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The Technical Cornerstone Or Key To Advancing In Classical Ballet

Posted Aug 24 2008 4:02pm
If a student of classical ballet has a reasonably suitable physique, a reputable ballet school, and access to at least two classes per week, what might be the key to advancing faster? Is there a technical cornerstone that builds strength and supports the progress of the finer details?

If your ballet teacher outlined a customized instruction list for every student in their ballet academy to use for technical priorities, each list would include the basic technical cornerstones of:

***the postural plumb line (involving mechanics) and the exact degree of tension to maintain it (introducing qualities)

***the holding of one's turnout in both position and movement (involving mechanics)

***the shifting of tensions in the demi plie and grand plie while maintaining the postural plumb line and turnout

These three basic aspects of classical ballet technique could be called technical cornerstones. They introduce the mechanics and introduce the qualities that will determine all of your barre work, and all of your center work.

Being able to exert more effort or tension quickly and then revert to a lesser tension in a beat, requires practice, prediction and musicality. Again, mechanics and quality. For example, more exertion is required in the core muscles for faster tendus than slow, for faster degages than slow. And, faster shifts of tension.

Musicality makes it easier. You are more like a boat going with the current rather than against it.

If you can notice where in the barre work you feel an awkwardness in the shifts of exertion, that is where you need to build strength as a key to YOUR advancing. When I say exertion I do not mean strain or struggle. I mean an increased effort to put into a movement but where you already have enough strength to do it.

I really hope this makes sense because if you can feel this in your work, you will always know exactly what the key to your advancing is. If you are in a large class and don't get a lot of corrections, or personalized corrections, you can figure out a lot for yourself.

Awkward transitions in ballet exercises usually call for increased strength in your core muscles. This includes turnout, in the case of classical ballet.

The wonderful thing right now is that there are some ballet manuals available to anyone with internet access that chart technique and practice regimens for you.

So if your teacher says "you need to be stronger" or "you need to hold still when you release the grand battement", the wobbliness is probably in the core muscles. Another suspect could be the supporting leg - too much turnout in the foot, and thus a weakened support.

Study the very basics and you'll understand the ruling factors - what is your technical cornerstone strength, and the key to your advancing in classical ballet.

Here is where you will find more technical info, ballet manuals, and all the pointe shoes and ballet wear you need.
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