One of the main focuses of todays lesson was basic technique. We concentrated on alignment, safe dance practice in ballet and body limitations. By this I mean, how far we can push our bodies with out being in risk of causing injury. Technique in ballet is the learning of movement and refers to a way of using the body in the correct alignment. Alignment in ballet refers to keeping the head, shoulders and hips vertically aligned. A dancer with good technique requires good placement, alignment and turnout.
Turnout refers to completing movements with your legs rotated outwards using the six deep outward rotators of the hip joint (ball and socket). This promotes clean footwork, graceful port de bras (carriage of the arms) and correct positions, lines and angles. Ballet technique is the foundation principal of the bodies movement and form. It is an important aspect of ballet performance as ballet puts great emphasis on the method and execution of movement.
When we talk about correct alignment in class, we are referring to the relationship of the skeleton to the line of gravity and the base of support. To improve and help achieve correct alignment we must apply correct technique skills to basic exercises. At the bar we completed a battement glisse exercise. We must make sure that we keep our movements short, sharp and clean on the glisse as this is a fast exercise. One main issue that the class had in this exercise was the tempo of the exercise.
We were concentrating on getting the exercise right instead of thinking about having correct alignment and technique. for example, I was allowing my hips to move in and out of correct alignment. To ensure that our pelvis is stabilized, we have to think about keep weight over our toes and make sure that we are lengthening our hip flexer by lifting up and out of the hip on the supporting leg. By doing this it will help to activate the six deep outward rotators that are located in the hip joint, wrapped around the ball and socket joint. These tiny muscles help to rotate and maintain turnout.
We must also make sure that when completing a glisse, that our upper bodies maintain strength. By having strength in our upper body when completing a glisse , it allows our legs to move at a quicker pace because our hips and upper torso will not move. To achieve this we must engage our laterals, keeping our shoulders pushed down, our traps, keeping our shoulders pressed back and engage our rectus and transverse abdominals and our internal and external obliques for a strong and sustained core. This is the bases of our upper body strength.
When holding our upper body, engaging our abdominal muscles in a battement glisse and ensuring that our pelvis is stabilized it will make it much more achieveable to keep correct alignment and technique while still having fast, short and sharp movements on the glisse. In the centre we completed a pirrouette exercise, working on starting and finishing in neat fifth positions. We must also think about keeping our pirouettes clean and controlled with the pelvis in correct alignment in the preparation. To finish a tight, neat fifth position after a pirouette, we must have complete control over our bodies and pirouettes.
By having control, it allows us to time our pirouettes and control the landing, making it soft and elegant. Control is the ability to use dance and technique to meet the needs of the exercise. To control the pirouette you must start in plie in forth using correct alignment. To do this you must make sure that your core muscles (rectus, transverse abdominals and internal and external obliques) and engage our gluteus Maximus. We must think of being kinesthetically aware that we do not over tuck our pelvis because if over tucked it was cause us to tip over during the turn.
This also applies if our abdominal muscles are not switched on. Lesson two In today’s class my main focus was core strength. I must make sure that I am using my pelvic floor muscles, this is critical to providing a stable base of movement for anyone. This mean that I am pulling my pelvic floor muscles up towards the centre of my body, while also lifting my transverse abdominals, switching on the rectus abdominals and the internal and external obliques. I must think about pulling my belly button back towards the spine, this will then automatically close off my rib cage, achieving correct alignment of the core.
It is crucial to hold our abdominal muscles as it is our base of support for all movements. If the abdominal muscles are not held it can lead to incorrect posture therefore setting all of your alignment out of place, putting your body in serious risk of being injured. Our first exercise for todays class was a simple plie exercise. Even though this exercise did not have ‘difficult movement’ I still found it very hard to maintain turnout throughout the exercise, especially when moving through the plie motion.
To maintain turnout during a plie you must use the six deep outward rotators that are connected to the hip joint (ball and socket joint). A ball and socket joint is a freely moving joint in which a sphere on the head of one bone fits into a rounded cavity in the other bone. These six deep outward rotators are attached to the pelvis and wrap around to the thigh muscles, they are located underneath the gluteus Maximus. Rotation must be initiated at the hip. The adductors, four quadricep muscles and hamstring are also a prime factor in controlling the stability of the pelvis.
Weakness in any of these muscles limits the range of motion at the hip and puts stress on the knee. In the downward movement of the plie strong abdominals and a stable pelivs will absorb some of the pressure as the quadriceps contract to resist gravity. Also, maintaining correct alignment in the knee when in a plie is very difficult as you must not be over the ankle or to far back from the ankle but stacked on top of the ankle and the foot. The knee is designed to provide both stability and mobility and relies on the correct placement of the pelvis for stability. When in a plie our knee is in flexion.
Flexion is the decreased angle between the two levers, in this case the two levers being the hamstring and gastrocnemius. Flexion of the knee is initiated by the plantaris muscle. The plantaris muscle is a tiny fragile muscle behind the knee cap. At the bar we completed a battement tendu exercise. In ballet, tendu means ‘to stretch’ and battement means to ‘beat’. A battement tendu stretches the working leg and foot away from the supporting leg. This movement seems very simple, however it is very important as it leads to other exercise such as, battement jete, battement releve lent and grande battement.
In this exercise as the working legs slides out, using the tarsus, metatarsals and digits against the floor, the weight shifts on to the supporting leg, which should remain straight throughout the whole exercise. The inner thigh/ adductors and the heel of the working leg leads, ensuring the dancer maintains turnout of the leg and foot, initiated from the hip. If not done the toes will slip forward and the leg will turn in. The hips should remain squared and should not move throughout, except for when doing the tendu derriere. This is where the hip naturally opens slightly to allow the leg to move to the back.
Care must be taken especially for tendu a la seconde, to make sure that the hips do not shift. When the leg is fully extended, the foot should be beautifully stretched. The toes must be pointed with a high arch and the heel coming forward. Although it appears that the tendu is complete, there should be a continued energy, as if the body is being pulled upward with strings while the working leg is stretching away. There should be no weight on the working leg. As the tendu closes, this time the leg is lead by the toes. The toes pull back and the heel follows, keeping the knees as straight as possible.
They may soften slightly as the legs close together. In both degage and ferme, the foot ideally stays on the floor for as long as possible as it brushed out and back again. A common mistake that was picked up was to not over-cross the extended leg and foot, therefore lining up the working leg with the toes of the supporting leg. Lesson three In todays ballet class we focused on basic ballet technique. We concentrated mainly on alignment and safe dance practice. Alignment is the stacking of the bones, joints and muscles in relation to support and line of gravity. Good alignment reduces stress of the body.
And safe dance is the practice of selecting and executing safe movement. Safe dance practice focuses on providing dance activities and exercises which allow students to participate without risk of injury. In the centre we executed a petit allegro exercise. It is crucial that you have correct alignment of the body as if not portrayed there is possible short and long term injuries that can occur. In the petit allegro exercise we complete an echappe to fourth position with the arms in 3rd position. You must hold the six abdominal muscles in to help achieve correct posture.
You must engage your pelvic floor and transverse muscles, pulling these muscles in and up to the centre line of the body. Also, switch on your internal and external obliques and rectus abdominals, engaging your core. you must think about pulling your belly button back towards your spine. It is crucial to hold our abdominal muscles as it is our base of support. If the abdominals are not held and switched on, it can lead to incorrect posture, therefor setting all of your alignment out of place, putting your body in serious risk of short or even long term injury.
In an echappe to fourth position, you must continue to maintain turnout. By using your six deep outward rotators, that are connected to the hip joint. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, meaning it can rotate 180 degrees. These six deep outward rotator muscles are located underneath the gluteus Maximus, attached to the pelivs and wrap around to the thigh muscles. Turnout must be initiated at the hip, while the adductors, 4 quadricep muscles and hamstrings are also a prime factor in controlling the stability of the pelvis.
Weakness in any of these muscles, limits the range of motion at the hip and puts stress on the knee. In the downward movement of the echappe, strong abdominals and a stable pelvis will absorb some of the pressure as the quadriceps contract to resist gravity. The knee is designed to provide both stability and mobility, relying on the correct placement of the pelvis for stability. When in the plie after executing the echappe to fourth, our knee is in flexion meaning that the quadricep is contracting and the hamstring is lengthening. The popliteus initiates the action of the plie.
Tp maintain correct alignment in the knee when in a plie, the knee must not be over the toes or leaning to far back from the ankle, but the muscles must be stacked up on top of one another staring from the tarsels and working the way up to the knee. The ankle is a hinge joint capable of flexion and extension, sideways or rotational movements taking place in the joints of the foot. The ligaments that bind the end of the tibia and the fibula contribute to the stability of the ankle, these are the internal and external lateral ligaments.
Incorrect alignment of the ankle and foot can lead to pronation of the foot. This is when the arch of the foot can collapse in and the talus and navicular can be pushed out of the position, while the metatarsals can sink. This seriously impairs the ability of the foot to act in shock absorption. In addition, the weight is not longer transmitted correctly through the ankle and this has changed the placement of the entire body. This is not showing correct alignment or safe dance practice and could seriously increase the risk of long term and short term injuries.
If an injury does occur, you must follow RICER. RICER stands for rest, ice, compression, elevation and referal. Rest: reduces any further damage that could occur. By avoiding as much movement as possible it will also make you recovery time much quicker. Ice: by applying a cold pack to an injury for 20 minutes every 2 hours it will reduce the swelling and bleeding. Ice cools the tissue and reduces pain, swelling and bleeding. Compression and Elevation: reduces bleeding and swelling Referral: refer the injury to a QUALIFIED professional.
A full recovery is then more likely. Journal four: Today we had Miss Munns for a change. She taught us he Giselle Romantic Ballet Solo that we will be performing in assessment week for our yearly. Romantic Ballet is a style of ballet that was extremely popular in Europe during the 1830s and 1840s. A major element of Romantic ballet was a fascination with the supernatural. The choreographic style of romantic ballet included ‘light looking’ movements with intricate footwork, low leg lines, definite classical ballet arm positions and correct alignment of the body.
Women were not the main focus of a ballet piece until the 1830s, when the romantic ballet style cam about. This then brought the light looking movements and dancers performing on pointe with intricate footwork. Due to the new design of tutus and the corset becoming part of the elaborate costumes, this impacted upon the freedom of the upper body and the height of the leg. The upper torso had to stay upright, meaning that there was little range in the height of the leg extensions and the arm movements were the main focus for the dancer.