SanderO

Hands

29 posts in this topic

This is a personal anecdote, but the first thing that came to my mind after reading this thread (v. interesting!). I started my first ballet class when I was five. Honestly, the only thing I remember from those early lessons was how to hold my hands, like I was holding a delicate piece of popcorn between my thumb and my middle finger. Somehow, that caught my imagination early on, and I never lost my habit of holding my hands and fingers like that. Even now, as I'm walking, my hands revert back to the old, "natural" position.

I guess that's what ballet is all about, huh? The steps we learn become natural, and those of every day life, are....unnatural.

Just my $.02

Share this post


Link to post

Old-Fashioned, that's a PERFECT example of the tulip at its most open; they often /usually hold the fingers and thumb closer together, though still distinctly separated. Nelli Kobakhidze (here's a link to Danish Ballet Journal http://www.dropshots.com/hookham#date/2007-03-08/23:29:26) has this to a beautiful degree. It's a Bolshoi thing, and I wouldn't be surprised (though I do NOT know) if it were a holdover of Moscow ways that orient more to Asia than to Europe.

I remember being told by a Javanese dancer that they have several versions of their sacred dance, the bedoya -- on a scale from ritual to theatrical, the most sacred version, the dancers keep their hands "like closed lotus buds,' and in the most theatrical, the hands are hyperextended, like hte full-blown flower, fingers actually curling back.

I've been taught in the other, the St Petersburg-based Ballets Russes Franco-Russian tradition, just like you; in fact, my teacher corrects our hands by having us drop the arm, relax everything, let the hands swing, and look at the finger-groupings -- now raise that to second positoin -- that's it, she says. It does seem to be what the hand does when it's most liquid and relaxed.

Share this post


Link to post

I'm so glad to see the Limon quote -- he made a big deal out of hands in his training. He comes from the tradition that worked hard not to look like ballet -- hands had power as well as grace for him.

Share this post


Link to post