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"Good Feet" The Who's, What's and Why's


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#46 Hans

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 03:42 PM

Is the aforementioned Dance in America video still available? I want to see this famous sur le cou de pied. :tiphat:

#47 bart

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 05:12 PM

It's here:

http://www.amazon.co...h...1469&sr=1-4

It's one of 2 compilations from studio tapings for Dance in Ameica (1977). It's just the Andante, squeezed in between Tzigane (Farrell-Martins) and The Four T's.

Hans, you write:

It is always important for the dancer to perpetually lengthen the leg and foot, a detail that I fear is too often ignored in the modern quest for extremely curved lines.

As an outsider, I'm not sure I understand this.

Are you talking about actually trying to increase the length -- or creating the illusion of doing so? (Carbro on another thread today spoke of the quality of "extending beyond the ends of his extremities and off into space.")

Regarding the "modern quest for extremely curved lines." Can you give some examples of this? Cristian's last post includes a grotesque photo of a woman from (I believe) the Kirov, hyperextended leg way up in a la seconde, foot clenched into a half circle, her calves creating huge piano-leg curves. Is this the sort of thing you mean?

#48 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 06:01 PM

Cristian's last post includes a grotesque photo of a woman from (I believe) the Kirov, hyperextended leg way up in a la seconde, foot clenched into a half circle, her calves creating huge piano-leg curves. Is this the sort of thing you mean?

That would be Zakharova, who bravely held the "Most Controversial Ballerina" title until Somova destituted her...
Here she is again...
http://www.ballet4ev.....on Studio.jpg
and again...
http://upload.wikime..._-Zakharova.jpg
and again...
http://www.buccafusc...a Zakharova.jpg
and finally, her famous feet in full glory for us to dissect...
http://neverboring.f.../svetlana_1.jpg :tiphat:

Well, at least she can be cleared off from being an enhancer-user suspect, I guess...

#49 Hans

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 06:22 PM

It is a bit difficult to explain, but when, for example, the leg is extended at any height (even pointe tendue, or in fact even when simply standing), the dancer must feel a core of energy moving through the center of the leg and through the tips of the toes, as if one is reaching with one's toes for a point just beyond them. Of course, the foot must be fully pointed, with the toes curved (but not clenched) to finish the line, but the feeling is one of length rather than merely the foot curving around.

The ideal these days seems to be a very hyperextended leg (knees that bend a little bit backward) and a very pronounced arch and instep, much like the photos posted of Svetlana Zakharova, and I fear that in attempting to achieve these extreme lines and exaggerate them, students do not focus enough on the feeling of lengthening the leg and reaching out through the ankle and foot.

#50 ami1436

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 06:30 PM

The other issue with that photo of Zakharova is that the ideal of line is completely lost -- she's displaced her torso, taking it off the vertical axis in order to achieve the line of her leg.

I don't mean to harp on about Rojo at all -- but I can recall pictures of her quickly. Here, you still get a nice curved line (albeit less pronounced), but also a lovely placement:
http://www.danceeuro.../issues/050.jpg

#51 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 08:50 PM

And then, here is Somova...I don't know, but I still don't find the S-shaped figure attractive at all... :tiphat:
http://img477.images...i/foto4wi9.jpg/
compared to, let's say, one of my all time favorites...Miss Josefina Mendez-(RIP)
http://cubanoticias....007/01/lago.jpg

#52 Andre Yew

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 11:38 AM

One of the hallmarks of a well-trained ballet dancer is how he or she uses her feet --- in transitions from one step to another, or in preparation for some step, for example. Even before we talk about who has good feet and who doesn't, ballet dancers as a class use their feet in a different way than other dancers. For example, watching So You Think You Can Dance, as a ballet fan, it's kind of striking how many of those dancers don't use their feet effectively at all. It's not that they aren't pointing their feet or anything like that, but how they initiate their movements and transfer force into the floor. Klunky is the best word I can think of to describe the look.

Also, wasn't there an interview with Darcey Bussell right after her retirement where she lamented the fact that dancers have to get over their box so much these days leading to injuries but they had to do it because that was the look everyone wanted?

For a nice example of foot articulation, look for "Misericordes 2" on Youtube, and look around 9:26 when Michael Nunn points his foot. He has very nice feet, too. I'm not sure about posting the link here as I'm not sure of its copyright status --- it's the Ballet Boyz film that follows Christopher Wheeldon to the Bolshoi. Well worth seeing the whole thing, BTW.

--Andre

#53 SandyMcKean

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 02:27 PM

Calegari: Kent role. She's a redhead, and I believe the only light-haired dancer among the women.
Pilarre: Hayden role. She was also in the "Emeralds" pas de trois (with Heather Watts and Daniel Duell) in the "Dance in America" series.
Saland: Adams role.
Spohn: Leclerq role. She also dances the First Theme in "4 T's" on the same DVD.
Ashley: Wilde role.


I have the DVD and I just checked. These are indeed the dancers

#54 mohnurka

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 08:08 PM

I don't think anyone has mentioned Ekaterina Maksimova and Nadezhda Pavlova - who had absolutely beautiful feet and used them beautifully as well!

#55 Helene

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 04:59 AM

The conclusion of Alastair Macaulay's review of Nina Ananiashvili's last performance at ABT as Odette/Odile:

Amid all the excitement I found it most marvelous that she still brought rare and eloquent beauty to tiny features. Nothing in this performance not the turns, not the lifts, not the throw, not the alter ego Odette-Odile opposition was more riveting than simply the way, during the White Swan adagio pas de deux of Act II, she slowly and softly brought her foot down from point, again and again, making the sole of her foot into an enthralling part of the drama.


http://www.nytimes.c...n...tml?_r=1

#56 iczerman

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 09:01 AM

I hope we have many more such topics. I thank you, icezerman .... wherever you are this morning. :)

I've been here...reading with interest the various postings! I've just heard the term" good feet" thrown around so much I was just wanting a little more info. My conclusion is that one can be born with a great arch and relativley short metatarsals...but it's how you use your feet that counts...

Gillian Murphy( my first love when it comes to Ballerinas) has really long feet..but she's very quick with them..for example her Bouree's.

Alina Cojocaru is going to need a podiatrist soon...she has a bunion forming on her right foot...( poor thing...I'm starting to like her too!)

#57 ami1436

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 01:04 PM

Alina's always had that bunion -- I think they are more pronounced in some shoes than others. I've seen an old (like maybe used 3 years ago or so) pair of her Blochs (I forget the style), and she's worked them well to accommodate her feet. Us dancers do crazy things to our shoes. I'm a full-fledged adult with my own salary, and when I told my dad yesterday that I was buying pointe shoes this week -- he was very relieved that he wasn't buying them 'only to have me cut them up'. !

#58 Simon G

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 02:46 PM

I hope we have many more such topics. I thank you, icezerman .... wherever you are this morning. :wink:

I've been here...reading with interest the various postings! I've just heard the term" good feet" thrown around so much I was just wanting a little more info. My conclusion is that one can be born with a great arch and relativley short metatarsals...but it's how you use your feet that counts...

Gillian Murphy( my first love when it comes to Ballerinas) has really long feet..but she's very quick with them..for example her Bouree's.

Alina Cojocaru is going to need a podiatrist soon...she has a bunion forming on her right foot...( poor thing...I'm starting to like her too!)



Iczerman

I wish I'd known that you had a working knowledge of feet, the ballet lexicon and ballerinas including how they work their feet before making a total idiot of myself at length, defending someone who professed to be a total novice, including upbraiding and attacking other board members who I believed weren't helping by becomig too technical. Apologies everyone for any upset I caused. I'm an idiot.

#59 carbro

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 03:15 PM

I'm an idiot.

Far from it. One thing you are, though, is very considerate. Many of us do sometimes forget that readers (not necessarily posters or even members) are the exact same novices we once were. It's good to be reminded every once in a while.

#60 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 04:47 PM

I wish I'd known that you had a working knowledge of feet, the ballet lexicon and ballerinas including how they work their feet before making a total idiot of myself at length, defending someone who professed to be a total novice, including upbraiding and attacking other board members who I believed weren't helping by becomig too technical. Apologies everyone for any upset I caused. I'm an idiot.

Far from it, Simon...This have led to one VERY interesting thread/discussion


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