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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Sugar Plum Variation / Pas de Duex / Coda


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Hello everyone!


I will be dancing Sugar Plum fairy this year for my studios Nutcracker. My dance teacher has A LOT of hurdles this year trying to get things ready because we lost a few dancers that we were relying on for other big parts. My partner and I try to help by being self motivated and finding our own time to work on things so she can use class time etc.. to help the people that really need it.


She does watch and critique sometimes but I don't always have her at my disposal to ask questions.

Also, I feel like sometimes you just need something explained a different way to get it to clique.


Okay, so my questions are.


1. In the Sugar Plum solo (I believe it is the Petipa version, or at least based on it) It starts with the parallel bourree forward and then a fondue front, tendue with the right leg then you releve on the left pulling the right leg in to a low retiree (she said our toes should be in the arch of the standing leg) do a quick ... beat? I am forgetting the word for it! then fondue tendue out again and repeat. (I hope that makes sense) My problem is, after the first releve I can't seem to come down without hoping off of point. It is like I can't get back to the original position to be ready to repeat the second time.


Should the upper body bend forward toward the leg that is working (when I fondue my arms go from fifth high to first arabesque with the front arm slanted down and the back arm up) OR do I try to keep straight and just gesture with my arm?


It is hard to put this in writing so I will not be offended if no one understands what I am trying to say!


2. Any tips to help with a glisse pique arabesque turn (technically half a turn) coming down into the tombe hitch kick. Specifically does the arabeque leg straighten and then come through to the tombe or does it have to come to retiree and then fifth.


3. The coda. I cannot do fouttees. I am working on it but I know it isn't going to be were it needs to be by December. What is a good alternative for that part of the coda?


ANY help is appreciated. Even if you have tips about other movements in these dances I am all ears!

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Ppixie, have you studied this variation on youtube? There are a lot of fine professional productions where you will see the variation. There may be a few differences here and there, but you would clearly see how that first step is executed and where the upper body and arms are. With the second step, that is a very different version of getting into the temps de fleche, however, it would seem to me that the arabesque would simply failli through from the back to the 4th position plié for the jump. But you should look at the variation and see how that sequence is done.


As for the coda, piqué turns en manege are often the step substituted for fouettés.

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I have looked at lots of you tube videos, I can't find one where they repeat that part twice, they always do it once and then move to something else .... it makes me wonder if doing it twice is not feasible... Also, I always see done where the leg comes in passe height and not so low. I think I will try that way and see if it makes it easier.


On number two I actually meant Attitude turn! Does it straighten to an arabesque before it comes through? I will keep watching videos:)

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It should straighten as it lowers towards the floor to come through, yes. The little serrré beats are intended for the ankle, not the knee, and yes, it is just done once.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K65lcuHQn-E This version, by the Royal Ballet, is very traditional and correct. It is the way I learned it, except for the addition of the gargouillards, which used to be pas de chats. However, that whole diagonal sequence is often changed quite a bit these days. The manege at the end is also an addition. It used to end right after the diagonal and the arabesques with a step to a pose in a small 4th on pointe. I also would do the coupé into the tendu front after the attitudes, before the temps de fleche.

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I spoke with my teacher a little last night. She really wants the fondue serrré part done twice in a row. I am determined to get it! Practice, practice, practice is all I can do I guess:)

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The version I originally learnt was very similar to the RB solo in the link, however with one difference which might relate to ppixie's teacher's version. At the end of the diagonal we did the same parallel bourrées forward and the serré beat, but this was followed by a second relevé on pointe, with the working foot doing a low passé with petit battement front back, while the dancer changed alignment on pointe before coming down en fondu to a low arabesque effacé - in the clip they just swivel on fondu with a simple passé to extend to the floor.

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