Jump to content

Technique Central: Keys to the Kingdom with Attitude


Anjuli_Bai
 Share

Recommended Posts

I found that when I had difficulty with a particular ballet step, the problem was usually in the preparation - and sometimes not the immediate preparation, but the one before that - the previous step in the sequence. 

 

The problem is to find the "key" to open the door. 

 

As a beginner, piqué/posé en dehors gave me fits until I realized it all began by stepping out on a flat foot.  Demi-contretemps was another bugaboo until I saw it as a zigzag.  When I realized that a waltz turn began with a simple step forward onto a flat foot - the rest of it came together.

 

But, in addition, when we set out to learn a new step (or work on an old troublesome one) a positive attitude is essential.

 

I had a very lovely adult student who  invariably gasped in fear when she saw a step new to her or one she hadn't done for a while.  She  had had many years of ballet, was quite capable of doing most anything needed, but her negative view of her ability worked against her.  While everyone else began from either a neutral or positive place - she started from minus zero because of her negative view of herself.

 

Important key:  Don't defeat yourself before you begin.  So, check your attitude.

 

Have you found keys to a particular step?

 

Do you need help to find a key to a certain step?

 

 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I do have a tons of "attitude" derrier problems, but I am starting off with jete entrelace, or grand jete en tournant.

 

It was spotted by one of my teachers (whose classes are cancelled since)  that I go in turning too early - that when I am swishing one of my leg devant as I take off with the other, my body is not squarly facing front. 

 

Annoyingly, although I understand this in my head, I don't feel it with my body... a prime example of bad habit being ingrained with pracitce. 

 

I wonder if there perhaps some good imaging while I try to do the take off as squarely as possible, or may be how to break up the steps to paractice?  Thank you in advance for your help,

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I do have a tons of "attitude" derrier problems, but I am starting off with jete entrelace, or grand jete en tournant.

 

It was spotted by one of my teachers (whose classes are cancelled since)  that I go in turning too early - that when I am swishing one of my leg devant as I take off with the other, my body is not squarly facing front. 

 

Annoyingly, although I understand this in my head, I don't feel it with my body... a prime example of bad habit being ingrained with pracitce. 

 

I wonder if there perhaps some good imaging while I try to do the take off as squarely as possible, or may be how to break up the steps to paractice?  Thank you in advance for your help,

 

I suggest that you practice with legs lower until you get the two halves truly square..  Do them wall to wall rather on a diagonal to practice this.  

 

Everything faces that first leg going up - see the leg going up as you face the wall..  Then "see" - really see - spot the second wall - squarely. You never are in between.  Everything faces the first wall.  Spot those walls  - first one then the other.

 

Try to imagine you are going to add a beat that will keep the legs from splaying.

 

Don't anticipate the flip.  

 

Hopes this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the idea of going from 'wall to wall' rather than en diagonale.

 

Sorry this probably is too easy but have you tried going back to basics and practising 3 runs into an elevated grand battement devant - ie a hop with a grande battement devant whilst taking the arms in a full port de bras to 5th at the height of the jump?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Anjuli and drdance.  I shall practice as suggested - they both makes so much sense, particularly the tips such as facing the wall and keeping the legs very low to begin with, and to pracitce elevated grand battement devant with the arms .  Oh, yes, and spotting.

 

Nothing is too easy in ballet, so no need to appogise, drdance - no I haven't tried this yet, and I will.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting what you say about attitude Anjuli as it's something I've been thinking about in life rather than dancing recently but I think I approach both the same way. By nature I tend to look at the worst likely outcome of something - in the case of dancing, I would sarcastically take on a challenge not expecting to succeed. For me it's a defence mechanism. I won't be disappointed if it doesn't work out as well as it could because I'm prepared, and if it works out better than I thought then I get a fantastic surprise.

 

So for me although it sounds like a negative attitude I see it as a positive attitude because I am never disappointed and often happily surprised. Other people have told me that I'm setting myself up for failure though, and that it's really negative to always be looking at the problems. What do other people think?

 

Sorry if I'm wandering off topic a bit. Mods feel free to send me over to Not Dance or somewhere if I'm going to derail things!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very interesting Anjuli :)

On Saturday I'd had a hectic week at work and desperately needed to get to ballet class for mental stability but the gods were conspiring against me...finally with seconds to spare I made it to the barre and thought, I'm going to make this class really count!

I danced with a mental conviction I've not felt for a long time and when the teacher shouted "come on Mrs B I want a decent double" I turned a triple pirouette! Nearly fell over in shock on my landing the third turn, but hey, I was smiling.

The power of positive thinking is HUGE!

Back to rubbish doubles next week no doubt ;)

Sx

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting what you say about attitude Anjuli as it's something I've been thinking about in life rather than dancing recently but I think I approach both the same way. By nature I tend to look at the worst likely outcome of something - in the case of dancing, I would sarcastically take on a challenge not expecting to succeed. For me it's a defence mechanism. I won't be disappointed if it doesn't work out as well as it could because I'm prepared, and if it works out better than I thought then I get a fantastic surprise.

 

So for me although it sounds like a negative attitude I see it as a positive attitude because I am never disappointed and often happily surprised. Other people have told me that I'm setting myself up for failure though, and that it's really negative to always be looking at the problems. What do other people think?

 

Sorry if I'm wandering off topic a bit. Mods feel free to send me over to Not Dance or somewhere if I'm going to derail things!

 

Perhaps, you are describing accidental success?  If you are happy with that accidental success why would you take the next step to making that accident more reliable?  If you do work on what was an accident into a more reliable part of your repertoire, then you would be ready for the next accident.   

 

I wonder what Dickens would have thought of that as he wrote "Great Expectations."  :)  I think - as both a student and a teacher - I would rather have a higher goal than an accidental success - a truly positive expectation - as opposed to being happy if it's not as negative as I thought it might be.  Why then would I try for a double pirouette rather stay happy with a good single?  And if the double works out (by accident) why should I not try to duplicate it?  

 

On the other hand, when ballet is done for recreational enjoyment - and you are enjoying it - then, of course, and I mean this sincerely, keep doing what makes it a pleasant experience.  

 

Very interesting Anjuli :)

On Saturday I'd had a hectic week at work and desperately needed to get to ballet class for mental stability but the gods were conspiring against me...finally with seconds to spare I made it to the barre and thought, I'm going to make this class really count!

I danced with a mental conviction I've not felt for a long time and when the teacher shouted "come on Mrs B I want a decent double" I turned a triple pirouette! Nearly fell over in shock on my landing the third turn, but hey, I was smiling.

The power of positive thinking is HUGE!

Back to rubbish doubles next week no doubt ;)

Sx

 

So, now you know what you are capable of.  If you've done it once, you can do it twice.  Maybe not today - but maybe tomorrow.  

 

I agree that attitude makes a huge difference.  That student I referenced in my opening post was consumed by her doubts.  While she was gasping with dismay and uncertainty - she couldn't hear the instruction on how to do the step.  All her ears heard was the beat of her heart and head saying:  "Oh no!  I can't do this!"

 

I actually got her to perform.  For several weeks I gave the class various enchainements and didn't tell them that it was part of a dance.  Then, when I announced the performing opportunity and there were hesitations (and double gasps of dismay from that particular student)  I told them they already knew the steps  -we had been doing them for the past few weeks.

 

They did very well in performance and were quite pleased with themselves - and still make me smile to this day.  

 

I do keep in touch with several - and miss them all.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that's the most frustrating part - once you know your body can do it, you want it all the time - I get ballet greedy!!!

 

Why aren't pirouettes consistent? People frequently say they have good days and bad days for turning, I guess consistent application of technique is key. But it seems that steps like grande battement are fairly consistent, re height, turnout etc so is the inconsistency in pirouettes because there's more that could go wrong or does mental attitude play a bigger part than I think?

 

I'm a right turner. Does just saying that make my left turn weaker? I definitely saw an improvement on Saturday when I took my place on the left side of the studio and told myself I can do this!!

 

Then after a couple of half decent turns I resorted to my usual dodgy doubles :D maybe I need brain training not ballet training...hypnosis anyone? ;)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like the term 'ballet greedy' :)

 

I feel the same about pirouettes. I find if I get anxious about them just before the music comes on, it ruins my turns. I think I worry because they are not consistent. I would call myself a right-turner but as a result it probably means I 'believe' the left turn will be worse. I also understand people 'favour' their left leg or right leg so would this affect your mindset to pirouettes? But once I get into the mindset in class that the-left-turn-will-be-worse, consciously or not, it ruins my pirouettes.

 

Any tips on keeping the same positive mindset for pirouettes both sides would be much appreciated!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put in a series of articles on pirouettes but I can't find them with the board search engine.  They were:

 

 

Pirouettes: It's all about Energy

 

Pirouette - Spotting the Turn

 

Placing the Pirouette

 

Pirouettes - It's Psychological

 

Pirouettes - Right and Left

 

Pirouettes and Breathing

 

If there is interest and someone can find them and put in the link - or I can repost.

 

Please don't feel obligated - I don't mind if not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest chinafish

Related to pirouettes:

 

I've injured my right calf (grade 2 tear) at the end of August, and have been slowly going back to dancing.

 

Before Christmas I had a freaky day when I managed to do clean triples to both right and left, en dehors.

 

But after Christmas, I couldn't even do a single without falling out of it.

 

Went back to my first pointe class on Thursday, we were doing en dedans and en dehors pirouettes, but I thought I'd be safe and just releve. Even before I releve there's a small voice going, "You ain't gonna get up there."

 

I don't know if it's because I have injured it before and my brain is being protective, or simply a lack of strength after more than 4 months off pointe, but it's frustrating to know that I *can* do pirouettes but the brain/body decides it's not happening.

 

I suppose I should go back to secure releves and singles before even thinking of doubles again, this constant battle against the brain is well, constant... And it's frustrating.

 

Thanks anjuli for your suggestions, I'll have a search for those threads.

 

Fish

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure whether it's 'accidental' success when I achieve something new, but I would agree that I'm not expecting success. So I might try and give this positive thinking malarkey a go! Maybe I need to be focussing on the confidence to try and to think I can do it rather than just trying 'just in case' it works! Dickens would definitely have not been impressed with me :)

 

And having been thinking about pirouettes with everybody talking about them I am even more inclined to believe you positive thinkers: I have a habit of hopping round the last half turn of double pirouettes because I think I can't do them, but once I started trying to stay up and not hop I found I could actually do them fine quite a lot of the time. Can't wait to get to class later and try out the power of positive thinking :D

 

And I love the term 'ballet greedy' too! We were in fact discussing something like that in class last night and I wish I'd had the word then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried the pivot method suggested on the other thread Anjuli and found it very helpful . There was a full pivot in part of the adage tonight and although I finished slightly after everyone else I was still with the music ready to do the next section(some of the others must have been holding the arabesque longer at the finish) but because I didn't panic I didn't mind being a tad late round. My back leg was not as locked as I would have liked but that's a separate issue. Well the first two pivots went well and I was pleased but then we were asked to repeat the whole exercise and a bit more wobble came in and then I stopped concentrating on the "spotting" It's sometimes being pulled up right to the top of the supporting leg initially which is obviously in the preparation .

Well will keep trying!

 

I think it's hard to be fully confident after an injury as there is that little voice there saying "you might not make this" I have a slight foot injury at the moment but in the pirouette section I got fed up with my tentativeness and the second time just went for it and although it was only single pirouettes tonight they were good ones (one always knows....good or bad!....) This has given me a bit more confidence that the foot is probably better than I thought it was so can stop protecting quite so much!! It's fine after class now anyway!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried the pivot method suggested on the other thread Anjuli and found it very helpful . There was a full pivot in part of the adage tonight and although I finished slightly after everyone else I was still with the music ready to do the next section(some of the others must have been holding the arabesque longer at the finish) but because I didn't panic I didn't mind being a tad late round. My back leg was not as locked as I would have liked but that's a separate issue. Well the first two pivots went well and I was pleased but then we were asked to repeat the whole exercise and a bit more wobble came in and then I stopped concentrating on the "spotting" It's sometimes being pulled up right to the top of the supporting leg initially which is obviously in the preparation .

Well will keep trying!

 

I think it's hard to be fully confident after an injury as there is that little voice there saying "you might not make this" I have a slight foot injury at the moment but in the pirouette section I got fed up with my tentativeness and the second time just went for it and although it was only single pirouettes tonight they were good ones (one always knows....good or bad!....) This has given me a bit more confidence that the foot is probably better than I thought it was so can stop protecting quite so much!! It's fine after class now anyway!!

 

 

It's not just the spotting but that supporting heel coming around - initiating the action.  It's not heel and then body or body and then heel - but everything together.  But by concentrating on the heel it gives one somewhere to focus the mind - while the spot focuses the eyes.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I liked about the spotting is that it slows it down a bit so am making smaller movements with the pivoting foot and this is helpful as I can panic a bit in the attempt toget round and rush it. But I will give more attention to the heel and making sure the shift is as one which I think I got in the first two attempts this evening.

 

But I also need to practise locking that arabesque leg!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put in a series of articles on pirouettes but I can't find them with the board search engine.  They were:

 

 

Pirouettes: It's all about Energy

 

Pirouette - Spotting the Turn

 

Placing the Pirouette

 

Pirouettes - It's Psychological

 

Pirouettes - Right and Left

 

Pirouettes and Breathing

 

If there is interest and someone can find them and put in the link - or I can repost.

 

Please don't feel obligated - I don't mind if not.

 

Anjuli - I've managed to find a thread dating from last year where you include the pirouette articles. I've managed to find your articles (within that thread) about pyschology and placing the pirouette, which I've found very useful. Would you mind reposting your pirouette articles please?

Edited by Dancer Sugar Plum
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anjuli - I've managed to find a thread dating from last year where you include the pirouette articles. I've managed to find your articles (within that thread) about pyschology and placing the pirouette, which I've found very useful. Would you mind reposting your pirouette articles please?

 

I'm not sure whether to post them here or in a separate thread - which would work better?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure whether to post them here or in a separate thread - which would work better?

 

Hello Anjuli,

Would you post them on a separate thread please? For some reason the search doesn't work for me sometimes so it would be useful to have a thread labelled separately about pirouettes. Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The series of articles on pirouettes " Pirouettes: Delving into the Mechannics and Mystery"  and any discussion that might ensue - can be found here:

 

 

http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/5790-pirouettes-delving-into-the-mechanics-and-mystery/#entry74264

 

 

Actually this link takes you to the second post - for the first article "Placing the Pirouette" scroll up.

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not about technique (for this once) but about attitude. 

 

Just found this on FB quoted by a famous (and great) non-ballet dancer:

 

"People undervalue what they are, and overvalue what they are not",

 

So true that I felt  I had to share this with you all. :)

Edited by mimi66
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not about technique (for this once) but about attitude. 

 

Just found this on FB quoted by a famous (and great) non-ballet dancer:

 

"People undervalue what they are, and overvalue what they are not",

 

So true that I felt  I had to share this with you all. :)

 

 

That's a thought provoking statement, Mimi66 - thanks.

 

One of my favorites is:

 

"Approach life as a dancer approaches the barre - with grace and purpose."

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's the "grace" bit in life.....as in Dance....that's the hardest bit. I am sometimes convinced its something both in Life and Dance that you are born with.....even though I don't want to believe this.....but I suppose you can still try and "discover" what you are not born with hopefully!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

It's the "grace" bit in life.....as in Dance....that's the hardest bit. I am sometimes convinced its something both in Life and Dance that you are born with.....even though I don't want to believe this.....but I suppose you can still try and "discover" what you are not born with hopefully!

 

When it comes to grace of attitude - I don't think that is something with which we are necessarily born.  It is something we learn, often by observation, but even more often by the desire to treat others with grace.

 

In the various threads in this forum we often discuss teachers' attitudes towards students; some are said to show favoritism, some are harsh, some uncaring and many, many others are wonderful.  But do we just as often ask the question of ourselves as students - how graceful are we to the others with whom we share the space of a ballet class?

 

Hopefully, as adults, we have outgrown the petty snippiness often (but not always) present among teenagers.  When we look at others in class do we look with respect?  Do we honor their efforts?  Do we readily share space?  Do we encourage?  Do we smile or smirk?  Do we compare and then gloat?  "I am so much better...."

 

I found self-congratulating (my arabesque is so much better than her's) - even done silently in my head - was the sure path to downfall.  It seemed inevitable that when I raised myself up, I was only setting myself up for a steeper fall.   Ballet is like that - and it was one of the things I loved about it. The utter honesty of it.  No work  - no progress.  Energy spent tooting one's own horn - was less energy to spend observing what was really happening.  

 

A constant lesson in humility.  It takes confidence to realize it takes humility.  One without the other doesn't work.

 

Ballet does teach physical grace.  It also teaches respect.   If the horn should indeed be blown it's so much nicer when others do it for you.  And they will - if only in response to when we have blown the horn for someone else's accomplishment.

 

I remember one day as we were at the barre waiting for class to begin, I was standing next to a dancer who had just retired - as a principal dancer of New York City Ballet.  A new student (new to us - not a beginner) came up to the ballerina and as a way of starting a conversation asked her: "Have you taken lessons for a while?"  The ballerina's answer was:  "Yes, a while." and then the ballerina continued: "It's nice to meet you - are you new to San Diego?"    But, after a bit more of chitchat - I couldn't resist and said to the newcomer:  "Let me introduce you to XXXX - she has just retired from her position of principal dancer with New York City Ballet."  

 

This beautiful ballerina made no attempt to blow her horn - though she certainly had one to blow.  What grace.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't agree more, Anjuli - beautifully put...

 

In dance, one does not need to blow one's horn.  One just be oneself.  Your dance tells it all, and no amount of words can disguise the dancer you are. 

 

Before "dance " (and particularly ballet), one is stark naked because there is no room for pretense - it's all there to see, other than for those eyes clouded by self-delusion. 

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...