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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tombe pas de bourree en pointe?


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I have a very basic, probably silly question. 🙈 For traveling steps in pointe shoes, like a tombe pas de bourree, do dancers always do those pas de bourree beats on full pointe? Or do they sometimes use demi pointe even in pointe shoes? Thanks to anyone who can answer that!

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Hi BalletNovice,

Welcome to BT4D!   It's great to have you here - please feel free to head over to the Welcome forum and tell us a bit about yourself.

To answer your question, no - pas de bourree is not always done on pointe, even in pointe shoes.  It could depend on the choreographer, speed of the pas de bourree, technique or style of the dancing, or the dynamic of the movement. Always and never are rare words in ballet technique!  The same way a pas de bourree doesn't isn't always preceded by a tombe - it could be a chasse, or coming from a jump or a pirouette - it all just depends on what you're doing.  There are always lots of variations on the way things can be done within ballet technique as a whole.

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Thank you so much for your reply! 💕 Is there a default? For example, if a combination is given in a mixed class, with some people en pointe and others not, is it more common to do a pas de bourree on full pointe in adagio? Petit allegro? Grande allegro? Thank you again. 🙏🏻

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I would say there is no default, it's all about the context that the pas de bourree is in.

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This is a good question Ballet Novice! I think it depends on the speed of the music, and the type of pas de bourree.  For example some schools have a “picked up” pas de bourree where the feet come to retire, it would be more common to see this en pointe since it is already a step that must be doing relatively slowly. In Vaganova we don’t use that pas de bourree very often, if ever. The highest the feet go in a pas de bourree is cou de pied. That doesn’t mean we don’t do them en pointe, but if the music is quite quick or soft, it would look alright to do such a step on demi pointe.  

Also some dancers like to use different hardness of shoes for different variations, for example Giselle act 1 has all those hope en pointe so you need a hard shoe but if you were doing something like La Sylphide you’d want a softer shoe. If you wearing a softer shoe you might be more likely to do the pas de bourree on demi pointe, especially if it’s quick. 

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Wow, thank you both so much for these answers! (I do train at a Vaganova studio.) That's really helpful. Sometimes it seems too fast to take on full pointe, but since the combo is usually demonstrated by someone in soft shoes, I wasn't sure if it was acceptable to use the demi in pointe shoes. Thank you again!

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The other thing you might do is look at some of the wonderful clips of professional dancers on places such as YouTube. You'll see the variety of choreography and styles.

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