January 31, 2013
Some of you who are adult beginners (or former dancers returning to class) find it difficult to remember and execute center combinations and you’ve asked if I can help you. I’ve come up with a checklist for Learning Combinations which you will see in my first eight posts.
If you find you’re tripping over your feet, can’t keep up with the music, and lose your concentration and can’t remember the sequence of movement, it may not be because you can’t remember, but more because you may have some technical issues.
Let’s talk about possible problems with the The Linking Steps
Most combinations start from the upstage corner 6 and move downstage to corner 2. And usually you will move forward with a pas de bourrée en avant. (The foot pattern is step forward on the right, cross the left 5th back, step forward on the right, cross the left 5th front.)
You can also move sideways with a pas de bourrée dessous. (This is also called pas de bourrée under. You step back-side-front.)
What’s important about these pas de bourrées is that you understand these traveling steps are made up of piqué steps. (The definition of piqué is to step on the half-toe on one foot with the other off the floor.)
What I see in class repeatedly is students falling over as they do the pas de bourrée steps because they are not on balance. They are not on their leg.
So, with every step you take, it’s very important, again, that you have to keep your posture and you have to know your body direction: are you working forward in fourth position, or moving sideways in second position?
Nonetheless, you have to know you are taking a series of individual steps. If we were to stop the music at any time, you would be on balance. In the middle of the pas de bourrée, no matter what foot you’re standing on, you should be able to maintain your balance on one foot with the other leg extended.
You have to be able to execute every pas de bourrée with balance and control. Therefore, when you are learning the combination, first you must make sure you are able to do each pas de bourrée with balance and control.
Our next post deals with The Rules of Opposition.
To dance is to live — Finis
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