Every movement you make should be powered by the action of your feet (or foot). In terms of preparing for the pirouette en dehors from the fourth position, keep the following in mind:
- Your supporting foot grips the floor in order to bring the body and legs into place for the preparatory pose and the plié.
- Your supporting foot grips the floor in opposition to the upward stretch of your head. This engages and connects all of the muscles in your supporting leg from the toes to the hip. How can you expect to line up your leg bones properly unless you engage the muscles that move them?
- Your supporting foot grips the floor in order to bring all of the weight of your body into it.
- Your supporting foot grips the floor and determines the placement of your back foot.
- Your supporting foot pushes down on the floor so that you relevé and turn on a straight leg.
- When your back toe leaves the floor that is when you turn your head and spot.
Excerpted from my book The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique: A Guide for Teachers & Students
Many students have trouble finding their balance when they piqué in first arabesque. This is the third blog in a series of excerpts from my Guidebook on how to make this all-important step look better.
#3 Ears back!
This is an abbreviated command. Since you are moving forward, you must have opposition of weight and movement in order to balance your piqué in first arabesque. Therefore, keep your ears and shoulders back. Most importantly, find your balance by sending energy down through your standing leg and out through your back shoulder and arm. Remember that only your toes and hips move forward. The succession of movement is this: toes, hips, chest, shoulders, arms, and head. Your ears stay back until the last moment. (Excerpted from “The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique: A Guide for Teachers & Students. Page 274.)
The beauty of ballet dancing is revealed in HOW and WHEN you MOVE into and out from various positions.
Isabella Boylston, ABT Principal Dancer, photographed by Rosalie O’Connor
There’s a nip in the air. Tree leaves are drying yellow and brown. Drink lots of water. Think good thoughts. Stay warm. Be well.
Photo by Joe Epstein.
The biggest challenge a dancer faces each day is being able to repeat the correct preparation—for a balance, turn, or jump—over and over, day after day—with a sense of newness and discovery. It’s always the same, but you have changed.
Skies are grey today. Temperature has dropped. Hurricane is brewing. Rainy chilly days are coming. But above it all the sun continues to shine. Just because you can’t see it or feel it does not mean it’s not there. Don’t be fooled. Think big. Life goes in cycles. You will see the sun again. Your pirouettes will return.
A star has five points. So do you: your head, your fingertips, and your toes. Energy radiates from the center of your body up through your head and out of your eyes; down both legs and out of your toes; up through your chest and out through your arms and hands. Turn out, stretch out, look out, breathe out, move out. Keep pushing in all directions all the time. Never stop and you will dance better than ever.