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Simply Adult Ballet: the progress of one adult dancer who took up ballet later in life


Michelle_Richer
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I do recognise what you originally said now Michelle it’s just I wouldn’t have called it a jump ...it’s a sharp push onto pointe from straight legs and is used in part of a warm up at the barre...so it isn’t really a releve or a jump. 
But beginners don’t usually perform changement on pointe as this is an advanced movement if you literally mean starting and finishing up on pointe. 

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Once you leave the ground...as in a jump there has to be a plié. You could push into a jump without a plié but would need one to land even if a small jump. It wouldn’t have to be a deep plié but it would be there! 
In the exercise Michelle is talking about you are not actually jumping...just using leg and ankle strength to push onto pointe ( or Demi pointe) and then closing again....it’s usually executed from first or a small second position. 

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Michelle will have to come back and clarify for us! This 

just imagine it as a high speed rise on to pointe where with the momentum you leave the ground.

 

made me think it’s a small jump through the feet with no plié to start, rather than a quick rise up to pointe. I think it’s possible to come down on a straight leg going through the foot as you literally leave the floor by a hairs width! Could be wrong there may be a little give

Edited by Peony
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The action doesn’t work so well for Demi pointe as it is then more of a quick rise with no plié ...when on pointe though it has to be much sharper to actually push up but you wouldn’t actually leave the ground even when on full pointe in that particular exercise so don’t need a plié. 
It’s hard enough especially for beginners to get up into full pointe position but if you do leave the ground even half an inch you would need a small Demi plié on return unless you want to do your knees in of course!! 

 

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Posted (edited)

Firstly in the jump I described you are airborne by an inch or 2, there is no plie on either the ascent or the decent, this is purely to increase the ankle and metatarsal strength, in our exercises we do for this in first position, second position which is a little harder and on one leg with the other at cou-de-pied which is really tough, first position can be done with a towel clenched between your thighs.

 

Linn: As for the changement on pointe, that was probable down to me finishing off the music in one of our exercises by adding in a little conventional changement, I think that inspired our teacher to show us the changement with out coming off pointe during the landing, however it does involve clenching your toes which is normally very much frowned upon 

Edited by Michelle_Richer
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3 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

Unless one is using a barre, I'm pretty sure the laws of physics don't allow for a standing jump without some sort of knee bend.

 

Indeed! Also, landing from any sort of jump onto straight legs can’t be good for any part of the body.  

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6 hours ago, LinMM said:

I do recognise what you originally said now Michelle it’s just I wouldn’t have called it a jump ...it’s a sharp push onto pointe from straight legs and is used in part of a warm up at the barre...so it isn’t really a releve or a jump. 

 

I see what you mean, Lin - for example, standing facing the barre, feet in parallel, and “snatching” quickly onto pointe without rolling through demi-pointe? 

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Yes you can do in parallel or from first or second position ....at least that’s how the exercise I know is executed. You can rise slowly through the whole foot ( very strengthening of the toes) or releve using a plié as shown in your video or this push from straight legs onto pointe probably more strengthening for the ankle. Mind you it’s a few years now since I’ve been in pointe shoes but often don’t mind doing pointe work exercises in class on Demi for general foot strengthening. 

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3 hours ago, bangorballetboy said:

Unless one is using a barre, I'm pretty sure the laws of physics don't allow for a standing jump without some sort of knee bend.

There’s upward momentum from going through the (strong muscles!) of the feet at speed (especially repeatedly). Maybe not ‘jump’ so much as leave the floor a fraction, slightly ungainly hop is a better description for my effort but it is certainly possible without pointe shoes on and reasonably flexible and strong feet

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Without pointe shoes on it would definitely have to turn into a jump.. maybe a very small one but because you won’t be going onto your toes in flat shoes ( unless showing off to friends!) you can push your feet out from straight legs but unless stopping at Demi you would have to leave the floor I reckon there would still be a smidgeon of a  Demi plié on bringing the feet back together though. Try this from second position and see what happens!  

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Posted (edited)

Wow and I thought I was the beginner here.

What a lot of disbelief, when is a jump not a jump?, a hop perhaps as suggested by Peony.

For me a hop suggests on one leg, not two. We are strongly and immediately corrected by our teacher if our legs / feet are not symmetrical on either the accent, decent or in the air, that is true of of any movement.

 

Although this is a beginner pointe course, its been running now for almost a year, we started on day one with pointe shoes on. The jump is a natural progression from rises on strait legs for strength building. We have spent weeks, and weeks with various rises slowly up onto full pointe, down to 80% pointe (on the edge of the block) and back again in all position. Basically everything we do is based on building strength. The fast rise off the ground is a natural progression providing you have developed the strength to do so, and both feet are clear off the ground,

 

I can still hear my teachers commands Jump, pointe, close and Linn is quite correct when you descend you do go through demi-pointe, in fact you resist to some extent all the way down, but maintaining those strait legs.

 

Cumming back to bangorballetboy assumption that we were using the barre, that's quite correct, but our teacher discourages relying on the arms, by insisting we cross our arms over, it makes it much harder. We now do all our pointework exercises with the arms crossed.

 

The jumping exercise I have described we have only been doing for the last couple of weeks.

Edited by Michelle_Richer
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Might help for people to think of how a kangaroo jumps- no knees just using the ankle joint as a lever. But adding to the power by going through the foot on the way up

and down. I haven’t seen it as a pointe prep exercise but it takes a lot of strength and flexibility so can see why it may be useful. I’d be a bit worried about slipping on a pointe shoe sole though, and a bit worried about misjudging and coming down onto full pointe with a straight knee. As a novice I’ve never felt in full control of my feet in pointe shoes though!

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I think most dancers have a love/hate relationship with their pointe shoes and doing pointe work generally.

I was terrible as used to wear mine until they were pretty soft as hated new ones not really that good for the feet of course. 
I never realised Kangaroos didn’t really have knees in fact Peony you got me looking at videos of Kangaroos hopping lol! Their legs are just so weird!  Apparently they also use their tale as a sort of extra leg for balancing when grazing etc. 
And can use their legs separately only when swimming! 
They really are extraordinary creatures. 
There’s a new instruction....now everybody ( whoops nearly said girls) just imagine you are a kangaroo when you push off. 

 

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19 hours ago, Anna C said:

for example, standing facing the barre, feet in parallel, and “snatching” quickly onto pointe without rolling through demi-pointe? 

 

That's a releve, surely?

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2 minutes ago, Kate_N said:

 

That's a releve, surely?

which inherently comes with a plie ... it is  in the definition  or  releve  vs  the eleve (rise) ... 



Complete side note  ( interesting exercise which iirc comes from PBT- to make you  think about  releve 5th + weight placement  is to drill  the  releve 5th it from a  a tendu devant en  fondue so all the work is done by the 'back'  (supporting ) leg because the working leg  is completely unloaded  at the start  rasther an  for 'safety'  tending to put the weight more equally in both legs  starting from fifth ... 

 

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My understanding is that a releve involves a Demi plié whereas you can push up onto pointe without a demi plié....so not strictly a releve. 
Where I differ from Michelle on this is that it’s a jump onto pointe which would mean leaving the floor. 
Some people might describe an echappe as  a bit of a jump onto pointe though it’s not supposed to be of course. 
Im very glad my pointe days are over though occasionally hanker after a nice bourree across the room on pointe ....just not the same on demi! 

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I don’t think Michelle is jumping on to pointe? Just doing a small jump in the pointe shoes. Might have misunderstood... Jumping onto pointe with knees straight is a no no I agree! 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Peony said:

I don’t think Michelle is jumping on to pointe? Just doing a small jump in the pointe shoes. 

Hi Peony

You have it absolutely right, I’m not jumping on to pointe, even though my teachers instruction were jump pointe close.

 

Its simply a high speed rise with strait legs through demi and through full pointe into the air, then descending through full pointe and demi etc. resisting to some extent on the way down, providing a similar braking action via the metatarsal and ankle as to what you are normally used to with the legs going through a plie, even that if its done properly, you will still articulate some of the weight through the feet.

 

Obviously using with strait legs the ankle and metatarsals need to be very much stronger to articulate braking force through them. That's why we have spent weeks and weeks going through rises at different speeds to produce sustained and controlled ascent as well as a resisting decent so we don’t incur injury on landing, I have also mentioned as part of this, its not just up and down, we have spent a lot of time going between full pointe and 80% pointe, and alternating between the two.

 

As if that's not hard enough for us to alternate between these two levels, we also have to repeat the exercise in second position and also on one leg.

 

When you think you have just about cracked it in most positions, the teacher insists you cross your hands holding the barre so you make more use of the power in your feet. Its tough but its very much about building strength, rather than looking pretty.

 

The jump on strait legs in all 3 positions is just a natural progression, hope that makes it clear to everyone.

 

Edited by Michelle_Richer
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Posted (edited)

I find Anna C releve video quite interesting, particularly when the dancer is on pointe in 2nd position, it seams as if she has limited mobility in the Tibia -Talus joint and has taken that up by increasing the range (bend ) in the toes metatarsals, even on releve 5th I do detect slight curling (scrunching) inward of the toes.

 

Although her movements are gorgeously beautifully with little or no effort, I have noticed with other dancers there is considerable more movement above the ankle on the Tibia – Talus joint, so consequently I've been focusing on increasing that mobility.

 

1553821038_footmobility1.thumb.jpg.21acbd75a0d5d872f077bbc212d29594.jpg

Edited by Michelle_Richer
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The dancer in the video is the Royal Ballet’s Romany Pajdak, Michelle.  She trained at the Royal Ballet School and was promoted to Soloist in 2019.  Although the ROH’s “Glossary” series was filmed some time ago, Pajdak’s technique in the video is excellent; she’s not pushing forward or trying to go over on her platforms, she most certainly is not scrunching her toes.  Rather, she is *pulling upwards*, using her legs and core correctly, and has a beautiful straight line from platform to past her knee.  

 

There is *so*much more to correct pointework than mobility at the front of the ankle.

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I find her almost perfectly straight up on pointe ...just about the perfect place you can be with a nice straight line created with the leg ...I have to say she doesn’t appear to me to be over pushing onto her toes and I’ve watched it several times. 

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13 minutes ago, LinMM said:

I find her almost perfectly straight up on pointe ...just about the perfect place you can be with a nice straight line created with the leg ...I have to say she doesn’t appear to me to be over pushing onto her toes and I’ve watched it several times. 

 

And presumably, as this is an official ROH issue, one can assume the move is well executed (even if you are not familiar with the dancer).

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She looks in the correct position to me too. Sometimes it’s just a question of slightly different foot anatomy. With different arch and instep height the metatarsals meet at a slightly different angle. 
there are definitely world class dancers who appear to wear shoes that allow a bit of knuckling but I personally think Romany Padjak has very good, clean technique. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi People

 

I must apologies for my absence from this thread, as I’ve been on Holiday in Scotland with my partner Adrian, Unfortunately we were not able to showcase our rep work there this year, but we did pop in and see Gillian our rep coach and very dear friend.

 

I agree with everyone's comments as to the beautiful technique displayed by Romany Padjak, I think Peony sums it up well in her comment, I guess at the end of the day I'm only splitting hairs.

As for the foot position in second, I guess I’ve just been looking at too too many enchappe’s in the Cygnets dance where the steepness of the foot is a little more pronounce, and of course as Anna_C indicates is achieved by “pulling upwards using her legs and core correctly” , personally I like to see the big toe more or less in line with the heel, but that's my personal preference.

 

I love her comment “There is *so*much more to correct pointework than mobility at the front of the ankle”, do feel free my learned friend to enlighten me.

 

Coming back to the original discussion on the thread, jumps without plies in pointe shoes, It seams according to Gail Grant’s “Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet”, that a Plie is not mentioned under Relevé, other than for the Cecchetti method, which also applies to the Russian method.

However I came across the term “Elevé”, which seams to better describe our pointe work movement to launch the metatarsal strengthening jump, although our teacher does use the word relevé although she clearly demonstrates it without a plie.

I guess Elevé is a slang term which is gathering momentum and may evolve into a proper description of this rising movement.

 

For the moment I'm basically taking a break from Ballet other than my pointe work, as we have a lots of house catch up renovation work to do. However we will resume things in the last week of September when I start my new schedule, hopefully it will include another two pointe classes a week, one will replace my rep as we are virtually up to date for this year, also with the same teacher, we will restart rep again in January with pieces from La Bayadere for 2022.

 

 

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14 hours ago, Peony said:

No jumping off any walls whilst you’re working on your renovations Michelle!

My you do have a good memory Peony, however as you can imagine I have since increased my horizon to higher things. While on my break I have repaired a split in our fibre glass facing you in the picture, sadly the company that supplied it has long gone out of business.

 

One thing from ballet that became extremely useful was stepping on to a ladder from the flat roof using turnout, so the extended foot steps along the spell of the ladder, allowing the hand from the same side to hold onto the ladder before transferring the weight off the roof, very stable and very safe.

Before ballet it was always a little bit frightening making that first step when I was stepping out on to the arch of my  foot.

 

68912039_MichellesHouse.jpg.361919090a0f37a24ee7390f79903510.jpg

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Nice piccie Michelle! And no heavy lifting either! I know you like to do things at 110 per cent but a kindly reminder that we are not getting any younger ....I’m waiting for the expletives lol!.......
 

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