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Along the lines of 'is ballet getting too gymnastic?'!


drdance
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At risk of playing devils advocate......(!)

 

I just came across this video on youtube which I believe to be an assessment/performance class of the Vaganova Academy and having previously followed threads on here discussing whether ballet is becoming too much like gymnastics particularly leg height etc this video got me thinking....

 

It seems that whether we like it or not, high extensions are being trained here!

 

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Wow, I think these extensions are gorgeous, and that the girls have incredible balance! i did find it interesting, though that at 14.43, they seemed to find the arabesque penche difficult- I mention this because my left leg is extremely flexible with developpes etc to the front/side, but I struggle to reach an 180 degree penche, but when using my right leg, although my hamstrings seem less flexible, my arabesque penche is relatively easy. The girls are all utterly amazing, though, how old would they be? :)

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I thought that they all looked beautiful and very well trained, in my very limited view. I thought our training was for higher leg extensions but obviously not at the cost of poor technique. I only watched some of the video though.

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I agree with Tulip - beautiful! (As one would expect...) I have nothing against high extensions, except jealousy of course :D, but it is what you do with them that I think matters. I don't see (in my opinion) vulgar oversplits here; I see controlled beautiful lines supported by rock solid technique. But I also wouldn't complain if the extensions weren't so high, as long as the artistry remains. Thankfully for us mere mortals lines can be made equally beautiful (or ugly) whether high or low, though I'm not a fan of more than 180 degrees.

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Exactly JCJC - it's what you do with them. I can think of any number of ballets where I do not think high extensions are appropriate but equally others where they would look spectacular. For me it is all about the artistry based on a good technique.

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I agree with Tulip - beautiful! (As one would expect...) I have nothing against high extensions, except jealousy of course :D, but it is what you do with them that I think matters. I don't see (in my opinion) vulgar oversplits here; I see controlled beautiful lines supported by rock solid technique. But I also wouldn't complain if the extensions weren't so high, as long as the artistry remains. Thankfully for us mere mortals lines can be made equally beautiful (or ugly) whether high or low, though I'm not a fan of more than 180 degrees.

 

I very much agree with this and what Janet McNulty said, too. What is appropriate for one ballet is not appropriate for another. Giselle's foot shouldn't be at her ear.

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This is lovely and I don't think the extensions are too high at all, although I didn't watch from start to finish. When I read Drdance's introduction I was expecting something far more extreme!

 

On another note, I think the film dispels the myth of all Russian dancers being stick thin. I see a range of physiques there that a equally engaging to watch.

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That is something that I noticed too, that they were all different sizes and not just skeletons. They all looked right for what they should be if that makes sense, not starved.

 

My DD and I just watched in awe! I too was very happy to see that they are not all skinny tinie's and made my DD feel very much better about herself as she is not a 'skinny tiny' but tall, elegant and musular in the right places.

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Gosh, I thought they were beautiful. I think they must be around the ages of between 13 and 15 years. This is why I love the Russian training so much, the teqnique, lines and placement is so precise. I also love the artistry, the way the dancers use their arms and heads to me is just lovely.

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I think they are amazing and very artistic. One thing I've noticed - as they only have one barre, they do lots of turns at the barre. So often this is impossible because with a second lower barre there is a danger of hitting it with the knee.

 

This, however, is exactly the problem that the female dancer must learn to solve when dancing with a partner.

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OK now the debate has happened a bit I'll add my opinion! I was absolutely astounded by the strength and flexibility that these ladies have, but - and perhaps it's my English-ness here - I felt that they were pulling off their supporting legs a lot at the barre (is this a difference between English and Russian training maybe?) often as their gesture leg was up around their ears somewhere, and my knees were aching just watching their supporting legs....

 

It all looked so very, very difficult in its content - so many turns, changes of direction, legs in the air so high - yet all so effortless!

 

Having said that, if you can make THAT look easy, then the repertoire of most ballets will be a walk in the park!

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I didn't know what you meant Drdance, but my daughter did, she is young but she said 'It will still get them a career, it might be shorter one but best to get there than not'. Like I said she knew exactly what you meant, but she is only young and right now would do anything for a classical career.

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