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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Lifting the leg from below...?


Rosewaterandsunshine

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Can anyone give me any advice on how to identify these elusive leg muscles that hold up the leg from below?

 

I have heard, and practiced time after time about stretching the leg as you lift it, imagining pulling the toes out as you lift and pushing the floor away with your toes in grande battement. I try to do all these things and they do help but there are still these posts about using muscles underneath the leg to keep it raised. I can not fathom how this is possible. A muscle only contracts so all the visualization in the world can not change that a muscle below the leg will pull the leg down surely?

 

Is it a loop or wrapping muscle? If so, i would be so hugely grateful if someone could name it for me so I can look it up and understand it :/

 

I would be even more grateful if someone could give me any other ways of feeling it as despite all of the above, I still don't feel I'm using it as well as I could, if at all.

 

I'm starting to feel like getting to grips with this one issue is the ballet holy grail.... :)

 

With grateful thanks for any help in advance

 

:)

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http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=57727

 

Rosewater, we just recently discussed this on the above thread. There are other threads where I have described it many times, but I don't have time to look for them now as I am leaving to teach. Read the thread, and my post there, which is the third post. It should help.

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I believe it is actually about the hamstrings, Wietske. Check out the link I put in above.

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Hmm, I have been taught (by youtube mostly) that the main muscle for développé is the psoas (or iliopsoas) then I just figured you also need this for battements.. But that is just my own guess work

Edited by Wietske
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"Working muscles contract or shorten to create movement of the bones. Because the hamstrings are at the back of the leg, it is impossible for them to be doing the work of lifting the leg in a grand battement to the front or side. Instead your quads and iliopsoas, as hip flexors (or hip creasers), are responsible for this."

 

http://www.danceadvantage.net/leg-from-underneath/

 

The iliopsoas wraps around your thigh bone which creates leverage

Edited by Wietske
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Thanks for this Mrs Leigh. I did read this thread but not having experienced the 'poke' or the lighter feeling ever I'm not sure if I'm ever achieving it let alone when I am. Or maybe I am but it's not a light enough feeling for me to remark on it? I'm so confused. Can anyone tell me when one gets 'poked' to experience this ballet epiphany? :/

 

Also (sorry) I don't get how the hamstrings can possibly lift the leg :( They run directly down the back of the leg? So surely they can't possibly lift it? I would buy the psoas as a theory because it does at least insert onto the femur and the spine. Maybe also the abbductor magnus? But I'm no expert....

 

:/

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Did you read the article I've posted? There is a lot of interesting information about this psoas online, also this: http://danceproject.ca/7-ways-to-improve-develope-height/#.UoKT5JRARu8

 

I agree about the hamstrings, they run directly down the back of the leg, so they shouldn't be able to lift your leg

Edited by Wietske
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I have been taught (by youtube mostly) that the main muscle for développé is the psoas (or iliopsoas)

 

I think the problem here is that YouTube is usually a bad source from which to learn ballet. Ms Leigh is a very experienced dancer and fully trained ballet teacher. I'd take her advice over YouTube any & every day!

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Oh gosh this is great, thanks so much. I'd still really like to hear what Mrs Leigh has to say as I know she is very experienced and I really value her advice but anatomically this makes a lot of sense.

 

I suppose really it doesn't matter so long as I can get the leg up there but I'm eternally curious and like to know that the laws of physics work :)

 

Thanks so much for your input and links :)

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Rosewater, I don't know the anatomy properly (unlike Ms Leigh or Clara) but when I'm trying to do a developpé, I'm really working on holding my core abdominals more than anything else, I think!

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I have been taught (by youtube mostly) that the main muscle for développé is the psoas (or iliopsoas)

 

I think the problem here is that YouTube is usually a bad source from which to learn ballet. Ms Leigh is a very experienced dancer and fully trained ballet teacher. I'd take her advice over YouTube any & every day!

Of course you shouldn't trust everything on youtibe but I do follow professional ballerina's and ballerina's that are in training, so my guess is they know what they are talking about. Ánd it makes much more sense then the hamstrings lifting the leg.

 

(I would also like to add that I am a very thorough researcher, I never assume something is the truth from only one source ;) )

Edited by Wietske
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I came to dance with an analytical, scientific mind. I'd hear dance people talk about things like lengthening muscles, not engaging the quads, and lifting the leg from below, all things that were impossible in certain movements. It did perplex me and quite frankly made me wonder about how knowledgeable teachers were. But along the way, I learned that if I imagined what the teacher was asking me to do, magic would happen. I was getting the result that the teacher wanted. Since then I've become a huge fan of imagery. My need to understand the exact kinesiology has withered.

 

I think the reason imagery works so well is because the anatomy of movement is complex. Muscles don't work in isolation, but rather in conjunction with other muscles in complex patterns to create the desired movement. That doesn't mean that the kinesiology is irrelevant. It just means that from a results perspective, it's not that important.

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Thank you, Gary. That is exactly what I was trying to explain. It's about the feeling and imagery that allow the body to feel like it is the hamstrings. Of course the other muscles, including the quads, have to work, but if one tries lifting from the quads then they over work. And isolating the psoas is difficult and not necessary.

 

I have actually proven this theory by being hooked up to an electromyograph and doing developpés and grand battement by using the quads, and then by using the breath release and imagery to motivate the action. It was very eye opening to see the difference in the amount of work being done by the quads that is unnecessary. Yes, as I have said many times before in my posts, they have to work because if they didn't the leg would not straighten. However, they don't have to overwork in order to get the leg up.

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This may sound weird, silly or incorrect but……here goes. This is the image that seems to work for me:

 

To have a grand battement "shoot energy out the leg" (I've heard this proposed as an image for grand battement), and create this by using the hamstrings (i.e. in back of the leg -- or "underneath" when doing a battement ---- not quads, and not throwing oneself out of alignment to try to get it to happen using muscles that are not effective for this movement) I picture a pulley system -- or a winch-- you know, those contraptions that haul heavy things -- a pulley system can drag a boat or ship out of the water on a track, up onto dry land; Or a pulley system that lifts heavy stage sets up in the air on long, thick ropes (very much like what I picture my hamstrings looking like!!) I say a pulley system because w/ a pulley system you pull or wind (as w/ a winch) and the rope or heavy wire wraps around something and you may pull one way, to the right, and the object you are pulling may on purpose be directed to move to the left -- a pulley system directs energy it is not necessarily a direct correlation of pulling right to go right -- It is as complicated as the hamstring action itself! That is why i like that image -

 

As said so well above, forget complicated anatomy for me! An apt image can work well. True, some images work better for some people than others. For me it helps if I come up w/ my own image. If my teacher provides it it can help greatly. But it is the images I arrive upon myself that for some reason make perfect sense and are the most effective, and memorable, for me.

 

So if I am incorrect about the grand battement action, so be it. That is a great thing about imagery. It does not have to be scientifically correct! It works if it gets the job done! :cool2: …. as long as it correctly describes the action.

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