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Grand Jete?

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I have a question regarding grand jetes. If this has been discussed before or if this isn't the right place for my question, feel free to move it where it belongs.

I've watched some videos of older ballet performances and compared them to newer ones and I have noticed that a lot of dancers nowadays seem to do the jetes in a rather weird way, where instead of forming an arc and going up they seem to jut forward and create a straight line with their body without getting much elevation. (Excuse my rather poor explanation.) They also seem to have a strange flappy and jerky quality in their jumps (I have especially noticed this when watching Zakharova). I'm obviously not talking about dancers like Osipova who have a stunning jump, but I have seen this in many videos and I'm curious why this happens. I was under the impression that ballerinas have greater physical ease nowadays so I would have supposed that their jumps would be better than those of a dancer from say the 60s or 70s.

Are they being trained differently? Is it because most dancers are taller and leaner and more flexible? Does that make it harder for them to jump?

I only have a very basic understanding of ballet technique so sorry if the answer to my question is obvious. blushing.gif

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Interesting you should ask this.

I am sure many people who have seen the "older" versions of grand jetes often wonder the same thing.

Perhaps the physique of some dancers has something to do with it.

Surely there is also the changing expectations of the angles the legs have to make; a "split" jump is perhaps not going to "fly" so much?

I am curious about what other people will say about this.


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I miss the old floating grand jetés... Sometimes it seems the craze for flexibilty has come at a sad cost... The loft does not have to disappear... Halberg manages both flexibility and elevation. Worst is grand jeté with an oversplit. It seems a misunderstanding of the use of the step... Not that there cannot be a range of dynamics in grand jetés -- Sometimes what one wants is a darting slashing grand jeté -- but that the floating jeté should be lost.... Perhaps it is because Nijinsky has left the collective consciousness of the step's possibilities...

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I think Amy hit on an important point....that there can (and should) be a range of dynamics for grand jetes (as in other steps), depending on the style of the ballet in question, the expressive use of the grand jete (if any), and other considerations. I think it's a problem when a certain technique gets overvalued and popularized. Other examples of this tendency are six o'clock (and beyond) penchee arabesques, developpes a la seconde that go up to the ear, even many multiple pirouettes. If the focus is on obtaining the currently valued super-technique (as in this case, split-jump grand jetes), rather than the stylistic and expressive context of the larger dance, then yes, something has definitely been lost, and completely misunderstood as well.

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Thank you for starting this topic, Mailied. I believe the scale of Osipova's jump is unparallelled, so she might not be an ideal point of comparison, but you raise an interesting question, and thanks also to those who've responded so far. I hope there are others better versed in the nuts and bolts of technique than I who will also contribute here. Anyone?

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