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Ballet Talk for Dancers

"Winging" feet all the time?


lilcris

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I have been working on my form on tendues/degages/etc. to the back, as I tend to sickle if I'm not careful. On Friday, my instructor showed me how to slightly wing my foot in a tendu to be back in the same way I've been taught to wing my foot to finish the line of an arabesque. She also said that you can wing your foot the same way at any time, whether you're executing a tendu to the side or the front. She showed me how it emphasizes the line of the instep. I was just wondering if winging is common practice, a style thing, or completely wrong technique. This particular instructor studied Vaganova, if that makes a difference.

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Victoria Leigh

lilcris, a correctly pointed foot is not a "winged" foot. However, when correcting a sickle, it might feel like the foot is winging. Don't forget that the foot is connected to the leg. A leg correctly rotated, with as much rotation as one has, should not sickle if you have learned how to pointe it correctly.

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I don't always sickle, just when I'm not careful or when I'm trying something difficult. The winging comment was not really a correction of my sickle, just a side note. She talked about winging slightly to change the look of the line and she said that many dancers wing their feet slightly in tendus to the back and some even do so to the side and front. I was just wondering how prevalent or "correct" that practice is.

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If they make a conscious decision to wing their feet, then they are not correctly pointing to begin with. Ballet is all about efficient movement, so if you're pointing your foot a certain way, why would you take the time (innefficient) to change to a wing?

 

What people need to understand is that the fully pointed and shaped foot in sur le-cou-de-pied wrapped position is the one correct pointe.

 

When you actually wing a foot you are moving it away from fully pointed to a modified position to cheat the line, whereas if we just go back to the basics we can get that beautifully shaped foot by pointing correctly.

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LaFilleSylphide

How does one wing the foot to the side? I can't visualize that really.

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I suppose you would wing your foot to emphasize your instep and to continue the line of the leg when working to the back.

 

So winging is always bad form? Why do so many pros wing their feet in an arabesque? Maybe I just don't understand the concept?

 

@LaFilleSylphide: Point your foot as you normally would, then push your ankle in just slightly. This link explains the concept my teacher was pointing out: http://ballet.isport.com/ballet-guides/how...-foot-in-ballet

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Miss Persistent
So winging is always bad form? Why do so many pros wing their feet in an arabesque? Maybe I just don't understand the concept?

 

It's a funny concept lilcris, and I don't think you'll get a consensus from teachers! There are lots of different opinions on this. To be completely honest, I never teach "winging" as a concept, but often the older students will begin to do it themselves just through observation of others or photos etc. If it's just an extra extension through the arch then I don't usually correct it, however if there is any contraction in the ankle or it the muscles under the feet then that IS bad technique, and it will end up leading you to injury because your foot is no longer working in the alignment and way it should.

 

Why do Pro's wing? I would add to that why do pro's sometimes open the hip line more than you've been taught, or throw that arm up higher in arabesque, or all the other its and pieces that they do because they're pro's... Maybe the style warrented it, or maybe just cause they're pro's, and they've kinda earnt the right to do it :yucky:

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Victoria Leigh

That extra little bit of heel forward can be done with an extra little bit of rotation of the leg, not changing the shape of the foot.

 

Why do Pro's wing? I would add to that why do pro's sometimes open the hip line more than you've been taught, or throw that arm up higher in arabesque, or all the other bits and pieces that they do because they're pro's... Maybe the style warrented it, or maybe just cause they're pro's, and they've kinda earnt the right to do it :)

 

While I agree that those things do happen, I'm afraid I will have to take issue with the last part of the quote. I do not feel that pros earn the right to work incorrectly, for any reason. Lifted hips, legs not behind in arabesque and winged feet are not, IMO, acceptable for anyone. :yucky:

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Very interesting! Thanks so much for the information. I probably misunderstood at least part of what my instructor was trying to say - I'll have to revisit the question with her later this week. :)

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Miss Persistent
I do not feel that pros earn the right to work incorrectly, for any reason. Lifted hips, legs not behind in arabesque and winged feet are not, IMO, acceptable for anyone. :pinch:

 

My apologies Ms Leigh, I did not mean for my post to come across that way.

 

My intention was to say that sometimes, for particular reasons a proffesional dancer may take for example, a very high arabesque line with the arm, far higher that I would ever teach a students. This may be for stylist or choreographic reasons, and is not incorrect, but is appropriate in their situation. By saying 'opening the hip line' I did not mean lifting the hip or distorting the position of the leg in releation to the body, I simply meant that sometimes, again for various reason they may work with a more open hip line - say for a neo classical piece that calls for it. Or if a choregorapher asked for a penche but with the back lowered to a flat line instead of retaining the lift in the sternum, it would be the same thing. It is not what i would 'technically' teach the students, but it is appropriate in that situation because as they work in that company or piece as it is what was asked for. I hope that makes sense - as you say lifting the hip is horrible and never ok!

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