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Leaping into new year-a grand jete in action.


Thecatsmother
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Thought it might be interesting to start a thread on what makes a beautiful grande jete? We see so many performed on stage or in class but some linger longer in the memory than others. A few questions to stimulate discussion. Which dancer comes to mind when you think of beautiful grand jetes? What is needed to perform this step with elegance and style? What imagery, exercises or technical advice can help dancers improve grand jetes? I personally do not think that excessive hyper mobility necessarily generates the best jete. For me, so much of the key to this step is in the preparation and line in the air.

Be interesting to hear the views of others....

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ENB's Nancy Osbaldeston jumps so beautifully; I could watch her jete all day. I don't have enough knowledge to work out what it is that makes her jumps so special, but she's so "springy" and fluid that she epitomises pure joy to me in her grand allegro. :-)

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For me, too, it is the moment of suspension in the air.

 

Nijinski said that to achieve this he inhaled at the height of the arc.  A good example of this is in Le Spectre de la Rose - he is a dream which pauses in the air.   I've tried that and taught it and it did alter the trajectory of the arc and gave that moment of suspension.

 

I  think that a split grand jeté, because it has no arc cannot have as effective a suspension.

 

However, there is a place for the split (NOT OVERSPLIT) grand jeté - when ground needs to be covered as part of the story.  An example which comes to mind is the enrance of Solor in the first act La Bayadere - he does split grand jetés circling the temple fire ring which announces his entrance and emphasizes his presence.  Tsiskaridze does this magnificently.

 

I also think that the placement of the shoulders, arms and head are crucial to the seeming ease of the suspension.  

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Agreed, ballon. I dance with a lady in her late 50's and she jetes at about a 45 degree split but appears to hang effortlessly mid air - it's a joy to watch and neither she nor I can work our how she does it?? Any ideas Anjuli? X

 

The aforementioned inhalation helps.

 

Also, it helps to be aware of intending to hover at the height of the arc.

 

Sounds strange, but sometimes we forget that intention as we jump.  Intend to make an arc. Intend to hover.

 

We tend to push forward rather than upward.

 

It also helps to realize that the air has substance - birds use it - their wings push against it.  We tend to see it as "empty space" but its not.  Visualize yourself using the air to bouy the body - to hold the body up.

 

And - some people simply have a happier combination of Achilles/musculature combination.  I remember a lady in a class I taught who was terrific at this and she was quite (very) overweight.  

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I agree with Anjuli about the Achilles/musculature combination or being born with it. In my teenage years at school we used to run round the room jumping and I can remember the hovering feeling and being slightly scared at how high I could jump. 

Not sure I could do it now.

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I wonder if getting a feel or taste for "hanging in the air" helps... I think this is closely related to the "intention" that Anjuli mentioned in her post.

 

In one of the class I go to (beginner's level, although I normally go to  intermediate/advanced classes ), the teacher once held me up each time I am in the air (she is a very slim, not very tall person! But all muscles) from behind as we were doing saute from the first.

 

My jump improved both hight and the time in the air by 200% right after that!

 

Of course by the next class the improvement rate was about 15%, but that was with all my jumps, including grande jete.

 

I am hoping that this year my back leg would go up a bit higher after the take-off...

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I'm not sure that one can execute a split grand jeté and also hover in the air.  Intuitively, it seems that a more arced shape would be necessary

 

 I loved jumping and had a very high (for a woman) jump - sometimes almost frightening myself.  The problem for a woman with a high jump is that coming down from such height is that a woman lands on a woman's leg and foot.  When a man jumps high, he has the musculature to support that landing.  A woman's much slimmer leg, ankle and foot is not as strong a support from an above normal  height.  .

 

I never did have a full split in the air  - but I did have the ability to hover.   But this was true not only in grand jeté, but other jumps such as saut de Basque (one of my favorite jumps), cabriole, jeté passé (both front and back).  However, that height put enormous pressure on my "landing gear."

 

 

 

In other words, I found that my jump was sometimes too high for my "landing gear."  

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An interesting topic Balleteacher, I too think that the hover really brings the grand jets to life. I also think that it needs a sense of effortlessness, and a gentle landing. Anjuli I know what you mean about the landing being tough on your joints too. As an amateur I find I can get quite good height into my jumps, and when I manage that hover it feels so right, but I find the landing harder to control and keep soft.

Does anyone have any tips on how to do this other than bending my knees? Which I know I should do more than I do!

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When teaching younger students I encourage them to put more energy into the the two steps prior to the jete-almost like a mini jete. It seems to help build momentum and pitch the weight forward to help with take off actual jete.

 

I assume that is the pas de couru preparation.  Do you teach it with the sauté, tombé,  pas de bourrée, glissade preparation?

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It depends if I am choreographing or teaching set work. Either that version or from a temps leve chasse/pose chasse glissade. I think it's different terminology USA compared to UK. I always find it fascinating to hear different terminologies especially the American ones because as you know I am a great fan of Balanchine.

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It depends if I am choreographing or teaching set work. Either that version or from a temps leve chasse/pose chasse glissade. I think it's different terminology USA compared to UK. I always find it fascinating to hear different terminologies especially the American ones because as you know I am a great fan of Balanchine.

 

Interesing - your Balanchine comment and the different terminology.  Although I took from teachers from just about every style/school of ballet - most of my teachers were Balanchine trained and members of the Company.

 

Some of my other teachers were trained in:

 

Mariinsky - pre Vaganova

Mariinsky - post Vaganova

Muriel Stuart

Royal Ballet

Cecchetti

Eugene Loring

Belcher

Margaret Craske

and several from Germany  and Eastern Europe such as Sonia Arova.

 

And yet - with all these different backgrounds, I don't ever recall a problem with terminology.  The biggest difference I found is with those who study syllabus such as RAD.

 

A couple of my teachers spoke little or even no English - and yet there was no problem.  

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I don't think terminology is a problem I just find it interesting the number of different ways steps are described. I remember doing an audition entirely in German of which I speak none. The only problem seemed to be when they called out the numbers of certain dancers most of whom also did not speak German.

 

I have so much respect for dancers and students who travel to countries where they do not speak the native language. Yes, ballet should not be a problem but adapting to other aspects of life and the culture must be challenging especially at student level.

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