Step of the Week 6abody positions
Posted 01 December 2003 - 08:49 PM
And yes, I've been noticing a shortchanging of epaulement just generally, not just in one school! I think you have to find us older teachers or those who think of the old line as important, rather than the stark verticality we see too much of these days!
Posted 01 December 2003 - 08:50 PM
However, generally speaking, it is the Vaganova school which uses much more épaulement. Cecchetti and RAD are pretty "square" in terms of the positions.
Speaking of croisé, the "here it comes and there it was" is dead on, as that is the position where everyone will look better most of the time. The word is, "when in doubt, go to croisé"!
Posted 01 December 2003 - 09:22 PM
Amy, Cecchetti use "épaulé" for the position that is like a second arabesque, or arabesque effacé with epaulement. However, he seriously goofed when he left out one of the positions of the body......there are 9! (He forgot écarté derrière!)
Thanks... "élongé" kept popping up in my mind and bocking the memory!...
I always wondered what happen to écarté derrière as well as éffacé derrière... but I figured the 8 were just because it fit evenly into the music as a tendu combination... By the way, I'm eternally grateful to your old friend Joe C., Victoria, for drilling those into us. 3 decades later and they're still riveted into my memory. Actually, come to think of it, as the class advanced, he had us putting the combination forward and inverted together back to back (ie: tendu croise devant, croise derriere; en face devant, enface derriere)... alas, my memory grays out on what how the inversion of the ecarte and epaule was handled.
And of course you're right about the Vaganova school... my vaganova teachers seem excessive about all those head positions and cambré positions at the barre... but yet they don't spiral the epaulment in croise, etc... could just be the local vaganova variant.
Mel, I'd love you to go on about use of the back. I'm sick of hearing modern dance people claim they never learned to use their backs in ballet. It's true ballet doesn't do contractions, but if it's done properly there is a tremendous amount going on in the back... it's not just stiff and upright as if in a corset (even if it once was)... it's just that most teachers these days seem to ignore the torso and concentrate on the extremities... and I'm not even going to get in to the breathing...
Posted 02 December 2003 - 12:13 AM
Posted 02 December 2003 - 01:35 AM
Just a note on stage directions:
Here in Germany, it has taken me ages to accept that "stage right" and "stage left" are generally ALWAYS given as the _director's_ stage right and left!
Having worked mainly in ballet companies populated nearly exclusively by non-Germans (no strange thing), this never really was an issue until I started working with actors, who are almost all German or continental European.
Now I must - at my advancing age - relearn.
What are the directions in other countries, does anyone know?
Posted 02 December 2003 - 03:49 AM
Posted 02 December 2003 - 05:01 PM
One of the more frustrating things as an one who came to ballet as an adult is that we don't seem to have those body positions 'drilled' into us to the same extent as children do. Consequently I struggle to remember which arms go with efface for example, rather than feeling able to create the movement and a feeling as an organic whole.
Hope that makes sense.
Posted 03 December 2003 - 04:22 AM
In effacé, the dancer is seen very open and exposed to the audience. In fifth position effacé, the right foot is front, and the dancer faces Down Right. The head is turned and inclined slightly to the left. This is a very important character of effacé! For, when the foot points in tendu devant, the left arm goes up above the head, and the right arm is held at the side, but with a distinctive curve peculiar to this position, so that from the front there is a broad "ƒ" or "s" curve to the whole pectoral girdle. (Calligraphers love this position!) The eyes are cast slightly upward and to the left, gazing past the middle of the forearm and out into space. Part of what effacé means is "shaded", and the upper hand suggests that it "shades" the face. The upper back tilts very slightly back. The turn and tilt of the head becomes very important here, as Mme. Tumkovsky used to say at SAB, and apparently still says, "cheek is so Mr. Balanchine can come along and give you kiss." Well, maybe nowadays, his spirit.
Transfer the weight from the left foot to the right, keep the arms where they are, tilt the head the other direction, put the back just a shade forward, and you have a Franco-Russian effacé derrière.
Effacé is a very beautiful position, but it is tricky to do correctly. Even while standing still, it suggests a movement from that position through space. The lines seem to continue into infinity, here more than in any other position, in my opinion.
Posted 03 December 2003 - 06:00 AM
When you say the dancer's feet are to the front, or down the stage, while the dancer "faces" this way or that way, what do you mean? If the feet are squarely down stage, is it the dancer's hips, the dancer's shoulders, or the dancer's face which (literally) "faces" down right or down left? Or is it all three that are rearranged (hips, shoulders and face). In short, what do you mean by "faces?"
Posted 03 December 2003 - 06:33 AM
For instance, while the body is facing the corner in écarté positions, in écarté devant the head is turned and lifted towards the downstage arm, which is in 5th en haut. In écarté derrière the head is turned and inclined very slightly downward, but also toward the downstage arm, which is in à la seconde, usually a slightly lowered seconde.
Posted 03 December 2003 - 07:31 PM
And since écarté has been mentioned, let's go to work on them!
Écarté means "thrown wide apart", and the poses, when extended, can look very much like that. But for now, let's assume that our pose is taken pointe tendue, with the foot simply pointed on the floor. Facing the Down Left corner, the dancer points the right foot to his/her side, as if to an à la seconde position, with the foot pointing toward the Down Right corner. The right arm goes up over the head as if in 5th en haut (Cecchetti) or 3rd (Vaganova/Legat), while the left arm takes a sort of demi-seconde. Like second position of the arms, but slightly lower. The chest is held up and the entire upper torso takes a very slight cant to the left. The head is turned toward the raised arm, and the gaze directed past the middle of the forearm, as in effacé. The head should be lifted enough to allow the line of sight to center on the mid-forearm, but not so high as to look into the palm of the hand. The palm should be in the peripheral vision, but you're not looking right at it. This is écarté devant.
Transfer the weight from the left foot to the right, and you have the beginnings of écarté derrière. Change the arms so that the left arm is up, and the right in demi-seconde, and keep the head turned to the right, but drop it slightly down and direct the gaze along the downstage arm. The chest is still lifted, but the cant to the left now becomes a cant to the right.
Posted 04 December 2003 - 04:19 AM
Posted 04 December 2003 - 05:13 PM
I am reading too. Work took me away for a few weeks. Please continue this thread.
Posted 04 December 2003 - 05:44 PM
On to the épaulés.
Facing the DL corner on the left leg, the right leg points backward toward the UR corner. The downstage arm reaches forward, as in a 2nd arabesque, with the head turned to fix the line of sight across the raised arm, tilted slightly to the right, and the upstage arm reaching as far as practicable in the same direction as the pointed leg. This is épaulé devant. (Cecchetti ends here. He just called this plain épaulé)
The French School has an épaulé derrière, too! It's the same pose, except that the dancer faces the UL corner, and the head is turned even more across the arm.
Posted 04 December 2003 - 06:56 PM
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