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 Post subject: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2001 7:51 pm 
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Location: new york city
hey,<BR>i wasn't sure what to title this. but i am mightily curious about this, and want to know what you all think in addition to what i am asking my teachers.<P>but there are places that come to mind, in ballet especially, which what we are "supposed" to do counteracts what we need to do. one example that comes to mind immediately is taking an extension past 90 degrees to the side -- it seems, from pictures i have seen, that the working hip is going to have to, anatomically, lift. but that lift seems to go entirely unacknowledged in classes i have taken -- or, if acknowledged, only as something to be stamped out.<P>but is this a wise thing, do you all think? i know that i am increasingly neurotic about placement (which is good) but i wonder if there are times when it is going to suffer and that i shouldn't be neurotic (ie, i can cross 90, but if my hips go up, i don't, but if they have to...?) is there "wiggle room" that is unacknowledged? i can understand where it might want to be understated (so as to not have people wiggling when they don't need to) but should it be acknowledged or is it just one of those sad truths about our anatomy that we try to ignore and work around?<P>is this a clear question, even? i am not sure i articulate what i mean clearly.<P>thanks,<BR>--ari


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2001 9:25 pm 
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Location: Washington St.
I have this same question! I was reading at the Ballet Alert message board about this once, and they insisted that the hip did not lift at all when lifting to the side, and if you were strong enough it wouldn't have to do so. But then I reading the book _Inside Ballet Technique: Separating anatomical fact from fiction in the ballet class_ by Valerie Grieg. In a section called "Square Hips? In Battement Tendus and High Leg Extensions" it talks about how the pelvis does tilt. It says that the lumbar spine curves and the tilting of pelvis is very visible, but that the eye is lead astray by the position of the upper body...<P>But maybe a tilted pelvis is not the same as a slightly lifted hip. Anyone? <P>I'd type in the whole paragraph, which is more specific about these things, but I'm not sure about copyright issues. Does anyone know if it is okay to quote books online? --Katheryn


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 4:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
There is a great book that you might want to look at called: "Anatomy and the Ballet" by Celia Sparger.<P>If you look on page 25 you will see both a picture and an x-ray. In those pictures you can see that when the leg is lifted even to only 45 degrees, the pelvis has already begun to lift. It is a fact of anatomy.<P>You are right to bring this issue up - because ballet teachers are always saying, don't lift the hip - but nature disagrees. The book also says this is for the average person. So, for some people the amount of lift may be more and for some a bit less. But the pelvis does lift.<P>I think that what the ballet world is trying to do is minimize that lift. <P>On page 26, it shows the leg at over 90 degrees - both a picture and an x-ray - and of course, the pelvis and the spine are both affected at that height.


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 5:06 am 
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Basheva, Celia Sparger's book does show the anatomical fact of the hip lifting when the leg attains a certain degree of lift. A picture can be worth a thousand words! What we, as teachers are watching for, is that the hip does not lift before the leg reaches that point. Sometimes the direction is unclear to the student when the teacher makes the remark, "don't lift your hip." or "keep your hip down." The student may not be aware of the difference between the leg lifting to that place where the hip must lift, and lifting the hip before. <P>The other misunderstanding could be the lifting of hip posteriorly (usually accompanying the premature lift to the side of the hip," which causes the pelvis to tilt, and create a "sticking out rear end" or the dreaded "dog at the hydrant" effect. So, the pelvis must mantain it's front to back plane of placement, even as it tilts in its side to side plane of placement.


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 5:44 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
You are right Maggie - about lifting the hip posteriourly - that would also have a negative impact on the ability of that leg to turnout.<P>Maybe teachers should be clearer in that correction. "Don't lift your hip" might not be a clear enough direction.


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 9:56 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
As I read Ari's initial post, that Celia Sparger book came to mind for me, too. Her pictures really helped me to understand the hip placement issue. I have teachers (didn't stay there for long...) who wanted us to go for the height a la seconde, and the parameter was you could lift (maybe displace would be more accurate) to the point that your supporting hip was over the heel of your supporting foot. The only caveat was to keep the shoulders visually level. Does that make sense? For people like me who are well endowed in the hip area, it looked ridiculous, and felt extremely unstable.<P>When I tell students to keep their hip down in side extension, many times they sit sideways into the supporting hip to fix it. So I find myself using other images, such as "easy hips," "let the pelvis hang from the spine" and so on. Sometimes it takes a lot of hands-on work to help them understand the concept, but some seem to respond well to the images alone. So I thought I'd throw them in here.


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 12:53 pm 
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Nancy, what good images. I believe a teacher must have a varied vocabulary to explain things to students, since we know that people can learn in many different ways. An explanation that one student understands may be inaccessible to another. To be able to explain using a number of different approaches is one of the things that makes a teacher a true teacher, and not just someone repeating rote information. I really like the description "letting the pelvis hang from the spine" and would like to use it when appropriate in my teaching if I may.


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 1:16 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I, too, like those images, Nancy. I am chuckling because I just posted an answer to Magadalena in "Legs" and I used that word "ease" .....I think I must have subliminally picked it up from your post!! Hope you don't mind?! Obviously my subliminal mind liked it. <P>In addition to your mention of students sitting over into the standing hip to accommodate an extension a la seconde, I also found they would have the entire rib cage shift over. They were entirely unaware of it, until it was pointed out, and then they were shocked. <P>There are a couple of other instances in which the requirements of the ballet technique are almost impossible to fulfill. One that comes to my mind is tour jeté. We are usually taught to go up into the air, and THEN make the turn. <P> Yet, according to "The Physics of Dance" by Kenneth Laws, on pages 69-74, it is not possible to really go up into the air and THEN make the turn. There must be some of the turning action initiated before the push off foot has lost contact with the floor.<P>And in the sequence of pictures in the book, that is exactly what is happening - as the dancer leaves the floor the turn is already occurring. According to the author, the dancer has learned to make it an optical illusion that the turn occurs in the air by keeping the tour jeté legs close together, abd by the sharp motion of the arms and head.


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 5:01 pm 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
Maggie, please feel free to use my images or any other information I post here. If it helps anyone to understand a concept, I'll be very happy.<P>Basheva, I found "The Physics of Dance" really fascinating. At the very beginning of Baryshnikov's Nutcracker video, there is a segment of him doing a tour jete in slow motion, if I am remembering correctly. (I could be miles off -- it's been that kind of day...). Watching that really shows how that force starts from the ground and works up into the air. But, oh, what splendid suspension at the top.<P>Yours subliminally, Nancy


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 Post subject: Re: wiggle room?
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 10:09 am 
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Location: new york city
thanks for the book tips. classes are almost over for the year(!) and my reading list is ever-longer...=)<P>we watched, in my teaching methodologies class, part of the physics of dance video (or /a/ video about the physics of dance) -- very interesting. there's a section of fouette turns that shows...allegra kent? julie kent? one of those there female dancers whose last name is kent ( Image on a low-friction platform holding onto a handle and just going through the motion...wow. the force made so much more sense.<P>it also showed a young abi stafford in a demonstration about jumping and centers of gravity.<P>interesting. veeerrrry interesting. biomechanics are interesting...maybe the one thing that would get me to take physics. =)<P>--ari


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