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 Post subject: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 270
Location: Wisconsin
I have problems with piques en pointe. This includes pique arabesque, pique turns, and pique where the working leg comes up to retire.<P>While in slippers, my pique is perfect. The leg which I am pique-ing onto is straight, the transfer of weight is instant and the placement of the working leg is exact. En pointe, however, I lose all of these desirable qualities. My knee is always invariably bent and I am wobbly all over. I know a major problem is I am transferring my weight to a leg with a bent knee - even when I start out with a straight leg it always ends up bent! It takes me a few seconds to snap into correct placement.<P>My teacher is exasperated and so am I. No matter how many I do in practise (and I'm still at the barre, because I can't get the hang of it) and no matter her suggestions, I cannot pique correctly. She is out of suggestions. Now, I am looking for yours!


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 Post subject: Re: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
You know Bree, there is a mental component to dancing - and in straightening the knee in particular. I have found that out myself. <P>When you reach out for the pique' with a straight leg - it is only at that last moment that it bends, right? Try to put your mind on the standing leg - the one from which you are pushing off of. Sometimes that push is not strong enough - and if you are hesitant mentally it might cause that push-off to be less than it should be. <P>I have often found that when something doesn't go well, it is not the "thing" itself that is at fault but the preparation for it - the step before needs the attention. Think of your pique' leg-foot as one complete unit - one steel rod.<P>You could also practice pique' onto two feet - as in "step-step". So that you end up in 5th position sur la pointe. <P>Also - what is your foot like? Do you have a reasonably high instep? or is it barely arched at all? That will make a difference. People with barely arched insteps have a much more difficult time stepping over into pique'.


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 Post subject: Re: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 270
Location: Wisconsin
My teacher suggested the pique to two feet thing - my feet end up in sous sous (don't know if that's the exact exercise you're describing) and my back leg closes with a slight space between the front foot and the back. I don't know if this is from my weight being shifted the wrong way...just thought I'd add it as an afterthought.<P>My arch is average. It is neither high nor flexible - I have to work it a good amount in my pointe shoe in order to get the desirable amount of arch. It has never been spectacular.


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 Post subject: Re: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2001 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Sous-sus is a releve' that travels forward. So that is not what I meant. I meant step onto one pointe pique' and then quickly bring in the other foot behind it in fifth. And then if that works, close the second foot more and more slowly.<P>The important thing is to do it without bending the knee of the pique' foot. Another thing you can check is that the push off leg has a deeper fondu, so that you can get a really good push. And it is equally important to make sure that your weight is kept forward over your feet. <P>Your arches sound much like mine. And I know that feeling of being very tempted to "get over the foot" by bending the knee. But it doesn't help at all, as you are finding out. The good news is that a tight foot is a strong foot, but you do have to learn how to work with it. <P>So check your fondu, and check to make sure your weight is well forward - and that you arrive in one piece with the weight still forward. When you fall - see which way you are falling - if it is backward - then your weight wasn't far enough forward.


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 Post subject: Re: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2001 4:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Pa, USA
Are you doing piques at the barre to the side? If so you are also possibly throwing your hip alignment off --could you wear an elastic band at your waist to keep an eye on that? It may help if you attempt some piques to the front to watch your hip alignment vs. side. <P>Additionally if you could go into the studio for some amount of time with both slippers and pointe shoes and keep assessing the difference between the two in the pique movement to find the precise moment the quality of the movement begins to change it may give you more insight to the exact problem.<P>Has your teacher spotted you at the barre? I've found this helpful also--just going behind a dancer and helping them "lift" onto the pique--they can begin to feel the correct way to get there with some "partnering" of the pique. Image<P>I like the suggestion Basheva gave you for the pique on two feet. I also thought that perhaps if you begin to think about pulling your leg back UNDER you (as opposed to getting your weight out and OVER the shoe) it may help. I was once told that a pique in slipper is one where you are stepping out--in pointe a pique can almost (not quite, but almost) "replace" your initial supporting leg and that your actual body weight travels very little on pointe in comparison to one in slipper. (That is not a verbatim quote Image) Are you "throwing" your weight with your pique or thinking of pulling your leg back under you?<P>Another consideration is simply fear. If you are afraid of getting onto one foot (of falling over, torquing a knee, etc.) you are going to continue to have some problems. If you are a bit scared--it is ok--but you need to face that if it is a reality for you. If you think this is part of the problem try this: from fifth (at the barre of course!) roll one foot up (ball-platform) then bear your weight on the barre to straighten your knee and really feel where your weight placement is--work on your alignment with one foot so you know how it should feel when you get to the pique and where you need to be. (Don't forget to feel your free leg in retire as well!) Sometimes if you know what the beginning and the end of a movement needs to be by really feeling it--your body will subconsciously "fix" the middle bit of getting you there in that milli-second that puts a dancer onto a true pique.


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 Post subject: Re: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2001 6:17 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
All great ideas, Jan - I am sure Bree will appreciate them.<P>Another thing you can do, Bree, is - at the barre, releve' onto one foot, and really feel that. Feel the strong foot under you, the straight knee, and then try to duplicate that feeling in pique'.


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 Post subject: Re: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2001 8:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 270
Location: Wisconsin
Thanks so much, everyone!<P>I think, as I evaluate myself mentally, that I am kind of SHOVING myself up to pique using the leg in fondue. I don't think I am using my weight to my advantage, if you know what I mean - instead of shifting it forward, I'm trying to use my leg to shove it all up and pile it on my supporting leg, if you know what I mean.<P>Currently I've been working on pique with one hand on the barre (sideways) - I'm really hoping I get this down! I'll check my hip placement Image<P>I'm going into the studio early on Tuesday to really work this out. I'll let you know how it goes.


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 Post subject: Re: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2001 8:36 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 10, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 50
Location: Oregon USA
I used to have incredible problems doing piques on pointe. I had two problems the first was, (like Jan mentioned) being scared that I would fall. The second was that I was trying so hard to pull up out of my shoe that I ended up tucking my butt under instead of pulling up. When you tuck your butt under it is almost impossible to keep your leg straight. You might be doing this too. So concentrate on pulling up. I hope that made sense to all of you.


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 Post subject: Re: Pique Problems
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2001 10:37 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
As I said in my first post, Bree, if you are hesitant mentally - your body will hesitate physically.<P>Do you have this problem with both feet? Does the same thing happen no matter which foot you are stepping out on? <P>Did you mention once that you have some ankle/foot problems? Could it be that you are frightened a bit because of that? <P>Dancer 13- that is a really good observation about tucking under - <P>


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