Anjuli_Bai Posted May 1, 2012 Share Posted May 1, 2012 In another thread there was a request for some thoughts on how a dancer can (and should) use his/her breath to change how a dance sequence is performed, felt and seen. Hope this helps. Life is made up of pulse beats - this includes music and your breath. When you dance it is necessary to put the two of these elements together. And, when done correctly your breath can aid your dance - the way you feel it - and the way it is perceived. It begins at the beginning in pliés. In a simple 4 count grand plié a la seconde, on the first count as your arm begins the port de bras and you begin to descend, (count one) inhale; at the bottom of the plié (count two) exhale; as you begin to rise (count three) inhale; and as you finish (count four) exhale, and the arm finishes at the same time. In a simple pirouette combination, stand in fifth position, right foot front, inhale as you tendu a la seconde, exhale as you close to 4th position back, inhale as you pirouette to the right en dehors, and exhale as you finish the pirouette, fifth position back. You will find that your breath has infused the pirouette with quite a different quality, and that it sustains you and smoothes out the entire performance of the turn. This is also true of turns in arabesque and attitude where the feeling of lightness is of paramount importance. You can dance on top of your own breathing, and it is then part of the music. All of the same fabric. In adage, time your inhalation to coincide with the extension of your leg. If you do that and at the same time visualize a hand beneath your thigh lifting your leg, and another hand picking up your instep by the ribbons on top of your foot, you will find, I believe, that the entire leg is much lighter to you. And it will gain the appearance of lightness and effortlessness that the ballet dancer wishes to impart to the audience. It is no longer "work" - but dance. The same is true of grand battement, as you strongly push off and thrust through the tips of your toes into the height of the grand battement, time the breath to it and let the force of the push off - lift you as you inhale, then lower the leg - don't drop it, as you exhale. For small jumps, it is crucial to keep the diaphragm from sagging, even a little bit, each time you land. In a simple petit allegro combination - glissade, jeté, coupe, assemblé - it is the jeté and the assemblé that must have the lightest appearance - and that is where you inhale. Of course some of this is governed by the speed of the music - but to the extent that you can adjust your breathing, do so. You might need to make it in 8 counts rather than four - if the speed of the music warrants it. Study the combination, before you do it - and pick the parts that you want to emphasize with lightness - like exclamation marks in punctuation. Breathing at the height of a jump can infuse it with lightness as well as longevity and give it that floating quality - ballon. Practice it in grand jeté and time your inhalation as you sweep up into the height of the jump. You will not only find that your jump will be lighter, but also the landing. There are three main reasons for shortness of breath: 1. The first is holding your breath - we do this to a great degree when we are stressed - so be aware of it - keep breathing. 2. Letting the diaphragm sink, even a little, every time we land a jump - will cause the breath to be expelled from the lungs. When you land nothing goes down except your foot upon the floor. 3. Breathing through your mouth. When you breathe through your mouth, a portion of the air goes into your stomach - where it does no good at all. It is very natural to do that - but you can learn to breathe deeply through your nose - where all the air goes into your lungs. Let your breath become part of your reverence at the end of class too - breathe in as you pointe to seconde, breathe out as you cross to fourth back, breathe in for a moment as you face your audience, and then finally exhale as you bow. Breath is life - and if you infuse it into your dancing - your dancing will take on new life. It will be one with the pulse beat of the music and the music will become visible. 5 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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