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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Losing technique in faster combinations


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When receiving corrections for my teachers I have been told I have great technique, however, I lose it when the combinations pick up speed and get more complex. Is there a way to work on this. I was looking into floor barre, and I do yoga, pilates, and a variety of other cross training outside of class but I can't seem to get better at this. If anyone has suggestions to help they would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks :)

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The only way to get better in faster combinations is by practicing those combinations over and over, perfecting as much as possible each time. I take about 4-5 classes a week and make sure at least one of those is a beginner class, so that I can remind my muscles how to hold themselves properly. 

Take it in increments. For example, in a frappe combination, instead of trying to fix everything at once, fix the most needful part - such as, perhaps, keeping one’s turnout when returning to coup de pied (whether flexed or pointed, the goal is the same). You might find that if you work hard on the part that affects the body the most, the other issues might actually resolve as well. 

I focus a lot on keeping rotation, for example, because I know that that is the basis for a good return to fifth in faster tendu and jete combinations. 

Cross-training is fine, but to do a movement well, you really need to practice with that movement. Strength can only take you so far. 

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I found I got much  better at this both from repeated practice, as AncientDancer says.  But also from taking class more often.  I take 3 times a week.  It's not just that this gives you more practice but it keeps your body at a constant level, instead of slipping if you have too much down time.  This is true for all sorts of things in class, not just speed and complexity.

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I don't have the issue with speed, but I do with complexity.  I've concluded that if my brain is busy thinking about the pattern/steps, it doesn't have any free space for technique thoughts.  I actually find it quite useful to tackle combinations like this that are a bit above my level, because it shows me which aspects of my technique are automatic and which need some more work.  I try to take note of which technique aspects that disappear on me so that I can give them some extra attention in a slower class or at practice.

In my experience, one of the biggest things that is revealed with speed is dancers that are not doing the movement the right way - so using the wrong muscles, or who have their weight in the wrong spot.  Not using the core to build a stable foundation for that quick movement is another common issue. 

I strongly encourage you to spend some time thinking about why and how you struggle with fast/complex combos, and then spend some time working on that 'weakness'.  One of the greatest strengths we have as adult dancers is our ability to approach learning and improvement in a mature way - so put it to good use! 

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Not using the core to build a stable foundation for that quick movement is another common issue. 

Teacher the other day: "if it's too fast your core muscles are too loose".

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