2 3 Technical Tuesday Penchée | Ballet Webb

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Technical Tuesday Penchée

Technical Tuesday Penchée

Few things in ballet are as beautiful as a perfectly executed penchée, especially if that penchée is in arabesque and the leg goes high enough to become the coveted “six-o’clock” penchée. Penchées are most often done in arabesque, but may also be performed in other positions. The word itself means “inclined” or “leaning”, and that is what happens, more or less. The dancer leans forward (or side or back) and the working leg extends higher as the dancer’s torso descends.

In any penchée, the distance between the working leg and the torso must be maintained. This means that the dancer may only go forward (or side or back) as much as she can until this distance is at the point of being broken.

There are several secrets to a successful penchée. First, the weight must be maintained over the ball of the foot, and this means the dancer must be aware of the point of no return where the extension tops out and the dancer’s weight begins to pull back toward the supporting heel. Also, a constant energy through the working leg must be maintained. And finally, the descent must be gradual. It isn’t a race.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #21g:  
“The word “penchée” means leaning or inclined.”

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