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Ballet Talk for Dancers

how do I stop!?

Guest MTdancer

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Guest MTdancer

I am having difficulty with a turn that we are working on in several of my classes, & and I am hoping that someone can give me a few pointers or things to visualize to help me out.


Here's the turn, as best as I can describe it. My instructor doesn't have a specific name for it - she calls it a piquée turn into arabesque. Basically, we do a series of three piquee turns across the floor ... the fourth one begins like a normal piquee turn, but at about halfway around, you bring your leg to arabesque and somehow, with much praying, stop turning while still in releve and balance. (So if you were going across the floor to the right, you end the series of turns in arabesque facing the right.)


My piquee turns are fine, and I can move my leg into arabesque ... but I just can't seem to find a way to stop when I am supposed to! We are also doing this turn in our pointe classes, and I find it even more difficult there!


I have really been working on the idea of "oppositional force", trying to feel my leg in arabesque pulling out and away from me, which helps slow me down a bit, but I'm still not stopping when I need to! I am also finding myself turning in my standing leg, in an inadvertant attempt to stop myself ... not a pretty thing!


Any ideas? Also, is there an actually name for this turn? Thanks so much!



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Technically, it's called tour piqué en dedans terminé en arabesque. You may be entering the turns with too much force to make the simple opening into arabesque sufficient to overcome the turning movement. Have you ever seen a governor on an old-fashioned steam engine? It looks sort of like a gyroscope with two weights on a frame, which is preset before the engine is started to restrain how much torque the engine develops. If the weights are close to the central arbor of the mechanism, the engine goes faster. If they are set far out from the arbor (shaft), then the engine has to slow down.


Simply opening into arabesque should be enough to stop the turn. Try it with less force on the turns themselves. Especially en pointe, the turns should be doable with not much oomph at all.

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