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 Post subject: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 3:36 am 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2001 11:01 pm
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Now, by now I'm sure you all getting quite sick of all my questions, so I apologize.<P>I've got two questions- does it matter if you have flat feet, to dance? Because I've ben able to strengthen my feet easily since I started ballet, and my point has showed a significant improvement.<P>And fourth position....I do not understand it at all. Especially plie's in this position- my back knee will only bend slightly, no matter how I adjust my weight.<P>Again, sorry for all my questions! But I'm having problems keeping my supporting leg turned out when I'm in arabesque, does anyone have any tips?<P>*feels bad for all her questions*


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 6:00 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Please, Magadalena - do not feel sorry about asking questions. Questions are a desire for help and there is nothing wrong at all with that! We are here because we enjoy helping and learning.<P>I have known people to dance with flat feet. And often dance will help improve that. There are also other things you can do. You can sit and try to gather up a towel with your toes. This helps with the articulation of the foot and strength too.<P>Turning out the standing leg in arabesque is not easy!! If you have a video tape of the corps de ballet in the ballet "La Bayadere" second act, there is a time there when all those dancers are lined up on stage and standing, flat foot, in arabesque - just standing there. That is probably among the most difficult things they do in that act, in my opinion. Look at their feet, they are turned out, but certainly less than 180 degrees. <P>You have to find where your individual turn out is- what is available to you and work with that. You can find this out by standing in first position in your best natural turnout, and then going up to demi pointe, and see where your heels have ended up. Probably a bit less than when you were standing flat. That is where your turnout is. Sometimes for balance - like in an arabesque, we stand even a bit less turned out than that.<P>If you do a search, you will see several threads in which we are discussing pliés. I feel that grand plié should only be done in second position. That the other grand pliés are too stressful on the knees. And, in my opinion, grand plié in fourth position is the most stressful of all. <P>The most important thing about plié, either grand or demi - is that your knees stay over your toes. If you knees are more turned inward than your toes, you will have to turn your feet out less. They have to be lined up for the safety of your knees.<P>Here is a thread you might want to read:<P><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000448.html><B>PLIES AND KNEES</B></A><P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 6:16 am 
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Location: Barto PA, USA
Hi, I do not teach 4th position grand plie on a regular basis. I do once in a while, because they may need it if they move on.<P>I did not have great turnout, just okay. It did not hurt me. I use it to the fullest. I know some people who have great turnout capabilities, but do not develop it. If I had such capabilities, I would love it.<P>Anyway, use what you have. You sound quite dedicated. Great talent without desire and dedication is wasted. A little talent with a great deal of desire and dedication is unstoppable!<P>Janet

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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 10:39 am 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
Well said, Janet!<P>Magdalena, I remember reading an article on flat feet and dancers. Someone did a study of a professional or pre-professional group and discovered that many of the dancers had what would be classified as flat feet. That meant that when they were standing, their arches flattened out to such an extent that you would classify them as flat. However, when these dancers pointed their feet, or stood on pointe, etc., the feet did not appear flat at all! <P>So maybe we need more than one definition for flat feet -- when they are bearing weight and not bearing weight? Some of our anatomy experts, please feel free to jump in here. Obviously, from this study, the dancers' flat feet did not stop them from dancing just fine.<P>Magdalena's question has made me think about the relationship between flat feet and pronation. Any feedback? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 11:14 am 
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Thanks, all of you! I feel better knowing that the pros aren't turned out entirely in arabesque- I tried what you suggested, Basheva, and my turnout was just a little _wider_ than I thought it was! Surprised me :-) Towel, hmmm?<P>And by the way, what do you guys think of Pilates? I've been doing it for about a year, and its been wonderful so far!


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 11:23 am 
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Magdalena - I have no experience with it - but Maggie does - so I am sure she will have some things to say about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 11:48 am 
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Location: USA
Nancy, I would be interested in seeing the article on dancers and flat feet. Magdalena, I think it would be important to find out from a doctor if you truly do have flat feet, meaning the actual construction of your bones indicate this. Oftentimes, what might appear to be a flat foot is a foot that needs some strengthening exercises so that the muscles are working well to support the foot correctly. Many dancers "roll" onto their arches, especially when they are trying to turn out too far. This can certainly be bad for the arches in your foot, and can lead to developing a flat foot. Some people's feet look flatter than others when they are just standing, but when they start to use their foot, you can see that there is an arch.<P>The reason that I tell you to find out is so you will really know what kind of foot you have and how best to work with it. Remember, you will be standing, walking, and dancing on your feet your whole life, and how you use them can affect your whole body.


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 12:28 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
In high school for science/health class we did an experiment. We wet the bottoms of our feet and walked on a piece of paper. We could not only see the outlines of our foot on the paper, but also where the instep made contact with the paper. We then colored that all in with crayons.<P>Then for the next couple of months we did many exercises with our feet; gathered up towels, picked up marbles and walked around. There were several other things too, but at the moment I can't remember them (high school was a looooooooooooooong time ago) LOL.<P>Anyway, then after a couple of months, we redid the walking on paper with wet feet measurement again. And, we were all surprised at how much higher the instep was. The teacher said that this was because the muscles in the foot became stronger and was more supportive of the structure. <P>We got to take home the papers. I don't think anyone put them up on the walls in their bedroom. LOL<P>But it was an interesting lesson.


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 12:31 pm 
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oh, yes, one more thing.....<P>I remember once sitting in the audience, about tenth row or so during a ballet performance, and one of the male dancers was standing en face in first position - and I could distinctly see light under his shoes. <P>Now that's an instep hugging shoe...I thought. And a nice foot.


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 1:01 pm 
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Maggie- I have seen a doctor, and I wear arches in all my shoes (besides my ballet slippers) but I've been able to wear them less and les without discomfort. Do you think this si a good idea?? Basheva- That sounds interesting...What else did you do?


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 1:08 pm 
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Magdalena, if your doctor tells you to wear arch supports in your shoe, then that is what you should do. You must be improving if you have to wear them less! Do you do foot exercises, too? I think they are very helpful. I, myself, do not have flat feet, but I have had some other foot problems in the past. I work with people, though, teaching pilates.<p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited May 30, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 2:03 pm 
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No, I don't. I don't know any, except for the ones Basheva described above.


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 2:05 pm 
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But I do take pilates, and I LOVE IT!!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Fourth and Flat and Arabesques
PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2001 3:06 pm 
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Maggie, I think the article was in a compendium of articles based on lectures delivered at a Russian/American conference on dance medicine. Sorry, I can't be more specific right now, but if I haven't thrown it out and come upon it at home, I'll keep it in mind to give you the info.


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