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Sissonne/Kitri Jump


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What is the actual and official term for the big Sissonne-esque jumps in Kitri's castanet variation? Assemblé sissonne with back leg in jaw dropping kick the back of your head attitude. I feel like teachers all have a different name for it. Also, what are the mechanics of that jump, exercises that lead up to a more soaring height, higher back leg, and less awkward feeling. For some reason, I fall apart when it comes to this big jump. It feels so insanely awkward like I'm barely 3 inches off the ground, my legs aren't open into a beautiful enough split, and that back leg is definitely no where near as high as it needs to be. It also feels like my shoulders are crowding up-up into a very ugly Quasimodo shrug.


If anyone has any advice about what can be done to lead up to a more graceful "Kitri" jump, I would be so grateful. Normal sissonne ouverte and ferme are not really a problem (except that sissonne fermes look unpointed on me because of my ugly feet). Normal saut de chats are also nicely open into basically a split. This jump is just the bane of my existance!

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Because it's a demi-character combination, there's no actual technical name for it. What you've put here is an acceptable description of what happens, but written-out nomenclature can go only so far. That's why dancers fall back on marking while saying, "this thing". It's choreographic, for use onstage.


As with any large jump, it is essential to take off from a deep demi-plié and to maintain a well-pulled-up body.

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Wow, yeah, I guess this jump is also a beast to other dancers too. I have a particularly deep plié, which helps with my normal sissonnes (they're quite high), but when it comes to this one I think that it's also an issue with back flexibility. I really feel it when trying to get that attitude derriere up. Normally, my regular attitude and grand battement derrieres are average anyway, so perhaps that's part of the problem. I have a feeling I'm over-thinking it. That coupled with the feeling of, "Oh crap.. after this comes turning, grande battements, and at least two more of the same jump rapid-fire!!!" It almost feels like after the assemblé, the energy to continue on for me is getting smothered somewhere and so the "Kitri-jump" itself fizzles and doesn't happen. :) I'm thinking that maybe the plié after assemblé needs to not get stagnant, and I have to find a way to prevent it. (Stagnant pliés? haha)


Thanks for linking me to that thread! It was interesting to see other dancers' imagery for trying to achieve this jump. I was slightly confused as to which variation the original poster was talking about as the Tavern variation de entreé involves a fan, no sissonnes (especially in the ending), but it does have lots of whacking the stage (which I love... Sassy!). Then there's the variation I'm talking about with the castañetas, but that ends with a series of really fast pirouettes from 5th en diagonale. It's lead me to believe that Kitri, like Odette/Odile, is a ridiculously killer role for the poor principal dancer that gets the opportunity to portray her. :)

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Hi! The original dance I did was my teacher's own, and had nothing to do with Don Q. I have however learned and taught the Kitri variations. Need to run now, but more later!

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Sorry for taking a while to get back to you. When I learned/did this, I was more flexible than I am now, but I've never been super flexible. I can think of two things right now:


Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm - the timing of the assemble into the sissonne needs to be bouyant, rebounding, etc. Some people feel like working on a trampoline helps just for feeling, although I've never done that. I remember feeling like the only jump was the sissonne -- in other words, the assemble before it was so much a part of getting there that it wasn't separate.


Length - I know when I first tried this I was trying so hard to Get. Leg. Up. Bend. Back. that the whole effect was too 'curved' and didn't allow me to get off the ground (because I was trying so hard to bend back), and made the whole thing look short and stilted. Lengthen the back leg more than you think, and reach up and *slightly* back - it actually doesn't need to be that far! Your leading leg going forward enhances how 'back' you look. Reach gently back and think of you back leg lengthening out, up, and *over* your head instead of to it.


You probably know all this already - these were the two things that I think helped me. Oh, and Gina Ness' comment of having weight in the arms, in the other thread.

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Actually, I'm trying super hard to get the back leg up, like you said, as well as trying very much to bend backwards. It's making me feel like gravity's pulling me back down, and I feel... I don't know how to describe it. This sound effect is pretty all encompassing though: "Huurrrrnnnggh!!!"


I already have awful back flexibility. You know that thing people do (discussed widely on the board as rather useless) where they prop their leg up into arabesque on the barre, cambré backwards? I'm the one that's standing straight up and jerking backwards like a seizure victim trying to cambré. I can't help but feel this is one of the many factors making my Kitri-sissone so awkward.


I'll attempt the slight back with leg lengthening and just go for air to see how it looks. Problem 2.) I can't really see how I look in this jump in the mirror either! haha, maybe it's for the best.

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