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Ballet Talk for Dancers

rolling or jumping to pointe?


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This is a pointe question so please move it if it's better somewhere else :)


I have just recently started pointe and I would really appreciate the consensus on technique of going from first/fith position flat to second position en pointe.


My understanding through obsessively watching ballet :) and reading the internet is that the best technique is where the foot rolls through and the shoe doesn't leave the floor at all. This certainly looks the best to my untrained eye (it looks like magic!). My teacher told me recently when I was performing it that there should be a very slight bounce at the end of the movement impacting down on to the platform. I suspect this is because she is trying to make it easier because of my less than ideal turn out or something :) but which of the methods is technically better? If version A (entirely rolling) Is there a reason she might be advising me to do this? Is there anything I can practice to improve my technique?


If you will permit me one last question on this subject, I find this quite a difficult movement to do. I think it is bceuase of my less than 180 turn out. Given that I am older (33) and will never have perfect turn out are there any tips to doing this movement well with what turn out I have (other than turning out as much as I can) ?


Thanks so much in advance for any help :)



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Guest Pas de Quoi

Hi Rosewater:


Here is a great video. This person is performing the steps you are interested in, I believe. And .... don't settle for the state of things turn-out wise as they are at the present. I was taught (and I believe and also teach) that we ALL can improve our turn-out with consistent, educated work, no matter what age we happen to be. If you are using your lateral rotators correctly, this move should not be difficult, even with less than 180 degree turn-out. Other factors that may be making this step difficult are the strength and flexibility of a dancer's feet (particularly the front of the ankle) and whether the dancer is wearing the correct shoes.



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Lovely video Pas de Quo! Thanks for sharing.


Rosewater, sometimes when we over-think things we tie ourselves up in unnecessary knots ;) What you don't want, is to jump up into the air like a mini saute and land in 2nd on your toes - ouch! What you also don't want is your feet stuck to the floor with bubble gum which hinders your ability to perform the step correctly (and often leading to bent knees en pointe too). Neither of the above is correct - and in reality while we do want the feet to slide out along the floor, the physics of a dancers getting there particularly at speed may mean if you looked at it in slow motion the toes will often ever so slightly leave the floor near the end of the echappe as the dancer gets up and over the box - causing the "bounce" your teacher spoke of. Again though - we don't want to aim to "jump" and "bounce" up onto pointe - aim to slide the feet out but not to the detriment of executing the step.


Try thinking about it a few different ways - imagine the floor is ice and you can easily push down and out from your demi-plie and slide your toes out into the a la seconde. Or, imagine two elastic bands wrapped about your ankles pulling your legs out to 2nd as your feet spring onto pointe.

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I've been taught that certain things are better served rolling through, and some thins are better with a spring to pointe. There are many things that Russian dancers do by springing to pointe, whereas French and other dancers will roll through. In any event, by no means does it mean that you will learn only one way to execute a step.


In the case of your step (echappe to 2nd), I was taught that it's a slide out that is ALMOST a roll through, but at the very last instant, there may be a tiny lack of contact with the floor. Momentum should take you into 2nd, no problem! Turn out is a different matter of rotation.

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This is so useful, thank you all so much, I can see the truth in everything you say :) The video and visualization ideas are wonderful and will definitely go away and work on them. Thank you all so much for your help :)

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Wow, these are excellent answers and the video is perfect. Thank you everyone for your contribution to this. I will only add that if you look on the Russian Pointe Website they offer two different types of shanks, one for springing up onto pointe and one for rolling onto pointe http://www.russianpointe.com/pages/step_5__shanks/286.php I have personally found that as a beginner to pointe it was easier for me to spring up, then as I got stronger and more proficient, I was able to roll up more often. Hope all of this is helpful, but just dancing and taking class is the best way to figure out what works for you.

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Guest Pas de Quoi

Hi DancePig: Thanks for the link! I have passed it along to several fellow teachers and will definitely refer to it, when taking new pointe students for their fittings.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ditto that it depends a lot on the 'school' of ballet. Russian methods prefer spring up (hence their pointe shoes are often made to spring onto pointe and not roll through the demi) and RAD is rollup all the way.


I take RAD and my teacher is brutal to us this year working on our feet! Lots of sloooooooooooow rises through demi and slooooooooow onto pointe. Then just as sloooooowly back down. Ow. The rollup and rolldown even in quicker releve/echappes should be done fully through the demi in RAD, but that rolldown through demi is a killer!


I do find this difficult on my shoes since I use Grishkos and they're definitely not built to favour the use of all that demipointe. I think for sure the RAD methods shorten the life of my shoes.

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Hi Silkmaiden: It depends on the kind of Grishko's. I have worn them for years (Ulanova) and they have the roll through shank.



Hmm, yes that is true too. I've read that somewhere!


I'm not sure if my Nova's are technically a 'roll through shank' (based on the 2007's last) but they sure don't last as long as my old Bloch's used to. Maybe that's just a Grishko thing for me, I dunno, but I sure don't remember my Bloch Serenades mushing so fast!

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And in reality - we need to be able to do both rolling through and springing up in our pointe shoes, regardless of what they are marketed for!

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  • Administrators

Absolutely true, ami1436! Dancers need to be able to work both ways for many different things they have to do in choreography.

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RAD is rollup all the way.


Sort-of.. for a rise yes! For a releve, most RAD teachers use a variation on the russian "spring", the toes do not leave the floor but are sharply pulled underneath the body (as opposed to springing out to the toe as some methods use) As everyone has said, all methods are good to know and practice, there is no use getting stuck just in one way of doing anything!

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For a releve, most RAD teachers use a variation on the russian "spring", the toes do not leave the floor but are sharply pulled underneath the body


Agreed, my teacher calls it the 'toe scoot'. I viewed this action for the releve as a 'rollup' and not 'spring' though, I've always understood springing to mean no demipointe use from flat to full pointe.


In any case, it's all a matter of terminology and semantics, and likely as not most students will end up doing both methods and variations of both methods whether they realize it or not!

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