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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What works for you?


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I was sitting here thinking to myself, after reading through some threads, What works for you. I really am not sure how to word any of this so if it sounds confusing pleased bare with me. I will give an example or two to see if you catch my drift (who knows as i type it may all come to light...?)


When it comes to pirouettes my teacher had told me to breathe in when i prepare and breathe out when i turn, its great i get round and it is a relaxed and comfortable pirouette. When i dont i am all tense (shoulders up and weight all over the place).


With grand battements in the centre i am told to relax my stomach muscles when taking the leg up ( everyone else is told to ignore this). This was because when i was pulling up through my stomach my grand battements were awful. It took a couple of lessons for my teacher to pin point the problem. The moment i tried relaxing my muscles my grand battements were lovely, contolled, turned out and strong whereas before they were wobbly and ugly.


So which corrections work for you, are they slightly different from the norm.




Hope this makes sense to you all:confused:

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I can't think of anything that works for me right now, but I'll dwell on it for awhile and see if I can come up with anything. It seems to me that it's always something different, even from one day to the next. But I wanted to thank you for the information on the turns. I tried the breathing thing, and it helped a lot! I passed the information along to another woman in the class who was having some difficulty with her turns and she also found it helpful. I do have one thing about the turns, I tend to fall to the side, and my teacher found it was because I wasn't holding my shoulders strong enough, and I wasn't going directly straight up on my supporting leg. So we worked a long time on simply releveing up, without turning, then only turning 1/2 way, then finally all the way, and this helped. But now I find I need to work on this releveing straight up during warm-up before the class to get my bearings, and this also helps. Thanks again for your words of wisdom Skippy!

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You are very welcome dancepig. Our school seem to have a lot of shoulder problems and we have put it down to what side you carry your handbag/schoolbag on. The teacher has often asked some of the girls to swop shoulders and this also works.


Another one that works for me is related to the chin, i have a tendancy to tuck mine in, i now have to wear my hair in a high bun instead of a low one and then think about pulling the bun towards the base of my neck and lo and behold i hold my chin up.



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skippy, that breathing tip worked for me too! I just came from class where I tried it. I know it's important to breath correctly to execute movements correctly, but for some reason I had not applied this to pirouettes and asked how to breath during them. (It's no miracle trick, of course, but every little thing helps.) Thanks.

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The exhale works for grand battements and all extensions too! When you exhale you relax and allow movement to happen, instead of holding and gripping. Pirouettes are movements, not poses! Inhale on the preparation, exhale on the turn. Try the same thing for any movement that is difficult :P The exhale also helps in keeping the shoulders down. It's kind of like smiling, in that it's really hard to tense up and grip when you are genuinely smiling :)

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What works for me?


I try and do at least 100 crunches prior to class, this warms me up so quickly and makes me feel centered.


p.s TRY is the operative word;)

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Funny you'd mention the smile, Ms. Leigh... just yesterday my teacher told me in class that "one is allowed to smile" there. And while I couldn't really get myself to smile, trying to keep my expression composed and pleasant helped some difficult movements, too. :D

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That also helps to explain why my teacher is always telling us to breathe! I always laugh when she says this as it seems an obvious thing to do, but I notice a lot of students let out a exhale as though they were actually holding their breath. Guess they were.

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o.k. I have two things to contribute to the "what works for you"


A person in my class told me that after pirouettes or chaines to stop dizziness (from bad spotting!) stare at your hands - open the hands and stare at the insides. For some crazy reason, it works. It stops the spin. Of course, you won't need it if you spot correctly, but just in case ;)


Something else which works is pretending you are a famous ballerina and inhabiting them as a character - taking on their mannerisms and the feel of them (watch a ballet and try this).


All of a sudden, you start feeling the art and become more aware of the total physical feeling - including facial and head expressions. Your hands get softer. It is fun. This is a trick I learned from acting, you become less self conscious and enjoy yourself more.

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Guest BBNButterscotch

What works for me is pretty basic- I just concentrate on my spot, think about pulling up and winding, and concentrate on keeping my leg turned and in the proper position and whee- around I go! I mastered singles like that, and now im working on doubles. :)

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:eek: 100 crunches, are you quite mad, just the thought of it sends me into a sweat. As for people holding their breath i have the tendency of not breathing during any kind of jumping sequence.

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What works for me:


My own pre class warmup – some plies and pilates moves to warm my body, then some upper back neck stretches, followed by hamstrings and some hip flexor/rotator stretches. Then I like to lie on my back and just sort of feel my alignment.


In class – lots of plies!! If I don’t have lots of plies (and not just a plie combination at the beginning, plies during combinations throughout the barre) then I just never feel like anything is working correctly for the rest of the class.


Exhaling while turning is a good one and I do that too. I’ve also been working on using breathing to help with the phrasing of movement – something one of my teachers has been trying to get me to improve.


My big thing that I always have to work on (and that helps tremendously when I do it correctly) – keeping the shoulders “connected” to my pelvis and my ribs down.

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I imagine my rotator muscles just under my buttocks are my primary jumping muscles. I know they aren't, but pretending they are results in much more turned out legs in the air. :)



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Guest distantdancer

What's really working for me right now is using imagery. I can struggle with a movement for days but if my teacher gives me an image to visualize it just makes everything so much easier and I don't feel like I'm struggling to move my body. It would be hilarious if all of my visualizations came to life...first of all, we would be underwater for most of the barre and center work. I would have my trusty imaginary partner (I call him Rudolph) holding me, there would be a large pair of wings on my back, I would have a string coming out of my head attached to the ceiling and my arms and legs would be looong and stretchy whenever I extended them. Oh, and whenever I would plie, my head would stay in the same place, but my body would go down.


Whenever I'm learning something new now, I always ask for an image to help me 'feel' what I'm supposed to be doing.

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