Jump to content

Pet hates-the ballet version.


Thecatsmother
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was coaching a student yesterday who committed the cardinal sin of performing a temps leve in arabesque jumping off two legs. I did tell her it was one of my bad ballet technique pet hates along with chasses which are not started with a demi plié.

 

Thought it might be interesting to start a thread answering the questions. What specifically gets to you when you see executed without good technique? In addition, what are the steps that you personally hate so much that you give the teacher evil looks when they are put in an enchainement?

 

I still hate grand jete en tournant and look with envy at some dancers who perform them so effortlessly.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My pet peeve is a temps levé into chassé which is done as a hop - instead of first  fully stretching both feet in 5th position in the air - a true pencil point, - and then the moving foot moves up into sur le cou de pied, and then into the chassé - or whatever is choreographed next.  

 

Another is in the preparation for tour jeté (or as some call it grand jeté entournant entralacé) (discussed in the "terminology thread). In this preparation the dancer at one point pulls back and turns toward the back of the room before beginning the jump - there is a training foot.  That trailing foot must be pointed.  Too often, in the exictement of the jump the dancer allows that trailing foot to pivot on the heel.  ICK!!!

 

As for my least favorite step  to do was a true grand renversé on pointe - it always felt like my neck was going to snap and I would end up a paraplegic.   

 

There is a beautiful example of it in the Grand Pas de Deux - Don Quixote - with Natalia Makarova and Fernando Bujones doing side by side reversés.at 3:23

 

 

 

This performance was televised live - we taped it live - 1978.  I believe it was her first performance after giving birth.  Fernando Bujones had, in my opinion, one of the cleanest technques I've ever seen and the purest lines.  He left us much much too soon.

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well that's a timely post as tomorrow I go to a class which shares four teachers on a rotation basis. It's a non graded class.

Tomorrow is the teacher who loves any turns and loves that renversee movement. This is quite an advanced step and I have never really been taught officially how to do it as in a grade class. So have had to pick up as best I can in this class......where it has been demonstrated several times to me in by that teacher but as its not a graded class she cant spend forever sorting this out for me!! the others seem to know it. Of course its NOT on pointe so may have a completely different feel then....but I do quite like the feel of it when I can rarely get it right......and it is one of those steps in which I think the reward comes from doing it correctly.

 

My pet hate is a much easier step than a renversee and its brisees and even worse brisee volees(I'm doing the double ees as haven't got the French accent on keyboard) I wish I could like them but I don't!!

I do like to see pas de bourrees done cleanly and Ive been mainly taught the more Russian style which is to pick them up more and this does encourage quick footwork but not keen on "lazy" ones!

 

Thanks for the clip Anjuli. I do have a soft spot for Makarova as she took so much trouble with my autograph(in the days when I thought it important to collect them) on my copy of Ring of Bright Water and spent some time looking at the pics in he book!! I was struck how small and delicate she looked close up but was actually incredibly strong!! Her mad scene in Giselle is still one of my favourite interpretations. In this clip I like her launch into those arabesques.....body beautifully extended and perfectly aligned leg nothing extreme

Unfortunately I have never seen Bujones dance was he with ABT?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It Really annoys me when, in a sequence of temps leves in arabesque, the dancer flings her front arm in arabesque beyond a true British arabesque line- opposite the eyeline- into a far more Russian line, where the arm is by the ear. To me this looks messy abd uncontrolled. If she then twists her hips so that when travellung endiagonale so her hips both face the front.... Ew. :-P

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In reply to the questions about Fernando Bujones....

 

He joined ABT in the early 1970's and was made principal dancer within only two yrs.  He was one of the finest dancers I've ever seen.   He had the misfortune of occupying the same time and space with Baryishnikov at ABT.  Baryshnikov's international fame beginning with his escape to the West worked against Bujones as well as the bias of many people  who consider the only true ballet dancers must be from Russia.  It is a bias difficult to overcome especially, since of course Baryshnikov was a fine dancer, too.  But the homegrown prophet is often overlooked.  Bujones really never got his due (my personal opinion).

 

Bujones left ABT and danced and directed in S. America, evenutally settling, in Florida where he had a school and company.  He died in 2006 of melanoma - I think he was only in his 50's.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh wow I have so many of these pet peeves! One is a pose temps levé in arabesque done off two feet - THATS A SISSONNE! Also, I hate it when glissades don't close into a tight 5th before the next step, especially if the next step is a step utilising the back foot eg jété or assemblé. I also get grumpy about poor alignment in arabesque. Oh and dancers who 'hop and run' - a most irritating affliction!

 

I do find a lot of my pet peeves come from poor teaching but they also appear to be synonymous with festivals!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest chinafish

One of mine that I cringe when I see it, are any sorts of posés, or piqués, stepped on with a bent leg. (I probably still do it sometimes - my knee thinks its straight but it's not, so I know it's hard! But still...)

 

Another one is an overarched back, especially with leg extended to the back either in arabesque or attitude. I see the effort to hike the leg up, but the upper body does not move forward to compensate for it, so the leg doesn't go higher anyway but the lower back looks strained.

 

Or that the upper body moves too far forward in almost a dive, and a strained neck to keep looking forward.

 

Fish

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I wish I had seen Bujones....he's certainly wonderful in that clip.

 

Yes I like glissades to close in fifth......and I wish I could do it more neatly myself sometimes!!

I think what happens is you are so busy thinking about the next bit of an enchainement that the poor old glissade gets a bit neglected.

 

Often one knows in ones head how it should be but it doesn't always translate into the body so easily.

 

On a slightly different note I love Sissone and tant de cuisse?.......not sure of spelling....combined.

Temps de cuisse?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ooooh posé turns onto a bent knee is another! URGH!

 

Temps de cuisse are nice - Italian or French?! I like the French ones, they're a bit 'nippier'! I also like sissonne doubleé and coupé fouetté raccourci sauté.... Perhaps we should have another thread on movements/steps we like?!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like both those too.

Didn't know there were two versions of temps de cuisse. I imagine mine is the French one as it is pretty nippy!

In this version you quickly pass the back foot to the front and immediately do a Sissone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anjuli, I am afraid I have to disagree with you - a temps leve is in fact a hop on one leg and therefore is perfectly acceptable to use before a chasse -  for example as a petit develope with a temps leve into the chasse.  What you are describing that you want to see, which is of course absolutely legitimate too, is a sissone ordinaire going into the chasse, but this is just another way of doing it.  :)  

 

My pet hate is a series of pas de bourees which don't close into 5th at all.  I get students who think that the extension to the side is the end of the pas de bouree, rather than the beginning, and they almost turn it into a coupe at the end.  This is problematic because firstly it very often means that they don't know which foot is in front and which is back, whereas if they closed briefly in 5th before releasing the leg to the side, they would know.  And secondly, pas de bouree is often followed by a step that starts from 5th, and if the student is used to finishing in an open position, it complicates matters.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Anjuli, I am afraid I have to disagree with you - a temps leve is in fact a hop on one leg and therefore is perfectly acceptable to use before a chasse -  for example as a petit develope with a temps leve into the chasse.  What you are describing that you want to see, which is of course absolutely legitimate too, is a sissone ordinaire going into the chasse, but this is just another way of doing it.   :)  "

 

Actually, I think we might agree - a temps levé is perfectly acceptable to use before a chassé - my caveat is that wherever the other foot is going - into a chassé - or somewhere else - it has to come through 5th - what say you?

 

This could also be a difference in vocabulary,  I don't think that "sissone ordinaire" is a term much used in American ballet classes.  But I could be wrong!

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before the cou de pied.  Once in cou de pied, the foot descends again through 5th and out into the chassé.  My pet peeve is when the foot is in cou de pied and flings out into chassé without going through fifth.

 

So, the sequence would be temps levé, to cou de pied, down through 5th and then into chassé.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now what you are saying you dislike Anjuli, I would call a sissonne tombé, the foot that lifts to cou de pied devant continues into a small developpé and the dancer falls forward onto it, which is a different step and not a chassé at all.

 

By the way I loved the Don Q video.  In particular I like the hops on pointe in attitude in the échappés to 2nd sequence.  It is rarely seen these days and usually substitued by a posé into pirouette in attitude.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before the cou de pied.  Once in cou de pied, the foot descends again through 5th and out into the chassé.  My pet peeve is when the foot is in cou de pied and flings out into chassé without going through fifth.

 

So, the sequence would be temps levé, to cou de pied, down through 5th and then into chassé.

 

I think this is a semantics/terminology issue. A sissonne ordinaire is used here to describe a jump off two feet into a tight 5th on the way up, as in a soubresaut but landing on one foot, usually with the gesture leg in coup de pied. A temps leve is understood to be a jump taking off from one foot and landing on the same, single leg. 

 

The 'springing' preparation for a chasse if beginning from 5th then is written as follows: sissonne ordinaire devant followed by a petit developpe devant into tombe/chasse to 4th en avant.

 

If I understand correctly, what Anjuli dislikes to see is the petit developpe action? Or perhaps a lack of clarity between either petit developpe or no petit developpe  (in which case, why the hop in the first place?!)

 

Just to confuse the issue, it can also be done with a jumping coupe - instead of beginning on two feet in 5th, the dancer begins in classical pose (B+) and jumps onto the back foot, releasing the front foot before either putting it into a tight 5th demi plie to begin the chasse, or releasing it into a petit developpe. 

 

One more semantical (is that even a word?! - ironic) issue is that I've also come across the term 'toe chasse' to describe a cross between a tombe and a chasse!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now what you are saying you dislike Anjuli, I would call a sissonne tombé, the foot that lifts to cou de pied devant continues into a small developpé and the dancer falls forward onto it, which is a different step and not a chassé at all.

 

By the way I loved the Don Q video.  In particular I like the hops on pointe in attitude in the échappés to 2nd sequence.  It is rarely seen these days and usually substitued by a posé into pirouette in attitude.

  It is indeed a different step - the one I am referencing is when the cou de pied foot comes back down through 5th, and slides out upon the ground - which would be a chasse.

 

However, when that cou de pied foot falls out without going back down through 5th - we call that a tombé.

 

What I don't like is when one is substituted for the other - wily nily - though sloppiness.   I like to see the clarity between them.  If a chassé is called for - I want to see that foot go down through fifth and then out.  If a tombé is called for - then fall forward into it - I wan to see a difference.

 

I think I just made everything muddier!.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now what you are saying you dislike Anjuli, I would call a sissonne tombé, the foot that lifts to cou de pied devant continues into a small developpé and the dancer falls forward onto it, which is a different step and not a chassé at all.

 

By the way I loved the Don Q video.  In particular I like the hops on pointe in attitude in the échappés to 2nd sequence.  It is rarely seen these days and usually substitued by a posé into pirouette in attitude.

 

I'm glad you enjoyed the Don Q - it is one of my favorites.  It was part of a spectacular evening of dance in the "Live from Lincoln Center" series.  There is quite a story involved in what happened that evening....worthy of a movie - a clash of egos - and heartbreak.  The year was 1978.  

 

The program as I recall included:   Les Sylphides, Don Q PDD, Theme and Variations, Firebird.

 

The leading dancers included,  D’Antonuo, Wright, Tcherkasky, Nagy, Makarova, Bujones, Kirkland, Baryshnikov, Gregory, Browne, Meehan.

 

Interviews with: Kirkland, Bruhn, Makarova

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do agree with your step descriptions and trying to clarify the differences!

 

It seems that in the Russian style chasse is used less often and is more of a step out or a tombe. But throughout the dance the neatness of those 5th positions being clearly seen both in the movement you describe and someone else mentioned in Sissone and also in assembles and pas de bourrees. It's worth working for those 5ths I think.

 

Today in my class NO renversee but this piece which went: two attitude turns

Chasse into chainees straight into

Retiree, place into 4th then pirouette finish in 5th

Immediately another pirouette finish 5th

Temps levee chasse pas de bourree to the other direction been travelling in

Chasse into 4th prepare for final en dedans pirouette!!

 

So plenty of turns there!! Luckily only one brisee today right on the end of a longer petit allegro so,not too taxing but still hateful!!

 

I can see in the above enchainement that the possibility of the thing you dislike Anjuli.......of the 5th not being shown clearly before the chasse could have arisen in that class. Hopefully today mea no culpa but couldn't guarantee this!!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My pet peeve is something I used to see at my little local dance school... when in pointe shoes the girls have their pointed back foot in preparation actually on the tip of the block, not pointed and stretched fully behind them. I remember taking school photos and I was the only one with a properly pointed back foot but I looked wrong compared to the others... argh!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that position only too well I'm afraid - believe me, they do that even in soft shoes! And what about when the foot is like that AND sickled?????? Aaaaaargh!

 

I'm afraid I love the toe chasse and much prefer using it to the regular chasse! The RAD uses it a lot and I like the fact that after the temps leve petit developpe, the foot stays pointed and just the toes slide along the floor. To me it looks nicer. I also don't like the tombe into a lifted arabesque line after the sissone - I like the toes to remain on the floor.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dance*is*life I saw a few chasses today that ended with the 2nd foot almost doing some kind of battement jete derriere! I'm with you in that it's not what I like to see, I much prefer the 2nd leg to extend to tendu, or very slightly off the floor.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...