outside of Russia. Choreographically arms can be anywhere once the upper back and coordination have been trained correctly.

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If you ever watch the second "Pink Panther" movie, A Shot in the Dark, the late Norwegian excellent character dancer/actor Tutte Lemkow, playing the Cossack Dancer, does his turns in second like that, spins out, and ends on his knees to accept the glass of vodka placed on the floor. He then keels over, not from the turning - the vodka has been poisoned, and was intended for Inspector Clouseau.

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