Monday, February 5, 2018

Technique talk! Three one more!

Hello beautiful dancers!

I say a LOT of things in class, especially when I'm searching for just the right image to help a student grasp a concept that is elusive or otherwise challenging. Sometimes they're helpful, sometimes not. One visual image might help one student while it does nothing for another.

Here are a few that I think could be helpful to students but each didn't warrant an entire blog post.

1. Grab the floor with the pads of your toes
The image here is to help you with balance en releve. We think so much about pulling up in our quads and hamstrings, engaging our core muscles, and lifting our backs when we go up on demi-pointe, but we often neglect the toes themselves. You should be aiming to touch all ten of them on the floor (even if the baby toes don't make it all the way) and gripping the floor with the little pads under them. This will help keep you connected to the floor all the way through your feet in one long line.

2. Think of your 5th position like a pair of scissors
We sometimes forget the fifth position (or any position) begins not in our feet but at the tops of our legs. If you think of your legs like scissors, the sharpest point is not at the ends but where the blades connect near the handle, right? Right! That's what you're cutting with: the tops of your legs. Each time you recover from a demi-plie or perform a step like glissade, imagine that the inner thighs - the sharpest blades- are slicing the air.

3. Point your foot beyond your toes
How many times have you heard your teacher say, "Point your toes!" I can't believe how many times I have yelled it out, at no one in particular, "Point!" But really, what happens when someone screams that at you? Your toes probably curl up in your shoes or you sickle your foot. Instead, if you think about pointing beyond your foot, into the space past your foot, you will actually be stretching the entire leg/calf/ankle/arch/foot/toes, not just pointing your toes.

4.  Spot with your fingertips on pirouettes
This applies to pirouettes en dehors or en dedans that are performed with arms held in first position, either crossed or rounded. So many times we start a turn with our arms held properly but as we begin to move, we leave them behind or they crumple into a weak position at our waist or open up, etc. While I instruct students to "bring your arms with you" as they turn, I think another helpful approach is to imagine your fingertips are spotting as well. This will naturally bring the closed first position around as you turn.

Hope these tips help you! Try them and let me know! Happy dancing~

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