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 Post subject: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 6:43 am 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 329
Location: Scotland.UK
although i'm quite flexible in my back i don't seem to be able to get that " C " shape when in arabesque and my arms out behind my back...how do i manage to do that position??<BR>i don;t know if it my abdominal muscles that need to stretch further or the Quadraceps at the top of the leg need to stretch more??<BR>can you help??


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2001 9:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
You need flexibility (and strength) in several places for arabesque.<P>What does your backbend look like when not in arabesque?<P>When you are in arabesque where is the line of your spine? If you look at pictures of your favorite dancers in arabesque you will see that the spine is on the same line as the FRONT of the standing leg. Where is yours?


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 10:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 270
Location: Wisconsin
Thanks for posting this - I too have this problem. While I have middling back strength and flexibility (I have a nice cambre to the back) - when in arabesque my back and my legs make an "L" shape instead of the "C" shape.


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 11:35 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Well - let's see...<P>I am looking at the Gretchen Ward Warren book "Classical Ballet Technique"...on page 48,the middle picture on the top row which is labeled: "at 90 degrees." Does that look like an "L" shape to you or a "C" shape?<P>or look on page 51 - top row - first picture labeled: Demi-caractere arabesques (because of the arms) not the actual arabesque - <P>those all look like "L's" to me.<P>What do you think?


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1278
Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
I'm looking at an old poster of Cynthia Harvey as Gamzatti in La Bayadere, in a gorgeous 91 degree arabesque. Looks like an L shape to me...<P>Maybe different bodies create different letters in arabesque. Mine creates a fantastic letter I. <P>But wait a minute, Sugar Plum. I just re-read your post, and you say something about an arabesque with your arms OUT BEHIND YOUR BACK. So it's not your regular first-second-third-fourth-etc. arabesque you are concerned about? Is it only in this other position? Can you describe for us a little bit more exactly where your arms are? I think we may have misunderstood you.


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 1:40 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I make very good "W's"......


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 3:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: Wisconsin
I see my problem - in the photo of the 90 degree arabesque part of the model's torso is sort of facing the audience, what my teacher would call "opening" the hips. When I do my arabesque my hips don't "open" - and when I try to open them I end up falling over.<P>Grr. Any words of wisdom?


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2001 4:19 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Well, Bree, if I am not mistaken the model in the picture, is Susan Jaffe - principal dancer with ABT - ssoooooooo- LOL - it's hard to compare oneself to her. (even if I got which dancer it is wrong - all the model/dancers in the book are major dancers.)<P>Some of what you are talking about has to do with our individual construction. I think what you are seeing is the turnout of a principal dancer. However, take a look at her standing foot - as you can see it is NOT totally turned out. Even at her level of proficiency, there is not a 180 degree of turnout. <P>Look at the picture on page 49 - bottom - where she is totally un face in arabesque - in the picture labeled "correct". That is a very interesting picture. You san see how her lifted leg is totally behind her shoulder, her body does open out a bit to that leg, AND the foot she is standing on is less than totally turned out. So, even she, compensated a bit by opening out her torso. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited June 24, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2001 9:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: Wisconsin
So, if I understand this correctly, the amount of useable turnout limits the amount of "openness" for the hips in arabesque? I am afraid this was never quite explained to me - the only discussion I remember my teacher saying on the subject was to "never open your hips" as it interrupts the line.


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2001 9:37 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Bree, hmmmmmmm.......<P>We may have here a difference in our use of the words. To me an open hip is a turned out hip. But I think you may be using it in what I think of as a "lifted" hip. <P>In my opinion an open/turned out hip is good - a lifted hip (which tries to achieve the illusion of a turnout) is not good.<P>As I look at those pictures I mention above - Susan Jaffe's hip is "open" - turned out - but not lifted. Does that make sense or did I muddle it more? LOL<P>To my mind when your teacher said "never open your hips" she meant never lift your hips (that would have been how I would have said it). And, yes, in my opinion - opening the hip is turning out the hip. And, your useable turnout would be the same thing.<P>So, I think we have a difference in semantics, here.<P>Interesting.....


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 4:50 am 
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Location: Wisconsin
LOL - yes, Basheva, I understand now!<P>I am "lifting" my hips - twisting my torso into an S shape in order to get my leg higher. I was fiddling around this morning in front of a mirror and, after watching myself from the back (sounds tricky!) finally understood what was wrong. I was "lifting" instead of "opening" the hip!<P>It's funny - now that I have corrected this "lifting" I can actually extend my leg a bit higher...without cheating!


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 7:46 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Good for you Bree!! That's quite an accomplishment. And quite a learning experience. Learning to do that - and understanding it - is really an accomplishment. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: more flexible back??
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2001 5:45 am 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 329
Location: Scotland.UK
when in arabesque , i tend to lean forwards at the moment ...i can hear you say it now..." thats not right "..i know i am trying to correct it..so my spine is not over my standing leg...it is only a slight lean forward , nothing major.


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