Thursday, May 3, 2018

Heels out, toes in

In physics, scientists are always looking for universal elements (see Unified Field Theory as an example), things that are true throughout the universe that can be applied in every situation.

Let's face it, it's a lot easier to say we should always hold our arms like this or we should always tilt our heads like that. But we don't. There are lots of different styles of ballet.

Still, that doesn't stop us from trying to find them! Rules, give us rules! We are disciplined ballet dancers who want to do everything right.

Here is one possible addition to our Unified Ballet Theory:

Heels out, toes in.

That is, every movement from our centers outward and away from our bodies, whether that is a battement tendu or a developpe devant  or even a retire, needs to begin with the heel of the foot moving first and then returning to the position (or the center of the body) with the toes.

Try it yourself.

1. Start in fifth position, right foot in front.
2. Using the heel of the right foot, begin to slide it en avant as you perform a tendu.
3. Notice how the heel stays lifted and the foot's arch is nicely curved as you stretch it all the way forward.
4. Now, using the toes of the right foot, pull it back to your fifth position and nestle it snugly against the instep of your left foot.
5. Feel how the muscles at the top of your leg are engaged and your rotation is being used as the foot returns to 5th.

Repeat the exercise with degage, grand battement, rond de jambe a terre, etc. Anything you want! And definitely try this a la seconde and  en arriere. It works!

Happy dancing~
Photo Alicia Heaney, CC Lic

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