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Epaulement


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#16 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 04:42 AM

Pńivi, I think it's just a matter of a slight difference of interpretation, and perhaps also just use of certain words to describe it. While the French word ÚpaulÚ does, in my understanding, mean shoulder, and Úpaulement would be shouldering I think, in the Russian school it seems to mean the general use of the upper body, ie, that it is always used as a normal part of movement. This exists in all methods too, however, some schools have specific positions they call ÚpaulÚ, plus they use the term to mean add more upper body movement to the work. As Hans said, even in Cecchetti, there is a twisting, (or rotating of the upper spine) in certain postions. And, Úpaulement is used throughout even though it might not be called by that name. I don't believe anyone is indicating that the shoulders remain square to the hips at all times! I think when we see a dancer with a lovely upper body we tend to think of her/him as having wonderful Úpaulement, and even though this could mean a specific action in some ways, it really means that they are using the upper body well and creating movement which has a most pleasing shape and design and flow, as opposed to someone who might have great technique in many ways below the waist but does not necessarily have beautiful use of the entire body. Does this help at all?

#17 vrsfanatic

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 04:51 AM

No psavola, I think you have made yourself very clear. The differences that we are discussing perhaps have more to do with teaching methods than the actual usage of the word epaulement. Although I like the approaches that are being discussed, the reality of what must be taught to a child from the beginning in the Vaganova program is as I have stated above. That does not mean that the teacher must actually speak to the student in those terms but the results must exist, even when one is a professional dancer. Therefore, when discussing the usage of epaulement or the existence of epaulement, it is not considered a movement of the shoulders only. As Andrei has stated so very well...

The dancer can't "twist" his shoulders. He can bent in his shoulderblades and turn or lean his head, but hips and shoulders shoud be in one line.

The elasticity of the upper back sideways, forward, backward and the usage of the head and eyes makes the line of the pose and the artistic qualities of the position speak a language of the its own. This creates the idea of movement.

I have tried very hard not to speak for Andrei, please do not misunderstand just because I like the way he made his statement. If you disagree Andrei please let me know. I am always learning! :D

carbo, in Vaganova schooling there is a movement called bends of the body. The body can twist and turn in various ways of course. However many times what non-Vaganova trained dancers may consider as twists and turns, are to a Vaganova trained dancer/teacher simply 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th port de bras being used in a pose or a position. Also the arabesques 1-4 all have their own form and requirements, mechanically and artistically. Maybe this idea could help to give a reference point for non-Vaganova trained teachers and others who may have an interest in the topic. Sometimes we just need to better understand our language and I do not mean English. Just how we find a common form of communication so we can comprehend and continue to learn from one another. :cool:

#18 Andrei

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Posted 23 April 2003 - 01:11 PM

vrsfanatic, I always agree with you and you have my "permisson" to use my name whenever you want :cool:. You definetely didn't spent in waste your time in St Petersburg!

Victoria, in Russia the word epaulement itself, used very rare, we are prefer to say criose, efface or ecarte. And epaulement has just one meaning, the body should not be facing the mirror.

Pńivi, I don't know, how epaulement can help to jump higher. Lighter, with easeness, may be ...

#19 psavola

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 05:23 AM

Thank you Ms. Leigh, your explanation did help quite a bit. (The teaching approaches part of the epaulement discussion still goes partly over my head, but that is probably only natural in a beginning student like me. :) ) I wonder how many other ballet words are similarly charged with multiple meanings in various ballet dialects. :)

Andrei, I did not mean to say that epaulement affects the real height of the jump. I meant that using the upper body in a certain way a dancer can make a jump look higher than it is. For example if a dancer looks to the floor in grand jete, the audience attention is directed downward and the line is hunched. The dancer must gaze diagonally upward to make the jump look high and flying.

Pńivi

#20 Mary J

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 06:00 AM

Carbo - It is interesting that you mention the Danilova coaching scene in "Turning Point" because I have always had a question about that. Am I the only one who thinks that Leslie Browne - when she is shown dancing the Don Q variation in the peformance later in the movie - doesn't do what Madame Danilova told her? She is still moving her shoulders down rather than forward? (I apologize if this is too off the pointe but it is something that intrigues me every time I watch the film...)

#21 Alexandra

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 06:42 AM

I don't think you're seeing things, Mary J. Danilova tries and tries to show her, but Browne (or Emilia) doesn't get it. This is one scene to remember when you hear, "But she doesn't do it nearly as well as Danilova did."

#22 carbro

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 09:41 AM

As I remember in the film, Leslie did get the hang of it in the coaching sessions, Alexandra, but as Mary noted, did not do it in performance.

#23 Mary J

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 01:05 PM

If a picture is worth a thousand words, take another look at the Henning Kronstam cabriole photo in Alexandra's book - the slight turn of the shoulders is epaulement in action, and contributes to the line of the head and arms.

#24 carbro

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Posted 24 April 2003 - 07:10 PM

Yes, but most striking to me is Kronstam's complete relaxation despite the exertion required for cabriole. Stunning photo. :)


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