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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Arm fluidity


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My teachers say that I have a problem with the fluidity of my arms. Whenever I use port de bras, I lift my shoulders and use jerky, often inconsistent arms that don't seem to flow correctly. I know that it's hard to judge without seeing me dance, but what would be some general tips for where my arms should initiate from or how to improve in this respect in general?

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Jessie, if your teachers say that you have problem, then they also have to help you understand how to solve the problem. Good port de bras stems from good training early on, and continuous attention paid to it over the years.  The understanding of where the movement initiates from should be started as soon as a young student is taught port de bras. It is as important as any aspect of ballet training can be, if not more so.  Unfortunately, it is way too frequently neglected or very poorly taught.  We cannot teach you port de bras here. It needs to be shown and then the student helped to find it in her own body. Your entire torso is the source of movement, and most specifically, the upper back muscles move the arms. They do not move from the joints. There are lots of ways to teach this, and lots of imagery that can be very helpful, but it needs to be taught by someone who understands how to teach it. If your teachers do not do that, it's time to find new teachers. It is not an easy fix with teenagers who have been doing it incorrectly for years. It will take, patience, and a LOT of practice. 

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