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Ballet Talk for Dancers

tendu and the floor?


pleiades

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I have been taught that pushing against the floor is very important in tendu. Just yesterday I was reading a bit about the Balanchine technique and apparently his philosophy was just the opposite. If I'm recalling correctly, the foot was supposed to 'skim' the floor rather than use it for resistance. I'm guessing that this attitude is in the interest of building speed? Is there a 'commonly accepted' school of thought regarding tendu and working with the floor?

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One of the most useful things my Balanchine-trained teacher taught me about tendu was that you feel as if you press down into the floor so far and hard, that the foot has nowhere to go but out! And the same went for battement degagé, only it was a bit faster. The "skim" aspect was there, but never at the expense of full contact with the floor!

 

(PS. Isn't ballet fun, with all its paradoxes? Lift up to go down, turn the upper arm out, and the lower arm in, let go of the quads in order to make the developpé higher...;) )

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pleiades, I believe, although I could be wrong, that all other schools teach tendu working through the floor. I have seen what you describe, and also heard that it is taught that way by Balanchine style teachers. So, it sounds like the way they do it now has been changed from what was originally taught by Balanchine. Would that be correct, Mel?

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I think that that's correct, Ms. Leigh. My teacher studied at SAB in the forties when Balanchine himself was still teaching, and she got that right from the horse's mouth. Now, during the sixties, he changed a lot of things, but up until at least 1967, that hadn't changed.

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