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Pas de Deux


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What age do boys generally start to prepare for partnering work? Is it a long steady process that you work slowly up to?

Do boys generally do upper body work, conditioning etc to prepare for it?

 

Thanks

 

Jill

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I don't know the starting age but I would imagine it most be a long steady process as it has to go hand in hand with his physical development.  I know in 6th form gym work is standard for boys but why I posted really was to ask if you were aware of the pas de deux workshop on 7th April as a joint venture between the RAD and Ballet Cymru. I haven't got a link I can post but I know if you go on the RAD website, news and events section for South West and Wales it is called Dancing Together.  Alternatively if you are on facebook visit the RAD South West and Wales page for further details.

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Partnering for both boys and girls can actually begin at a young age - early teens - as the girls become more proficient on pointe.

 

Partnering does not necessarily mean lifting the girls - there is a great deal to learn before that happens.  Just holding hands as she balances in arabesque.  Promenading that arabesque is a difficult element to learn.  Even dancing together without touching - he has to learn to match her tempo and stride.  The tendency is, of course, for the male to cover ground more widely - and he has to learn to ameliorate this to match her lesser ability to cover ground in big strides.  Since he is standing behind her - generally speaking - he has to learn to match her pattern and line: head, hands, feet.  Learning to support her in pirouettes and she has to learn how to respond to a supported pirouette.

 

These are a few of the many skills to be undertaken before there is any lifting.

 

Most of the boys/men do take extra strength building training.  It all has to be done carefully because his neck, back, shoulders are at risk. 

 

She has to learn how to help him help her.

 

Learning to dance with another person is one of the most difficult elements of dance training - but oh so much fun!

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My DS has been doing partnering since he joined his vocational school at 14; lifting started a little later when he had been at the school about 6 months and by this I mean more like assisted jumps (e.g. so the girl was about 2ft above his head height briefly) plus he did 'fish dive' after one year. This year he has been doing bigger lifts (e.g. he learnt one of the sleeping beauty pas de deux) including carrying his partner at shoulder height for a distance. As well as normal class he does gym weight training to strengthen arms and upper back about 3-5 times a week (I'm not sure exactly what but could easily find out if you want to know). He is currently 15 1/2 and 5 foot 10 1/2 inches. He says he has never had (so far touch wood) any back pain associated with doing lifts... Prior to vocational school he hadn't done any pas de deux at all (and not much ballet either really!).

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  • 8 years later...
On 17/05/2021 at 08:54, meadowblythe said:

 

Just to say it is, according to DS, more about technique than sheer muscle.    Strong core and willing to communicate means happy partnership.  Both apply for both genders!

certainly from contact improv  Contemporary  stuff i;ve done  which did involve  dancers taking the full weight of others   it;s not just  pure strength 

 I also think the  distiction between partnering  and  the full lifts is important  

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It's not just all on the boys either - the girls have to coordinate their moves to help the boys.  There's a lot of timing and coordination to be developed.  And trust!   I wish there were more pas de deux courses for those who don't normally have the opportunity.  Most pre vocational students hardly get to see a boy let alone start partnering! 

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