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soft landing - is there a price to pay?


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#1 Anne

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 09:57 AM

I know that there has already been a thread about this topic (soft landings) long ago - but I still wonder about one thing: does a soft landing have a price?
I have noticed that for example many of the male dancers of the POB are landing with a very loud bump. I have experienced it both live and on dvd, and it is the case of both soloists and corps, even very good soloists like Nicolas le Riche. At the same time I must admit that the POB have some of the best "jumpers" in the world, and plenty of them! Nureyev, who was a very good jumper too, is said to have been landing quite noisily.
Sometimes when I see a very silent dancer I have the feeling that the effort to land silently somehow happens at the cost of the glory or the length of the jump.
Does anyone know about this problem? I have noticed that many people on this board know a lot about technique which I don't.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 10:06 AM

Whether a landing is loud or soft depends on how well the dancer can control his weight (easy to say). But the danger is if the plie is too shallow and the landing is absorbed -- or not -- by the knees. That's a short answer. I'd like to hear dancers on this one.

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 10:46 AM

Alexandra is correct; if the jump is landed distributing the weight through the foot and ankle in a proportionate manner, and is backed up with the necessary plié, there should be no trouble with a big jump that lands softly. If the dancer relies too heavily on the foot alone, lots of mischief is possible, beginning with the Achilles' tendon! A necessary plié is not always a big, deep, spongy one, although there's nothing wrong with that. See Danish dancers for a great example of using just the right amount of everything to allow many springy jumps, some small, some large.

#4 Nanarina

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 03:35 PM

:foot:

I know that there has already been a thread about this topic (soft landings) long ago - but I still wonder about one thing: does a soft landing have a price?
I have noticed that for example many of the male dancers of the POB are landing with a very loud bump. I have experienced it both live and on dvd, and it is the case of both soloists and corps, even very good soloists like Nicolas le Riche. At the same time I must admit that the POB have some of the best "jumpers" in the world, and plenty of them! Nureyev, who was a very good jumper too, is said to have been landing quite noisily.
Sometimes when I see a very silent dancer I have the feeling that the effort to land silently somehow happens at the cost of the glory or the length of the jump.
Does anyone know about this problem? I have noticed that many people on this board know a lot about technique which I don't.



:clapping: I honestly cannot remember Ruddi ever appearing to make a thump or noise when he landed, although he did take quite bad risks, in turns etc, I was either in the audience or in the wings at many performances. At times he seemed to stay in mid air, and mostly completed his landings by the skin of his teeth. The illusion was never spoilt, that is why he was revered so much, he created magic. Which does not go with noisy landings !!

#5 Anne

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:56 AM

I honestly cannot remember Ruddi ever appearing to make a thump or noise when he landed, although he did take quite bad risks, in turns etc, I was either in the audience or in the wings at many performances. At times he seemed to stay in mid air, and mostly completed his landings by the skin of his teeth. The illusion was never spoilt, that is why he was revered so much, he created magic. Which does not go with noisy landings !!

I never saw Nureyev live on stage, so what I wrote about his noisy landings is only second hand knowledge, I guess from some book (and now I can't find out which book, though I have frantically ploughed my way through my bookcases to find out). I envy you, Nanarina, for having had the possibility of seing him live! Some of the magic of a dancer survives on film but not all. Especially the soaring quality of a high jump is difficult to capture on film. A couple of years ago I saw a stageperformance of Flindts ”The Lesson” with Johan Kobborg and he almost took one’s breath away by the way he could float through the air, and going up almost without preparation. At home with a videorecording of the very same performance it still looked great but nothing spectacular.

From Alexandra's and Mel’s answers I understand that a noisy landing somehow reflects a lack of technique, not just a choice on the side of the dancer, and also that a soft landing is more healthy than a noisy one. Being a Dane myself I do see a lot of Danish dancers and know that it is possible to jump gloriously and land absolutely silently, just look at Thomas Lund and Andrew Bowman (though the latter comes from abroad). I don't want to sound stubborn but I still can't free myself from the impression that with many dancers the point where they start going downwards, positioning the landing leg in a more vertical angle, somehow sets in a splitsecond earlier when planning a soft landing, especially in the big leaps where the dancers try to "sit" in the air (as opposite to the grand jete where the jump is more horizontal and speedy - please excuse my amateurism when trying to describe!). From my (amateur) viewing point it looks like a kind of sudden curbing the leap.
Well, what I see is maybe just different styles or techniques of jumping and in the end it hasn’t got anything to do with how much noise you do when landing. But I have thought of this for years and just wanted to ”get it off my chest”.

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 03:56 PM

I think a lot of it depends on "where do we go from here." If a rapid change of direction is immediately following a grand temps d'elevation, there will have to be a shortening of the jump to make it quiet, and to allow the movement against momentum to take place. I hate to see dancers cutting their jumps all the time, though, and remember with pleasure the idea of every step having a beginning, a middle and an end. Too often, I see dancers shortchanging that last.

#7 Anne

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 06:40 AM

I think a lot of it depends on "where do we go from here." If a rapid change of direction is immediately following a grand temps d'elevation, there will have to be a shortening of the jump to make it quiet, and to allow the movement against momentum to take place.


This explanation makes perfectly sense to me! :)

#8 dirac

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 05:45 PM

I never saw Nureyev live on stage, so what I wrote about his noisy landings is only second hand knowledge, I guess from some book (and now I can't find out which book, though I have frantically ploughed my way through my bookcases to find out).


Anne, I also remember reading about Nureyev's sometimes heavy landings, and in more than one book. You're not imagining things. I just hate those I-know-I-read-it-somewhere-moments. :( Thanks for raising the question and stimulating some interesting responses. And a belated welcome to the board!

#9 Rackon

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:43 PM

I never saw Nureyev live on stage, so what I wrote about his noisy landings is only second hand knowledge, I guess from some book (and now I can't find out which book, though I have frantically ploughed my way through my bookcases to find out).




Anne, I also remember reading about Nureyev's sometimes heavy landings, and in more than one book. You're not imagining things. I just hate those I-know-I-read-it-somewhere-moments. :blushing: Thanks for raising the question and stimulating some interesting responses. And a belated welcome to the board!


Ahhh, I have to de-lurk. Newbie here, but not to ballet.

I saw Nureyev dance quite early in his career in the west, through the RB years, several Nureyev and Friends tours on up to pretty late into his career. The young Rudi was cat-like in his landings, a fabulous jumper. With age and injury, he lost some of that incredible height and balon (as will every dancer), but he always tended to push and take risks throughout his performing career, which means he had some less than perfect landings, especially in late career. I certainly remember thumps during Nureyev and Friends. But as already pointed out, he was maybe even more of a risk taker in his turns. In his late performances that could quite nervewracking to watch for one who remembered the brilliant young tiger of a star.

Mel, I know what you mean.

I always liked watching the RDB schooled dancers, with NYCB, their own company and elsewhere, for the quickness and fleet footedness in small and large jumps. They always completed steps, while maintaining clarity of line and "showing" you the whole step. Tempi were not a problem for them

Anne, if you're hearing loud "bumps" from young, technically secure and accomplished dancers I wonder if the stage floor has something to do with it. I've never had the pleasure of seeing POB live.


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