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Monday, November 30, 2015

What is a rond de jambe en l'air?

First of all, what is it NOT?

It's not this:

Georges Seurat 1888
No, it's not the can-can, where the women (and men originally!) do high kicks circling the legs in the air at the knees. Oh how terrible for their joints!

Many students think of rond de jambe en l'air as a leg circle in the air (again, NOT the can-can) since "rond" translates as "circle" - for dancers, at least. But the shape you are drawing in the air is not exactly a circle. It's more like a flattened oval.

The path of the rond de jambe en'lair en dehors
The proper way to perform a rond de jambe en l'air en dehors begins with a battement a la seconde, then the toes draw a path straight in to the knee, as if coming to retire, and then circles slightly in front of the knee of the support leg and returns to the a la seconde position.

Conversely, the proper way to perform a rond de jambe en l'air en dedans begins with a battement a la seconde, then the toes draw a half-circle or oval to the front of the knee of the standing leg and then go straight back out to a la seconde.

2 very important things to remember for this step:
1. ALWAYS fully straighten the knee on the recovery to a la seconde, even if you are going to do more than one rond.
2. Maintain a strong straight support leg and avoid sinking back into the hip of the support leg.

One more tip!
NEVER look at your leg while you do this step. The mere act of turning your upper body to let yourself watch the leg twists the hips. If you can't see yourself in a mirror, then use your peripheral vision. Better yet, just feel it working properly.

Hope this tip helps you! Happy dancing~

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