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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Landing on two feet


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:D Having started somewhere new due to a move, I'm having some concerns about some things, was hoping for some input to clarify.

This class is labeled as Intermediate. There have been two things that are corrected frequently about doing sissone forward and back on the diagonal about landing on two feet. This normally would be an exercise I excel at, good at throwing my legs in the air and using my flexibility and I do really love to jump.. but there's no way in heck I'm getting both legs in at the same time, I've tried to downsize my jump until I can get them together at once but not having sufficient strength for it, it tends to cause some pain in the sciatic region.. I'm not sure what to do exactly.

Then the other day, was told glissade should be (used in the context of a tombe pas de bourree glissade assemble type situation) also landed on two feet.. the best I could figure was a very sprightly jump with the focus on the springing out, but I'm also at a loss.

Help :rolleyes:

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It sounds to me as though you're trying to put more "jump" into the steps than is necessary. My teaching is the Sissonne fermée should only move about the length of your shin. Also, the feet don't actually land together, as in an Assemblé, but instead, the working foot sort of slides into the demi on the landing. As for the Glissade - that is a gliding step (Glissade means to glide), unless it's a Grande Glissade?. :rolleyes:

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Guest Pas de Quoi

You're not crazy. Both these steps are landed on one foot and then the other is brought in.


Here is what Gretchen Ward Warren states in the book, "Classical Ballet Technique", about glissade de coté dessus toward the front foot: "From 5th plié ... Extend front leg to the side, staying in plié. Arms open sideways. Strongly stretch both legs, pushing body upward and to the side, with toes barely leaving the floor. Arms continue to lift to the side with intake of breath. Transfer weight to the side onto the leading leg into plié. The other leg remains stretched, toe on floor, in 2nd. Slide leg in and close front into 5th plié, lowering arms en bas."


Here is the explanation of Sissonne fermée croisé en avant according to this author: "Jump from 5th croisé, executing a strong grand battement to 3rd arabesque with the back leg, reaching forward with the front foot, and traveling en avant en l'air. Both legs spring outward simultaneously, without a brush. .... Land on the front leg, immediately closing the arabesque leg to 5th plié in back. There should be no delay. The closing should appear to be almost simultaneous with the landing.


There is one teacher I know of who teaches in the Balanchine style who insists on the "landing on two feet" concept. I think it makes these otherwise elegant steps look brittle and choppy - but that is just me ..... :rolleyes:

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For the sissonne, assuming you are traveling en avant, try focusing less on raising the back leg and more on extending the front leg forward. This should help give your jump more of a 'floating' quality as well as make it easier to bring the back leg down faster. For the glissade, it sounds as if you are not bringing the second leg in quickly enough (similar to the sissonne problem). This can lead to unpleasant consequences such as making the glissade appear to be 'going over a hill' and seeming larger than the jump that follows. What you want is a glissade that provides just enough spring so that you can bounce back up and fly into the next jump. Think about the mechanics of what is going on--typically when you end a glissade and go into the next step, you are jumping off of the second leg to close in the glissade. If you don't bring it in soon enough, you spend more time in plié and cannot rebound as easily into the next jump. Try focusing on pushing off that second leg in order to get back up into the air.

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Thank you for the comments. I am not receiving these corrections directly, it's aimed at everyone. I am fairly certain in my ability to do a glissade.. there have been some good corrections but I am having some general concerns otherwise. I was feeling doubtful after hearing these things that I have known to work one way for many years being taught differently. Maybe something is getting lost in translation when the teacher is trying to explain what is wanted from us.


Edited to revise, not that I'm an expert or can do anything perfectly! The more I think on it, I believe the intention might line up to what I understand as how things work - but when the communication is something that doesn't make a lot of sense mechanically, it's causing some distress. I always try to implement these comments to the best of my ability. I guess I'm also a little concerned about the younger/less experienced classmates.

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Hi, this "landing on two feet" issue, were you refering to sissone or assemble?

I'm RAD-trained, and here's what they have taught me to do.

Sissone is a jump from 2 to 1, meaning you push both feet in a plie, then jump, and land one 1 foot.

In the case of "sissone fermee", you close the working leg as soon as after you land, but not at the same time as you land. So the working leg catches up with the supporting leg in plie position.

In the case of "sissone ouvert into arabesque or attitude or cou-de-pied", the working leg must then stay in the intended position.

Assemble is a jump from 1 to 2, meaning you glide your working leg out, while plie-ing on the supporting leg, then jump, then in the air you bring your legs together (closing in 5th position in the air) and land on both feet.

I always tell my students to have a feeling like "engulfing" something with their legs in the air, so that they can do a nice big assemble, close in 5th in the air, and land.

Apart of that, when a jump is from 2 to 2, it's called Saute, and a jump from 1 to 1 is called Temp leve.

Hope it helps.

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Thanks, I do know of the differences :wub:

As a youngster I did Cecchetti with exams until 13, came back as an adult for about 5 years now. So, I am pretty aware of these steps in their standard form. Hence the great unsettling of being asked to land on two feet..

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I think I'm going to chalk this up to style difference and maybe not the best wording for what's being looked for and leave it that.

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I think you're probably right with the wording thing (not on your part, but maybe on your teachers...). Sometimes, us teachers are prone to hyperbole -- we need to *overemphasize* so our students *go beyond* what they think is necessary, and actually then end up at the right place. I see this all the time with my own students in university. And, with my own teacher. Last summer he actually took me aside and said that he was overemphasizing some corrections for the benefit of others and that I was taking them way too literally! From what you said above, it sounds like it's a matter of timing. This could be perhaps, a larger issue for you, since from your posts you seem to be very hypermobile? The closing on these jumps should be fast -- especially, as Hans said, if you're moving on to another jump, right? Another teacher once had us do an entire glissade exercise where we focused on the accent of the second foot.... It was fun, you could play around with the 'feeling' of the glissade, lightly gliding, etc... or being more snappy and really emphasizing the closing of that second foot. Does that make sense?

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I don't know if it even was supposed to apply to me, it was all in general explanations of the exercise.. I think I lost a little trust in the comments when things weren't being called the right names all the time and mentions of tucking under for alignment. :P I think it would be better for me to look around for someone new.

I have worked on glissades quite a bit trying to achieve that soft supple footwork in slower movements but not focused on the faster ones since I was a kid, that would be an interesting exercise! It may very well apply that I could do to quicken the second leg in both jumps - I do know that I'm always fighting to control the throwing leg in something like a large sissone, this definitely can lead to (especially going backwards) a leg stuck in molasses. :wink:

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I hear this correction a lot in classes as well. I think it helps to focus on the "down" part of the movement in glissade and sissone. Since they're by nature connecting steps, I've found that it's much easier to perform them quickly by thinking of the fifth position plie, rather than the part of the step in the air.


For quick sequential glissades for example, I think, 5th, 5th, 5th. It really gets those inner thigh muscles active:)

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