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 Post subject: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 10
i'm having trouble achieving a closed fifth, if anyone has and tips on how to improve i'd really appreciate it!! thank you


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 3:29 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1258
Location: Scotland/France
Could you be a little more specific? What is it that you cannot achieve? The closed toe to heel position, or the fact that the muscles get in the way? Or can you not ever get straight legs?

All of this will depend upon the anatomy of your body, or/and the way you are turned out or your lack of it...


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 9:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1780
Location: Dallas, TX USA
I don't have any tips for you about how to physically improve your fifth position... however I had a teacher once who emphasized that a perfect fifth and correct placement very rarely coincide. While he always encouraged us to work on our turnout, he also offered tips on how to position our bodies as to make the most of our natural turnout as viewed from the audience's point of view.

For example, he taught those of us cursed with not-so-good turnout to ease our croise a bit toward center so that the gap between the front toe and the back of the heel wasnt quite so visible to the audiences.

Perhaps you can improve the appearance of your turnout in the short term by watching yourself in the mirror and discovering how to hide flaws and accentuate assets.


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 12:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 12:01 am
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Quote:
Originally posted by balletowoman:
Could you be a little more specific? What is it that you cannot achieve? The closed toe to heel position, or the fact that the muscles get in the way? Or can you not ever get straight legs?

All of this will depend upon the anatomy of your body, or/and the way you are turned out or your lack of it...
I'm having trouble achieving the closed toe to heel position, in which my turnout is probably to blame. Are there any excercises that improve turnout?


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 13, 2004 5:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 34
Location: Benicia, CA, USA
I'm afraid that I have quite a lot of trouble in this area too, due to starting dance past an age where my body was "malleable", but my teachers have told me not to worry about it too much. However, they have also told me that a good way to improve turnout is to plié and turn the feet out, then straighten while holding the feet where they are and being careful not to roll onto the instep, before every exercise.

I hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 51
Location: Germany
I would be a bit concerned about trying to improve turnout by doing that with the feet, actually.
There are many dancers who do that, but it is still not the most effective and certainly not the safest way.
There is a danger of twisting the knees, which have been led to believe that the legs are able to be as turned out when straight as they are when bent. This is usually not the case, though, and the knees could be damaged.

You could try to turn out the legs from the hips while keeping quite long and straight. (not bending forward or sticking the backside out, for example)
Then try to hold that with the muscles of the inside thigh and lower buttocks; not gripping, which would only hinder the turnout.
The muscles you use are the ones you feel when turning out the legs from a parallel position, weight forward, with the feet about half to one foot apart.

-d-


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:37 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 654
Location: Seattle, WA. USA
All good suggestions. I agree with "Diane's" idea of using fourth position. Try making a small(ish) fourth position. Can you get both legs stretched (this is a better and more accurate term, I think, than straight)? Are they equally turned out and is "everything" well-placed? (Hips true; "square" and not tilted in any direction, feet flat on floor [all toes touching floor, with the arches lifted], with the weight placed more toward the balls of the feet and not back on the heels.) Are you lifting in and up through your torso?

If so, you're practically in a terrific fifth already! Try making (over time) these smallish fourth a little smaller and smaller -- making the space between your feet less. If, in a standing position you don't quite ever get to where you can totally hold your fifth with the heel-to-toe/toe-to-heel, that's okay. Depending on your build, you may have to have a tiny space (about the width of one of your fingers) between your feet.

As I often tell my students, it's more important to have stretched legs and good placement, than to squish into fifth.

That said, in *movement* with steps like glissade where the ankles and knees are bent and you are going through fifth position, there is no reason not to "hit" a perfect fifth as you do so. You're not going to squish or torque anything.

"Holding" your fifth may be a different matter and it will get better over time, with careful and thoughtful practice. It does require an amazing amount of strength and control. I find for me, holding positions (and just dancing in general) takes a lot of work from the trunk (back, abdominals, etc.). Once you do "get it" though, you just engage it, hang on to it (the control and feeling) and then can work on other things and enjoy your dancing.

Your teachers are correct in advising you not to worry too much about making a "perfect" fifth posiiton right now. Think of it as a long-term goal, that will come as you tackle that and everything else that ballet and dancing demands. It's part of the fun of the work. Happy dancing!

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Dean Speer
ballet@u.washington.edu


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:54 pm 
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Thank you for all the advice, everyone. I'm sure it will be a big help! :)


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 146
Location: bakersfield,ca
Alisa it is often a question of standing up as tall as you can on your back leg too. somethimes people sit instead of lift up which makes no room for the front leg to come into fifth, turned out or not. Try really standing up as tall as you can on that back leg whether both feet are on the ground or not.


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2004 1:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 1258
Location: Scotland/France
Quote:
As I often tell my students, it's more important to have stretched legs and good placement, than to squish into fifth.
I absolutely agree with that! Not many people can get the toe to heel look, and I don't think it matters that much. From what you describe, it sounds like it is that bad (from where I'm standing, i.e., not being able to see you! :p )

Quote:
Can you get both legs stretched (this is a better and more accurate term, I think, than straight)?
Dean, actually, on this occasion, I did mean 'straight'. I wanted to know whether it was a question of the shapes of the legs (which sometimes can prevent the "traditional" heel to toe look in 5th position). Sometimes, the legs are hypo or hyper-extended, and then, there must be some adjustments to be made in order to accommodate the shape of the legs (so that all fits together under the waist).

There is anyway (for everyone) a need to lengthen the spine in order to have 'room' for the legs to fit underneath. If you 'sit' in the position (i.e., let the weight of your upper body simply rest there on the hips), there will be less possible room for the legs to move and replace themselves in a tight 5th.


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 Post subject: Re: can't achieve a closed fifth position!!
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2004 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 6
Location: england
Keep trying Alisa, if you are determined enough you will get it, trust me i was the same with chajmonts(not sure how to spell it!) (jumps) i could never land with my heels on the ground when i first started but i practise alot and soon got the hang of it. Good luck, keep trying.
M :) :cool:

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