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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Petit Allegro


BalletMac

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This is a question that I had been thinking about for some time, but I just can't get my mind wrapped around it. I have a teacher who has the habit of giving a petit allegro at a slower speed then speeding it up to a very fast speed. The one problem that I am having though is that I feel like when it gets that fast I simply can't keep up. It is not that I can't keep up because I don't know the combination, but rather that when it is time for the next step I am still in the air. I don't know if height is part of it, I am 6 foot 3, but it seems that the shorter people can do it fine. I have tried jumping lower to accommodate the speed, but when I do this it looks as though I am not really jumping. I have also heard of trying to "jump down", but that doesn't really make sense. I suppose the question that I have is when does it become physically impossible for a person to keep up, not because of an ignorance of the combination, but because of height and the increased time it takes to get up and come down?

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While it may seem impossible because of your height it is not. Speed and musicality may be a part of the answer. In petit allegro, for any body type, you need to get to the top of the jump as quick as possible. Fast, fast, fast. no waiting on the ground at all. You will need to only jump at a height the music will allow which is why you need to get into the air quickly. Think of it this way: If you have one count to execute a jump and you spend 1/2 the count on the ground you can only spend 1/2 the count in the air. Now if you spend 1/8 the count on the ground you then have 7/8 the count to be in the air which will allow a bit more height. Even if you must lower your jump as compared to a grande allegro combination, getting to the position at the top of the jump quickly will make the jump seem higher.

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Full agreement here. I would also add that you might want to consider which steps you can take time away from in order to give more time to others. For example, do you really need to spend one whole count on a glissade? Do it faster and then you will have more time for the assemble (or whatever the step is).

 

Also, these fast petit allegro combinations are not necessarily about jumping high--they are often more about the control and use of the foot against the floor (tacqueterie, which seems to be something of a lost art these days).

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Thank you very much the replies. I have really started thinking about the rhythm and how that affects the time that should be spent on the ground vs air and it seems to really help. One step that I have a habit of spending too much time on is glissade. I had tried to remedy this by really focusing on the ending as you pull the leg back under you, rather than just letting it lag behind. I found that focusing on pulling it in makes the glissade more active, but also faster.

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Another thing that might help--in extremely fast petit allegro combinations, don't travel during the glissade--just do it right under yourself. It makes it easier to pull the second leg in, and at that speed, no one will notice the lack of traveling (since you wouldn't travel much anyway).

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Not traveling so much is definitely something that I have been working on in extremely fast petit allegro combinations. I have tried to focus on this in glissade, but also in all the different steps so as to better stay with the music.

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Thanks for all the help. The teacher has a Balanchine background, so it can get really fast, and it is particularly apparent in petit allegro. Thanks again!

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  • 6 months later...

The trick (as my Teacher tells me) is to get all the way into your plie no matter how fast it is which can be really hard, especially if you have a deep plie

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I am going say that ...it is harder if you are taller...but not because of the jumping. The fact of the matter is, that if your legs are longer, and your feet are bigger, your toes definitely have a further distance to travel: for example, as your foot moves throught tendu to the side as you exectule glissade, it will travel further than mine will (I'm 5'5" and have tiny feet). It isn't impossible for someone your side to develop a lightning quick petite allegro, but it is definitely harder. You are on the right track. Keep working.

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