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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Training Question


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I am currently in a teaching analysis course at my university training program and an interesting comment was made today.


We were discussing grand plié and another student said she had heard of men doing grand plié on one leg. She said that the person she heard this from said it was for the purpose of building great strength which makes some sense. However, I had never heard of this until today. Has anyone else heard of this or done it themselves?

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I’d really like to see that!


Back in my weightlifting days we used to do these little “show off” exercises. One was a one legged squat. It was always done on a bench and was really difficult. Balance was a big problem and with practice you could improve that aspect of it. Still it was difficult and when others would try it, at least the first few times they would fail.


But a one legged grand plie! Yes, a true test of strength, but more so a test of balance and flexibility. I would be very impressed. A new ballet step—a grand fondu

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Never heard of it before and don't see the point. But I do see a very great potential for injury, and for that reason I would not give it in class or do it if I were a student in a class.

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Never heard of it - never seen it. And I've been in this business a long time.


I think I'd run - not walk - run from someone asking me to do that. I can't see the benefit, only the potential for great harm.



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  • 2 months later...

Never heard of such a thing and it sounds dangerous. I have heard however like Garyecht said, a one legged squat. Which from a normal point of view (normal being a person that doesn't do ballet) it might seem very similar to "a grand plie on one leg". I have heard that dancers from National Ballet of Cuba use the one legged squat exercise without weights to strengthen their gluteus medius. And I have a ballet friend that does that exercise in physical therapy.

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I think it wouldn't be a good idea because of the potential for a twist on the knee due to the turnout.


But I cant resist showing off - because I did my first one-legged squats a few days ago (right down and right up again, a few times) - and I am not at all strong (and 65 yrs old, and carrying more kilos than when young). How? It was at a training weekend - the lesson is interesting - it was entirely due to programming the movement properly. Starting with 2 legged squats (in parallel of course), done very slowly and with full awareness. Then some one-legged squats, again very slowly and with full awareness, holding the top end of a walking stick (bottom end on the ground) to provide some support and minimal balance. Then once the feeling is programmed into the muscles, go without support - and hey presto! Shows its more a matter of control than of actual strength. A very interesting lesson. If only I could apply it to other things, such as multiple pirouettes.



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That is exactly how multiple pirouettes work--to do more than two or three, it helps a great deal to be able to control your balance without turning first. My pirouettes improved a great deal around the same time I started being able to do promenades on demi-pointe without a second thought.


Another option is to be born with wide feet; that seems to work well, too! :)

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Jimpickles--I'll disagree with you on one thing you said. I think anyone who can do a one leg squat has strong legs no matter how old or how many extra kilos he or she may have. I remember 10 years ago I could do them, even holding a weight, but now I can't. Once I hit the bottom of the squat it's as if a truck was pushing me down. Keep doing them. As I said they are a great show off exercise I think and I'm a big fan of show off things. It's always good to differentiate yourself from others.


In follow up to what Hans said, I always associated pirouettes with promenades. As my promenades got better so too did my pirouettes. As with one legged squats, I assume it was a matter of increased balance and control as well as familiarity with the movement.

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