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Technique


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#31 DefJef

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 02:36 AM

Handedness causes us to develop our muscles somewhat assymetrically. I would assume that dancers work to develop their strength symmetrically. Ambidextrous people may, in fact also develop symmetry of their muscles. (don't know). One would think that if one has these muscular assymetries it would impact on how one executes any handed motion. No?

#32 Hans

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 08:30 AM

What confuses me, though, is that left turners in figure skating lead with their left side. In ballet, the standing leg for left turners is the right leg, but the left shoulder leads the turns.

That depends whether we're talking about en dehors or en dedans :)

This may be getting too much into technique, but in dance, the plie and legs create the torque for turning. The arms can help, but dancers can turn well without using their arms, so they're not strictly necessary.


Well...to get really picky (and perhaps too BT4D-ish) the force for a pirouette is supposed to come from the back. Obviously some of it comes from the legs, too, but dancers are taught to think of it as coming from the back. So the arms are not really necessary, but the movements the arms make help engage the back in the correct manner for the pirouette.

#33 Buddy

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 10:34 AM

Most people turn better to the right (I believe he's a right turner, too, isn't he?), and it's good to be reminded that even Angel is human. :) I don't think it's too uncommon for dancers to select the side they turn to, especially for solos. Choreographers and stagers often make changes to accommodate dancers' strengths, too. Last month, it was interesting to see on which side of the stage each Bluebird started his solo for the Royal Ballet performances of Sleeping Beauty.

--Andre


Andre, just to have some fun here, let's remember that folks in the UK and some other countries drive on the left side of the road. Racing events, if I'm not mistaken go left, counter-clockwise.

#34 Helene

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 10:41 AM

That depends whether we're talking about en dehors or en dedans :)

I was trying to take that into consideration, but which leg is the equivalent of the standing leg -- the take-off leg, which varies by jump -- or the landing leg?

#35 bart

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 11:41 AM

And how about pique and chaine turns? In everyday life, I can do almost nothing with my left hand. But I was much better turning to the left -- and finding a spot -- from day one, in both these kinds of turns. This is true regardless of the lead leg in the piques.

Is it common for dancers to be equally proficient in piques and chaines, left and right?

As for fouettes, where so much turning happens standing on one leg, wouldn't relative strength of foot and ankle play a big role in the dancer's choice of direction?

As an audience member, looking at fouettes and pirouettes, I can't help but consider right-turning to be aesthetically pleasing while left-turning seems rather jarring, especially in multiples I haven't a clue where that came from! :huh:

#36 Hans

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 02:01 PM

I was trying to take that into consideration, but which leg is the equivalent of the standing leg -- the take-off leg, which varies by jump -- or the landing leg?

Not a clue as far as that goes, unfortunately. :huh:

Is it common for dancers to be equally proficient in piques and chaines, left and right?

No. :)

As for fouettes, where so much turning happens standing on one leg, wouldn't relative strength of foot and ankle play a big role in the dancer's choice of direction?

It can; however, I can do far more grands pirouettes to the right en dehors (standing on my weaker left ankle) than to the left because I spot better to the right.

#37 Andre Yew

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 08:30 PM

Racing events, if I'm not mistaken go left, counter-clockwise.


Sorry for the off-topic post, but only some racing events go CCW (eg. NASCAR and IRL oval races).

--Andre

#38 carbro

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 08:40 PM

Horse racing, track events . . .

#39 Buddy

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 09:12 PM

My instructor. . . always asks me . . . why dancers spin to the right (Clock-Wise).

I can't explain why most dancers find right-turning easier. I always assumed that skaters turned to the left because when they rotate their jumps to the left, they land on their right (usually stronger) leg. I'm not sure the coordination is the same for skaters and dancers. For example, skaters don't spot, do they? :huh:


carbro, I'm not sure exactly what "spot" means in dancing. In figure skating the skaters do skate in a circular direction onto a spot from which they begin the actual spin, hopefully not moving from that spot. This is done on the front tip of the blade. Sonya Hennie (spelling (?) ) did spins using the length of her blade, which one famous commentator (I forget who) thought was quite an accomplishment.

I cannot recall ever seeing a figure skater starting a spin from a stand-still position. (Wrong! I do it myself, but only in practice. Also my instructor wants me to 'swing' my arms into the revolution.)

This might be getting a little closer to why figure skaters go left and dancers go right.

Figure skaters may have to put a lot more turning energy into moves like spins and jumps because of multi-revolution, triple-quad demands, these days. This might explain why Angel Carrella with his mega-spins likes the left. Thus other parts of the body come into play leading back to the throwing of a ball example that I mentioned. Maybe? Maybe? I still would like to think a lot more about this.

It seems like you, Andre and I are doing the mid-night shift tonight. I wish us all a good night's sleep.

#40 carbro

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 11:59 PM

Sorry, Buddy.

When a dancer turns, the head remains front, the eyes focused on a specific point, until the rest of the body is halfway around. Then the head snaps front, ahead of body, eyes returning to that point, until the dancer is halfway through the next rotation. This is true in most turning steps (pique, chaine, pirouette, emboite), unless the body is in arabesque or attitude position.

By contrast, don't skaters keep their chins directly over their sternums until they've stopped turning?

#41 vrsfanatic

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 02:48 AM

unless the body is in arabesque or attitude position

...or leg held to the side or front at 90 degrees, dependent upon which school of training one is discussing, otherwise known as tours in big poses! When tours in big poses are done in sequence the tours are spotted.

#42 Buddy

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 07:11 AM

Sorry, Buddy.

When a dancer turns, the head remains front, the eyes focused on a specific point, until the rest of the body is halfway around. Then the head snaps front, ahead of body, eyes returning to that point, until the dancer is halfway through the next rotation. This is true in most turning steps (pique, chaine, pirouette, emboite), unless the body is in arabesque or attitude position.

By contrast, don't skaters keep their chins directly over their sternums until they've stopped turning?



I should have caught that before. You are absolutely right in the direction of your question. Skaters do 'not' as far as I've noticed focus on one point when spinning. I've wondered why? I'll ask. I will have to look up the word sternum to answer the rest of your question.

Of possible interest is that a skater like Irina Sluitskaya (spelling?) does an amazing double spin with one foot held over head, then switching to do the same on the other foot. Her transition from one foot to the other for the second spin is done with minimal entry gliding. I have to say that I used to watch all the figure skating that I could. Now I skate, but my real viewing passion is what I call "Lyrical Dance" (essentially ballet at the moment). Thus I can't give you details about the 'pros' like I used to be able to.

#43 DefJef

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 07:56 AM

I am confused about the clockwise vs counter clockwise issue. I would have thought that a trained dancer develops their musculature in perfect symmetry.. or as close as possible.

Why would there be any "advantage" to making a step in either clockwise or counter clockwise direction? I do understand that our individual handedness causes most of use to "favor" one side.. and consequently develop our muscles, movements and memory of same.

Perhaps the fact that most people are born right handed means that they favor that side... "pushing" off the strength of the right side and effectively turning "left" or counterclockwise. I would have thought that with years of training this preference would be "neutralized"... and dancers would be able to perform equally well in either direction of rotation.

This also raises in my mind another meta issue about choreography. Have any productions of any ballets been performed as the mirror image. Are stagings actually in fact "handed" favoring the dominant right handedness of most people?

Fencing is a sport I think of as right handed... but perhaps it is not. Any thoughts on handedness?

#44 Buddy

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 08:29 AM

Have any productions of any ballets been performed as the mirror image.

Great idea, DefJef!

I did see a performance once, two nights in a row. where the lead dancer did a huge show stopping jump in one direction and the next night did it equally well in the other direction. The rest of the ballet stayed the same both nights.

#45 carbro

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 08:50 AM

I will have to look up the word sternum to answer the rest of your question.

Sternum: Breast bone. In other words, the skater's head does not move from straight forward, wherever the rest of the body is facing.


Have any productions of any ballets been performed as the mirror image.

Often, corps de ballets are divided into stage left and stage right halves, each mirroring the other.


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