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Mrs Brown

hip position in arabesque

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ok I am just a mum so haven't got any proper knowledge but this is something I have been puzzling about.

 

My daughter has always been taught to keep her hips square in an arabesque with both feet/legs turned out. But more and more I see pictures, and dancers in festivals, who do an arabesque where their hips are actually twisted upwards if that makes sense. If my daughter does that then her leg goes much much higher but I didn't think you were supposed to do that? Mind I have also seen lots where the leg they are standing on isn't turned out so...

 

So can someone please enlighten me as to what the hips should be doing in an arabesque? 

 

thank you

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I’ve always been taught the same as your daughter, although I’m not sure if it varies by syllabus? I started my training in Australia at a very good school and was always told that by keeping your hips square you will be using your back muscles correctly, thus strengthening them. I know that sometimes dancers twist their working hip slightly in order to raise their leg but I was always told it ruins the line. Mind you, I could be completely wrong and someone with a bit more experience may be able to advise you better! Xx

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thank you BalletBear. Her teacher is very hot on correct technique so I was assuming she was right and that perhaps it was just people could "get away" with twisting but have only recently realised how often I see pictures, even of professional dancers, where they are almost looking like a side leg lift than a proper arabesque so I started to wonder if it was just a different way of doing it.

 

 

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I've not been doing ballet for very long but my teacher definitely emphasises that the hips should be square.  He is very clear that it's better to have the hips square and a lower leg than to force the leg higher up by twisting the hips. 

 

It could be that people do a slgihtly exaggerated twist and lift for photographs to make it look more impressive but that's definitely not what one ought to do if actually dancing. 

Edited by Tango Dancer
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thanks Tango Dancer - yes that is what her teacher always says, better to do something technically correctly even if it doesn't look as good than to do it badly

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Nothing worse than poor technique and tricks. Get the scaffolding right always. Trained dancers will always spot poor technique and awful tricks. 

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1 hour ago, Peanut68 said:

What a great topic for debate!

the more I google, the more confused I get! 

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Your daughter’s teacher is correct.  Square hips for arabesque, grand jete etc is correct.  
 

Many ‘cheat’ later on to get higher legs or wider split jetes.  A dancer with the correct alignment will always be more aesthetically pleasing.   So please stick with the teacher.   
 

 

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Also it can be a matter of safety, for pirouettes in arabesque and turning jumps such as jeté entrelacé (jeté en tournant in some methods) landing in Arabesque. If the position is not correct torsion can lead to ankle, knee or back injuries.

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great, thank you. I will show her your posts and reassure her to carry on doing what her teacher says and not be tempted to copy the others in festivals. 

 

Pas de Quatre - I have no idea what a jete entrelace is (will google now) and I think it highly unlikely she will ever be able to do a pirouette in an arabesque but good to know the reasons why the correct technique is so important. 

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I am not sure if the youtube clip I've tried to link will post but if it does, I think this is probably one of the clearest demonstrations of a jete entrelace that I can see.  It's basically where you turn in the jete and land in arabesque.  I don't know the teacher at all but I thought it was a pretty good clip of what it looks like.  It's not a beginner move (I certainly can't do it) but it looks beautiful when done well and needs really solid technique in the arabesque to land properly. 

 

 

 

 

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That's Franziska who teaches at Danceworks, London. Her videos are great!

 

Mrs Brown, it's an ISTD grade 5 and RAD Advanced Foundation step, I believe 🙂

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Yes that’s Franziska Rosenzweig who teaches at Danceworks on Thursdays and sundays and where she lives in East London near Mile End.
she once danced with the Berlin Ballet. 


It has to be appreciated that this is a demonstration video on the build up

and practice of the step but it is quite an energetic step and would usually be taken faster than this as part of the grand allegro section of a ballet class ( in the final jumps etc) 

Franziska is demonstrating the use of the grand battlement ...usually ending most barre sections in class ....in this step. But it’s often done on a run or build up of steps to it! The importance is that the front grand battlement should be about the same height as the arabesque you land in and it’s quite hard to keep that arabesque leg up when landing the jump and getting the correct action in the air so hip and body placement are important in learning to do it. 

 

Edited by LinMM
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Scottish Ballet - Grand allegro with Jeté Entrelacé

 

As Jeté Entrelacé is very common as part of the Grand Allegro in Professional classes, it didn't take me long to find this example in Scottish Ballet's Company Class.  If you go to 1.11 and 30 seconds the teacher walks through the enchainment twice naming each step as he demonstrates.  Then you have all the company in different groups doing it full out - enjoy!

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Square hips all the way! 

 

Professionals have the strength and control to change the alignment of their hips if the choreographer asks for it, but in my opinion at least, this no longer makes the movement a 'pure' arabesque.

 

Festivals........ well...... can of worms there! 

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20 hours ago, Pas de Quatre said:

Scottish Ballet - Grand allegro with Jeté Entrelacé

 

As Jeté Entrelacé is very common as part of the Grand Allegro in Professional classes, it didn't take me long to find this example in Scottish Ballet's Company Class.  If you go to 1.11 and 30 seconds the teacher walks through the enchainment twice naming each step as he demonstrates.  Then you have all the company in different groups doing it full out - enjoy!

well that will be her entertainment today - she will love watching that. I did take them to see I think it was the Birmingham Royal Ballet company class on stage a few years ago (it was cheaper than watching the actual ballet so we could afford it) but she was very young so can't really remember it. Never thought to look online to watch a company class. Thank you

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There is a wealth of ballet online these days.  Company classes, extracts from ballets and full ballets.  Just caution with some of the training tips, some are excellent, some downright dangerous.  I always tell my pupils not to try to learn a movement shown online if I haven't taught it to them yet - there is a reason.

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2 hours ago, Mrs Brown said:

well that will be her entertainment today - she will love watching that. I did take them to see I think it was the Birmingham Royal Ballet company class on stage a few years ago (it was cheaper than watching the actual ballet so we could afford it) but she was very young so can't really remember it. Never thought to look online to watch a company class. Thank you

 there are loads of full company classes on  youtube and on companies' own websites usually from world Ballet day   ... 

e.g. https://northernballet.com/digitaldance/films/live/company-class  this is from Dec 2018 which explains why Hannah was  on presenter duties rather than taking class ... 

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18 hours ago, Bluebird22 said:

Square up to 90 then a slight open above! 

 

Renato Paroni: "it's like housing benefit, you've got to give it everything you've got before you apply."

 

(I don't think that's actually how housing benefit works but it's a great correction on hip placement.)

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Here’s a link to Royal Ballet’s company class from 2019’s World Ballet Day:  

 

 

and a link to the very useful Ballet Glossary, recorded a few years ago at the Royal Opera House; this one on Arabesques featuring a young Romany Pajdak: 

 

 

 

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That is a lovely extract from the glossary, however beware of the "numbering". All systems have the same position for 1st and 2nd arabesque but then they differ.

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See RB soloist Joe Sissen’s arabesque with correct hips 👏

 

 

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