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Seconde en l'air


swanprincess
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I was practicing the positions required for vocational school application photos, and noticed that on my developpe to 2nd, when my left leg is extended above shoulder height, my ribcage juts out to the right, and vice versa. Is this inevitable/ acceptable, or would it be considered a sign of bad technique? Sorry if it makes no sense!!! ;)

Edited for spelling

Edited by swanprincess
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I'm no expert, but I would assume that the further above 90 degrees your leg is, the more difficult it would be to keep your centre. If google "developpé à la seconde" and look at the images, you will see that a leg at 90 and just above should be held there by your core strength, keeping your ribcage centred.

 

Hopefully one of our lovely teachers will explain it much better than I!

 

What I think my dd's teacher would say is that it is better to have beautiful lines and solid technique with a slightly lower leg than sacrificing technique for extreme leg height. :-)

 

 

Edited to add I've just asked my dd and she says to try to stay centred so that you have a line down through your middle from the top of your head, which follows down the inside of your supporting leg (hope that makes sense!) and to make sure you're centred and beautifully turned out before worrying too much about leg height. She says her core strength holds her leg up.

 

Do the application forms give a sketch of the required positions - and indicate leg height?

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As can be seen in x-ray photos in Celia Sparger's "Anatomy and Ballet" any height above 40 degrees to the side starts to move the pelvis off center - it begins to tip. 

 

This happens for two reasons: one is that the hip joint is formed in such a way that further height is not possible without this allowance.  But it also happens because if one is standing on one leg the weight of the body has to move further away from the lifted leg to maintain balance on that one leg.

 

So how do ballet dancers do it?  How do they give the impression that nothing has changed?

 

If you go to google images and type in "developpe a la seconde" you will see pictures of dancers with should/ear high legs.  Don't look at the ones in which the dancer is holding onto a barre - look at the ones where the dancer is self-supporting.

 

Now look carefully at the picture.  In every case the dancer's pelvis has tipped to accommodate that high leg - but - above the pelvis the body/torso is erect - and centrally balanced over the standing leg.  The dancer's head is directly over the standing foot (toe if on pointe).

 

Unless you are required to send photos of a specific leg height, I would opt for first making sure you are well turned out, That your leg height does not go beyond the point of where you can hold your center, that your arms make graceful arcs and triangles with your lifted leg, and you are in correct technical balance.

 

The key here is "correct technical balance" since it is possible to learn to hold one's balance incorrectly.  One of the tests for this is when you have attained your best position while standing on a flat foot you should be able to rise to demi-pointe without any noticeable weight shift.

 

I hope something I've said here makes sense.  If you would like to send me your pictures (with your parents' permission) I would be happy to comment.  And good luck!

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It is interesting this leg a la seconde and what looks good. I have seen some well known Russian dancers who can hold their legs above shoulder height etc but a few look okay and others look a bit distorted in my opinion and therefore this can look a bit ugly if one is not careful. One thing ballet should not be is ugly!! So for some people.....and we are all made slightly differently....it is better to sacrifice the height of the leg to keep a good line. Ballet is not called Classical Ballet for nothing!!! The beauty of the line is all in my opinion unless there is a movement as part of a choreographic piece for a particular purpose etc.

 

Sometimes even if the leg is only at 90 but there is a real strength in the extension this can look very beautiful. I would like to work out at which angle in fact the line becomes distorted anyway....as the higher the leg the closer it will be to the body so probably not much higher than 135-40 I should think!! But at any rate the upper body should not be leaning over too much to compensate for the leg height.

 

It's sort of similar with an arabesque derriere....You have to keep the upper body upright against that 90 degree angle before you are really ready to penche forwards into a deep arabesque where some people are able to almost reach 180 degree angle etc. However a leg held at only 90-135 but powered away from the body in a strongly held extension can look really beautiful too.

It is inevitable that very young people are tempted to get very high legs with all the enthusiasm of youth and why not? But remember to keep in mind the beauty of the line at the same time and how the body is placed in the space around it.

To me it is always the strength or power in the extension which is important rather than the extreme height of the leg but if you are lucky enough to be able to go for both then that's great. :)

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Thankyou everyone that has given me a lot to think about :-)

Yes Anjuli, I have read that book, and know what you mean.

I trained (recreationally) in gymnastics from a very young age, so I suppose I always instinctively thought that the more flexible, the better, but understand now that turnout is more vital.

I will show the photos to my teacher and see what she thinks :-)

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We are going to ask our DD's teacher to help us with the photos as they tend to know what the schools are looking for.  It might cost us a little bit but apparently the photos are a bit element to the application process.  I would also agree going for better technique than height but then again they might be looking for flexibility?  I'm sure a teacher help you out.

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