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Ballet Talk for Dancers

1st arabesque arms


SewRibbons

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I did a photo session with DD last night to try to get a decent 1st arabesque photo for her upcoming SI auditions. We don't do professional photos for this and don't have the support of her studio, so its just me and my point & shoot camera. We have a few finalist pictures and will try to choose the best one from those.

 

I noticed, though, that DD's "back" arm is really to her side. As a result, the arm and hand are coming right at the camera which makes the arm look funny. In some of the photos, I got a better angle, so you could see the arm, but it still not as nice of a look from that angle as when the back arm is more, well, "back", making a line with the arabesque leg. I am wondering what is the correct line for the 2nd arm in 1st arabesque. DD said that they are supposed to keep it to the side and that only more advanced levels move it back. Does that sound right? I am kicking myself that I didn't have her try a few yesterday with her arm back and I don't know if I'll have an opportunity to take more photos.

 

Also, is the best line the ones where the back is the most vertical. She has some where I feel the body is leaning too far forward. When I look at some ballet photos on the internet, though, a lot have the have the body way forward. I am getting so that I can't tell anymore what looks good and what is not correct alignment.

 

Thanks.

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What your daughter says about the arm does sound normal. First arabesque is often taught that way in the beginning to help the students keep their shoulders placed correctly. Once the dancers have solid upper body placement, the arm gets moved back more, a little behind where second position would be. It is still very much to the side, but it creates the illusion of being farther back to make a nice line with the leg. Perhaps her teacher could help her with placement of the arms just for the photo so the side arm does not appear to be out of proportion?

 

As far as placement of the back goes, that depends a bit on the style of arabesque and teacher/AD preferences. I would say that it is standard to expect dancers to be able to do a 90 degree arabesque with a very upright back around the intermediate levels. If the leg is higher, sometimes you can get away with a more curved line to the back, as long as the upper back and chest are still upright and the dancer has her abdominal muscles pulled in and up and she is lifting and lengthening her lower back rather than sinking down into it. You'd probably want to get a teacher to look at this as well because everyone's body is different, so a particular line might look good on your daughter that might be a little different from the "textbook" standard. Without seeing her, I can't really say what the most flattering line would be for her.

 

Edit: Sorry, I re-read your post and saw that you do not have the opportunity to work with a teacher on this one. My best guess is to try and choose a photo where her arm is a little bit more back (but not so far that her shoulders are open and it turns into a "seco-besque") and I would go for the more upright back as long as her leg is at least 90 degrees.

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