2 3 Ballet Webb: April 2019

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Terminology Tuesday Ouverture de Jambe


Terminology Tuesday Ouverture de Jambe

Ouverture de jambe [oo-vehr-TEWR duh zhahnb] is a term of the French school. It means opening of the leg. It is very similar to a grand rond de jambe en l’air, but instead of being a slow movement that begins with a développé, ouverture de jambe is a quick, continuous movement that starts from grand quatrième devant or derrière.

This step is often seen in grand battement combinations, and I have seldom heard ouverture de jambe used. The movement is often simply demonstrated or described as a grand battement rond de jambe or something similar.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #39:
“Ouverture de jambe means opening of the leg.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“One mustn't refuse the unusual, if it is offered to one.”
― Agatha Christie, Passenger to Frankfurt

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Monday, April 29, 2019

Mad Monday Sand



Mad Monday Sand

In tendues, an important, but subtle shift of weight occurs as the dancer leaves fifth position and moves into the tendu: the weight shifts slightly over the standing leg. This may seem simple, but there are so many ways it can be done ineffectively.

A common problem is not shifting weight at all – so the tendu toes are squished (ouch!); or, the problem I’m talking about today: the weight shifts by dropping into the supporting leg. This causes a loss of the all-important two-way energy among other things. It’s not comfortable, either.

To prevent the sudden dropping shift, imagine pouring your weight like sand into the standing leg. You must maintain lift to allow the sand to flow gently into your leg, filling it accurately all the way up. Now you just need to add the downward energy from the feel of the weight of the sand. Voila! The perfect shift.


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #4y:
 “Imagine pouring your weight like sand into the standing leg.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“The sand in the hourglass runs from one compartment to the other, marking the passage of moments with something constant and tangible.
If you watch the flowing sand, you might see time itself riding the granules.
Contrary to popular opinion, time is not an old white-haired man, but a laughing child.
And time sings.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

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Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Rules




Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”
― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Superstitious Saturday Thread



Superstitious Saturday Thread

Here’s another superstition from the theater. If you find a length of thread on your clothes, or on the floor, pick it up and wrap it around your finger. Doing this is believed to bring good luck in the form of a lengthy contract.

Strings and fingers have several superstitious associations. In China, wrapping a string around a finger is believed to produce healing. In America a black string wrapped around a finger is used to cure a sty (eye infection).Tying a thread around your finger three times and dropping it to the ground is said to eliminate warts.

And we all know about tying a string around a finger to remember something.


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Superstition #148:
“If you find a thread, wrap it around your finger.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Recreate life's strings to weave your own path.”
― Diana Matoso

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Friday, April 26, 2019

Fun Friday Vroom



Fun Friday Vroom

Dancers are often told that the brush of the working foot in grand battement is important. They may not always know why, but they hear this directive quite often.

The under-circle action of the working foot against the floor provides the impetus (push) for the grand battement. Try the battement without brushing the foot and you’ll feel the difference.

To make the brush more fun and effective, imagine the vroom sound an engine makes as it revs up, ready for speed. Now apply that sound to the brush of the grand battement. Vroom, vroom!

Have a fun Friday!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #12h:
“Imagine making a vroom sound as the foot brushes the floor in grand battement.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“You are
What you do
When it counts"
- The Masao”
― John Steakley, Armor

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Throwback Thursday and Gaby Deslys



Throwback Thursday and Gaby Deslys

Gaby Deslys was born on November 4, 1881, and her real name was Marie-Elise-Gabrielle Claire. She was an actress, singer and dancer whose popularized a step that became known as the Gaby Glide. During the early 1900s she was a popular entertainer worldwide, and it is said she earned $4000 a week in the United States. She also performed on Broadway and in a show with a young Al Jolson.

Known for her beauty and her manner of extravagant dress, she was wooed by several well-known men of the day: the King of Portugal; J. M. Barrie (who wrote the play Rosy Rapture for her); and Gordon Selfridge (who gave her a strand of pearls as long as her height). It is also said that she worked as a spy for the French government during WWI.

As many entertainers did during this time period, she made the transition to silent films, but her only U.S. movie was Her Triumph (1915). She made a few other films in France before contracting the 1918 (Spanish) flu. She had several operations to cure a throat infection caused by this flu, but she died in Paris in 1920. She was only 38.

  
From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #220:
“The Gaby Glide was named for Gaby Deslys.”

Links of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Most people are resistant to ideas, especially new ones. But they are
fascinated by character. Extravagance of personality is one way in which
the pill can be sugared and the public induced to look at works dealing
with ideas.”
― Paul Johnson

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wacky Wednesday Tight Curl



Wacky Wednesday Tight Curl

One of the difficulties that can occur in a pirouette is that of a loose turning action. It’s like the difference between a tight curl in your hair or a relaxed curl.

The upward spiral of the pirouette must be small in circumference, not wide and wonky. Therefore, always imagine a tight curl when turning. This also helps create the speed needed, which tends to be slower if the turning circumference is wide – giving the pirouette a rather warped look. Scary.

And, as always, remember that the nice tight spiral contains both upward and downward energy.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #14bbb:
“Imagine a tight curl, not a loose curl for pirouettes.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Everything turns in circles and spirals with the cosmic heart until infinity. Everything has a vibration that spirals inward or outward …”

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Terminology Tuesday Cambré



Terminology Tuesday Cambré

The word cambré [kahn-BRAY] means arched. Here is the interesting part: The word is often used to describe any bending port de bras: forward, back, side, etc., but the true ballet term cambré means the body bends from the waist either to the side or to the back. Not forward. This explains why one of my teachers  always said to do a “port de corps forward and cambré back. It also makes perfect sense with the definition of arched.

Therefore, when performed as defined, a cambré doesn’t move forward – only side or back.

Now you know!

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Terminology Secret #38:
“Cambré means arched.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly -- they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”
― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Mad Monday Promenade Point



Mad Monday Promenade Point


Ah those problematic promenades. The answer is often simple: Remember Ballet Secret #14p: “In any promenade, the weight must remain over the ball of the foot.”  If this fails to work for you, there is today’s more negative image of the ball of the foot being “nailed” loosely to the floor. Cringe-worthy to be sure, but it works.

If at any time during a promenade the toes lift – even slightly – off the floor, the integrity of the step is lost. The weight is no longer in the correct place to complete a promenade without some adjustments or shakiness. Scary.

So keep that ball of the foot nailed to the floor and use that pivot point.


From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Secret #14aaa:
“In any promenade, the ball of the foot is ‘nailed’ to the floor.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Change occurs when excuses pivot to execution.”
― Ryan Lilly

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter!




Wishing everyone a wonderful Easter Sunday!


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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday Murphy Again



Saturday Murphy Again

Here is yet another gem from the collection of Murphy’s Laws for Dancers: “The technique always seems better on the other side of the barre.”

That’s right. Just as the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, it often seems that everyone else is doing better than you are. We all have days like that. But take heart! It simply isn’t true – it’s just an illusion (like so many other things in ballet).

I know you’ve heard that dancers need to compete only with themselves, but when you glance across the barre and see someone with impressive turnout or line or extension, this directive flies out the window. Right? Well! Bring it back and put your focus on your own technique and on other dancers as inspiration, not a cause for perspiration.

It takes constant effort, but it’s worth it.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Murphy’s Law #147:
“The technique always seems better on the other side of the barre.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Murphy's Law states that,
"If anything will go wrong, it will".
Positive side of this law is,
"If anything good can happen, it definitely will happen”
― Jiten Bhatt

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