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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Help... Low Passe / Retire


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And when I say low, I mean low... Mine looks like pique sometimes. My 'height' usually hovers around mid calf. I can do high-calf (bottom knee) if I pay real attention to it (in adage, for example). But in quick tempo it's not even there!


I am only aiming for mid knee (I hope it's sufficient?) but a constant one despite the tempo.


Is there anything I can do to my joints, maybe? Except practicing retire every day? Also, I am quite overweight, will the fat 'blocks' my knee to go higher?


Thanks in advance!!!

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Is it literally not possible? Or is it just not happening when you're in the middle of dancing? I always aim for above the knee while dancing so it goes to the spot I actually need it to be.

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Guest Pas de Quoi

I suggest you check your alignment and pelvic placement. If there are problems with these (particularly if one is "tucking under"), achieving an optimal retiré height will be much more difficult than it needs to be. You can also work on strengthening your inside thigh muscles and the outside of your hips. The traditional "clam shell" exercise is good for this.


Here is a video that shows well the "drawing up" action of the retiré. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7kPGDp0atQ

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Good video Pas de Quoi. Wish I had something like that when I was learning pirouettes long ago. Thank you for posting it. Anyway, one of the problems I had with pirouettes was raising the foot of the working leg too high, taking the pelvis out of alignment, and consequently destroying the pirouette. When I realized that was the thing goofing me up, I'd lower the height of the retire to well below the knee and most of the time had a marked improvement. Maintaining alignment isn't flashy or sexy. It is vital, however.

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Thanks a lot, PdQ. Yes, my inner thight is quite weak, will try the exercise.


Sylphide, mainly it occurs in the middle of dancing, especially with fast tempo. I am sure the is no 'hardware' issue, as I used to have no probs with my retire when I danced way back then. Hopefully it's (another) flexibility issue....

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It helps me to think of lifting from under the thigh as opposed to just bringing the toe to the knee. This method also helps me to reach the position slightly faster and I feel more stable when I get there because the thigh muscles are engaged. Just be aware that it's easy to let the hip go up if you're not careful, so watch out for that. :)

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If you're planning to keep doing tree pose, be aware that all yoga instructors insist that the foot NEVER press against the side of the knee -- the sole of the foot should be on the calf or the thigh. This is to protect the knee joint.

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ah.... thanks a lot, gav. never knew it! btw if i press my sole to the thigh, will it help me to get a consisten higher retire?

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