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Difficulty piqueing onto pointe


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So...I am having a hard time piqueing onto pointe, particularly into an arabesque...I will feel precarious, nervous, like my foot is too long or my leg too "high"....weird I know...but now I THINK it may have to do with being quite hyperextended in the legs....

Does that make sense? I feel like my hip will go to the side to compensate or I just won't get UP on my platform fully unless I bend my leg.


I just wanted to ask about this to see if it is something that is a little harder when one is hyperextended and what one can do about it if it's true?

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It sounds to me like you have not been taught HOW to piqué onto pointe. You need a demi plié on your push off leg, and you must move your body weight forward enough so that by the time your platform hits the floor your weight is fully on top of it. If you lead with the foot/leg, you won't get there. Lead with the body, the leg will come! :)

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I was taught that pique is done from a plie to a straight leg, not from a plie to a bent leg. The mechanics are very much the same whether done en flat or en pointe. I think feeling like your leg has to go to the side, being nervous, or not being fully on your leg or platform has less to do with pointe shoes and more to do with habits in technique. I think pointe shoes may exaggerate existing technique issues.


Sometimes it can be scary to pique en pointe but if your teacher has let you do it in class then they must feel like you are ready. So try to go for it. The worst that will happen is that if you go too far forward then you'll get off balance and put the other foot down. Better more forward than back in my humble opinion.

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Practise practise practise at the barre! I find that a lot of students are afraid to let go of the barre and move their hands along to the right place in order to do the step up, so their body doesn't get over the leg quickly enough.


Practise first of all facing the barre stepping out sideways into pose coupe, then practise standing a little away from the barre, facing the barre, and pose into arabesque holding on with both hands. Do the same thing catching the barre with one hand and finally practise sideways to the barre with pose into arabesque. Don't forget to let go of the barre and move the hand far enough forward so as to bring your body right over the leg.


Also of course do exactly what Ms Leigh wrote - use the fondu on the supporting leg to push you off into the pose in arabesque (that's a pose with an accent, which I still haven't learnt to do and it means step up!). Working with the barre helps you learn to keep square on the pique - especially sideways where if you step on the outside leg, you have to keep the leg in arabesque behind you, or you'll get hit by the barre! And whatever you do DON'T bend the leg that you're stepping on to. NO, NO, NO!!!!!!! :)

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It sounds like you're nervous. I used to do this, particularly on my left leg, which was weaker. My teacher always told me that it's actually harder work to pique on to a bent leg - once you get the habit of pique-ing on to a straight leg you'll find it's much easier.

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It would help a lot if people would stop teaching piqué, as in a piqué turn, by starting with the leg going sideways and the body facing front. If you are moving on a diagonal, which is usually the way it is done, or in a circle, you should be stepping on a leg that is in front of you and you are facing where you are going. Starting the students in a tendu croisé devant and then allowing them to step to the side, instead of turning to face where they are going, makes the piqué not only awkward, but turned in. :(

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