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Passe Balance

Guest fastfeets

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Guest fastfeets

I'm quite vexed. I've finally gotten some semblance of a pirouette back, and am quite pleased with that progress. (why, oh why are doubles easier?????lol)


BUT, (there's always that, isn't there...) I'm having such a time with a passe balance now. I play tag with the barre far too much. Strangely, I do recognize that the less I think about it, the better my balance...if I'm home, just goofing off, I can manage a decent couple seconds without toppling. Sad, yes, but it's better than I do in class!


I'm frustrated because this is all stuff I could do very well 15 or so yeard ago, and now, it's horrible. Ugh.


I'm over my supporting leg, and I have my hips lined up, knee back, and right where it should be, but it's, I suspect, in my upper body. Sometimes, I do have to consciously engage that booty muscle, but that doesnt seem to help a lot with the passe. (great for sous-sous...though)


When I topple, it's normally forward or to the side. I did notice I wasn't pulling enough forward a good part of the time, but I've not found that perfect spot yet.


Are there any suggestions, thoughts or even creative visualizations that might assist me in progress? I will not even consider a pointe class til I have solid balance in several poses. At this rate, that's going to be a very, very long time. LOL.

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Fastfeets, You mention you tend to fall forwards. This is good as it shows you have the right idea. If you fall backwards, then that would have been a different story. So you can relax, honestly. That is probably the only thing holding you back now.

I bet as soon as you reralize you have to do a pirouetter, double or otherwise, you tense up. Whter you realise it or not.


Try this exercise. try imagining you have a pencil balanced on your head, and you are doing some bizarre government job of drawing a circle with that pencil on a piece of paper positioned right above you. It should be a very little movement, so that if someone was watching you they wouldn't quite be able to tell that you were doing this circle. Now change direction.

Now imagine that pencil is attached to your chin and do that same exercise, and then repeat as though the pencil were attached to your nose. They should all feel noticably different. You should feel a different tension in your neck. Which one feels better?

Now walk around, with the pencil attached to your head. Your neck should feel relaxed not tense. Try drawing the cirlce with your neck tensed. Now do a releve retire as though you were going to do a pirouette, probably at the barre is best for this or in the center if you are strong. And imagine that pencil is still attached. That is the feeling you need when you go into and when you do a pirouette. Try it, Personally I found it made such a difference. But it may not be for you. But its a good exercise to remember anyway, and do during any exercise at the barre or in the center as your neck muscles, front and back should be soft. (Not droopy soft).


You might also want to try pirouettes without any arms. Sounds difficult, but do it. If you find you go around easily, then its something to do with the way your hold and use your arms during your pirouettes. Its a useful way of determining where you are going wrong.


See how these go and give us some feedback, as we can't see you dance so its difficult.




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A couple of suggestions:


1. Stand close to a wall, about a forearm and hand length away from the wall. Retire and balance using your fingertips against the wall to keep in balance. Of course think about the usual—tall and aligned over the supporting leg. Balance for a second, then, slowly lower into fondu on the supporting leg. Personally, I like doing this little exercise a lot and do it often during the day.


2. Stand in first, arms in second, eleve then close your eyes. Stay for as long as possible. Do this same kind of closed eye balance with other positions too. We use the eyes primarily when we balance. Balancing with eyes closed is an attempt to develop other muscular and nervous systems so they can aid our eyes when we balance.


The most effective thing, however is just to practice a lot, I believe.

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Do you have a barre in your studio positioned so you can see yourself in the mirror? I'd go into relevee passe facing the mirror. Make sure you note the side facing the barre. You may not be pulling up enough on the supporting side to hold yourself up long enough.


Also, remember that balancing in relevee or passe is far from a static position. You cannot "lock" yourself into the pose and stay there. Balancing is a constant state of change. I always try to feel myself pulling my upper body upward as much as I can while pushing into the floor with my supprting leg. While doing this, make sure you're nice and supported under your arms on the supporting side. And, to add more to this, make sure you breathe and relax, as my teacher always says. LOL.

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Since you're going forward, instead of to the side or back, check to make sure your abdominal muscles, especially the lower (tummy) muscles are pulled in and up. Also that the shoulders don't rise in response to the abs working. See if that's what's bothering you.:)

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Guest fastfeets

Xena, I'm definitely going to work on that. I did have, and still do, to some degree, trouble with arms. A while back, I would start a pirouette with one arm preparing, winding up. I managed to take that away really fast. :) I DO tense up before a turn....not as much as in the past few weeks even, but I know I still do....and that's one thing I'd like to elimate.


I still have to work on some areas of weakness. That'll help a lot, I'm sure. I need to work on my arches and ankles so I can balance in passe at the barre. :) Thanks for the advice!



Gary, I never thought of closing my eyes to try it out! What a great idea! (In martial arts, we used to perform the forms blindfolded so we'd learn to know where our bodies where, so to speak, at all times....it was really strange, hard, and made for some good laughs too! LOL) I'm going to work on that while I wait for my kiddo to finish his class this evening. Thanks!



2LeftFeet, I'll look at that on wednesday night. I could be sinking too much into my supporting leg. I feel strong and steady til I start to take my hand off the barre....then I can almost feel some imperceptable shift. Last night's class was very slow...the other three people in there were absolute beginners....so our teacher actually had us learn how to point our feet, and how NOT to curl the toes, etc...and then showed how that translates in demi pointe. In my bare feet, I could tell I wasn't getting every single toe ON the floor (pinky doesn't want to play nice). So, I did wonder last night if my platform wasn't developed well enough and I think I might not be getting myself high enough on my releve even to consider balance. Last night, balancing in first, I had everything in the right place, and even felt myself making little changes in my upper body as necessary (we balanced a loooooooonnnnng time..)...but when I did start to feel the balance go....it was ankles and feet that did it.


Mr Johnson, I'll remember that when I get to work on it later. I do pretty well with remembering abs, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see my shoulder dont make some change, too.


I also noticed that I lose some turnout when I hit the releve....that does not make me happy...grr. Practice practice practice.


Now, if I can implement all this, succeed, and learn how to execute three fouette turns and a double pirouette combination repeated twice...things would be quite lovely! (not even asking for that one en pointe....yet....lol).


Thanks all of you...very much! I'll be begging for more advice very soon, I'm sure :)



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I always seem to fall back. However I have now started to really focus on placing myself directly over my standing leg. I also have to focus on getting as high up in releve as I can

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