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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Rolling vs. Springing


citibob

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As for getting onto pointe: I've heard that rolling through the foot up onto pointe can weaken the foot over the long run. Is that true? If so, what are the mechanics of the weakening, and why does springing not have that problem? What about rolling through the foot coming down from pointe? Thanks...

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I'm afraid that that's a bit of propaganda propagated by "pop-up" proponents.;) The logic runs that the "roll-through" relevé provides greater opportunity for injuries which over a long period of time gradually weaken the foot and ankle. In forty years of watching and teaching people trained in both ways of doing a relevé, I have seen no evidence of any difference in the number and severity of injury between the two ways of doing it. The "roll-through" crowd have something similar they say about the "pop-ups" that the tiny moment of "out-of-control" in the spring (as if it were bouncing) causes more injuries. From where I stand, you pays your class card, and you takes your choice!;)

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Citibob, I'm not sure how correctly rolling through your foot onto pointe is meant to weaken your feet in the long run. The only thing I have heard, is that rolling your feet (the inside of your foot) in order to "perfect" your turn out will over-stretch and weaken the muscles of the inside ankle not to mention the risk of knee damage.

 

Of course if you have a tendency to sickle your foot and hence try to roll up onto pointe with a sickled foot, then this will cause problems the same as mentioned above. But I'm sure plenty of people will disagree with me.

:P

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I'm not going to disagree with you, Jeanette. Those injuries would occur whether the relevé is rolled through or sprung!:P

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I believe that a well trained dancer should be able to do both ways of getting on pointe. There are some steps which require the roll up and especially the roll down with control, and there are others which require the spring. Without the spring, for instance, fouettés would travel when they are not intended to travel.

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Is it true that, for instance, the Kirov ballet dancers don't really roll through their feet onto pointe as much as say the American trained/Balanchine dancers?

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Actually, Vaganova dancers get to pointe without much articulating the metarsal joint in the process. It's not exactly a pop, but it's definitely not rolled through the foot. I'm with Victoria, you have to know all sorts of ways of getting on pointe once you've reached a certain level. Some roll through, some rise with a practically straight foot, others still do almost a little temps levé to get there, and there are choreographic situations where you have almost to "climb" painfully to pointe!

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I do a little of both - I have one teacher who is a strict proponant of the roll- through - she said she doesn't see how anyone can do a pirouette by springing because your foot can go out from under you ( I think it is easier to do it this way because you don't have to shift your weight so much) but in her class we work on pirouettes a lot and I am rolling up. My other teacher has us do a lot of exercises with the springing up( which he once said was important for doing pirouettes!) but also stresses the importance of rolling down for control. I may be wrong, but I think doing a lot of springing up exercises at the barre and in center really helps strenghthen you feet.

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I would disagree with your first teacher. You never want to get into a pirouette gradually. Rather, you want to get all the body parts in the turning position as quickly as possible, so you can then turn. Hence, a need to spring up there.

 

Lifts are similar. If you're press lifting someone, you don't try to gradually lift her up there; you'll never get her up! You have to "spring" her up, all in one big smooth strong motion. And then she's there.

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However, many dancers are able to articulate their feet swiftly enough to roll up into a pirouette, just as many can do Odette's rapid entrechat-quatre - retiré passé, etc. sequence in the Act II coda by rolling up.

 

And there are such horrors as the dreaded press-lift, where your partner had better be pretty strong and of one piece, because she can't give you any help in a dead lift! (This works best with partners much smaller than you!;) )

 

But you're right; the pirouette has to go up all at once, whether the relevé is a rapid roll up or a spring.

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Yes, I've seen dead press lifts, plenty of times. You still have to do it all at once.

 

But back to the topic. Now I have a question about what "rolling" or "springing" really means.

 

Suppose you're in flat shoes and you sauter. That is a motion very much like going onto pointe, and it's clear you can't jump by moving slowly through the foot. Now, if done properly, have you "rolled" or "sprung" into the air?

 

Or put another way, what is the salient difference between rolling and springing? Is it the speed at which you do it, or the points in the motion at which your muscles are engaged, or is it a different motion all together?

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If you're jumping properly, you've rolled through the foot to give that last bit of oomph! It's really more a matter of speed, because you can't just go to pointe straight-footed, without any bend at all.

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Turnabout is fair play; vrsfanatic started this thread on Teachers, citing this thread on ABS about rolling and springing, so here's a link back to it, see especially the exchange between vrsfanatic and mbjerk:

 

http://www.balletalert.com/forum/showthrea...=&threadid=8018

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I don't know if this is correct, but I think of springing up as kind of a scooping of your foot so that your foot and leg go under your body, while in rolling through( which , like the ballet master said, can be done fast or slow) is more of a releve with a shift of your weight towards your foot.

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Both actions actually go through the foot, but I believe that the major difference is, like onyx mentioned, the change of weight for the roll up versus moving the foot under your center with the spring up. Both actions are valid and necessary for different types of work, and both actions build strength. I really do not feel that students should do only one way. In pirouettes there is really a combination of actions. From a 4th position with the weight primarily in the front leg for an en dehors pirouette, when you relevé to point you do move forward and up with the weight, but the foot also moves a bit. It just doesn't move all the way under you from that position. There is slightly more movement of the foot when going to full pointe than to demi pointe. It is also possible to do it without any movement of the foot, but I find this to be used more by male dancers.

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