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 Post subject: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2000 5:04 pm 
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<B>This post by priscilla has been moved to start a new thread here:</B><P>In the New Zealand Ballet Teaching Methods #3 thread -- <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000191.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000191.html</A> -- Tip_toes said: <P>"Just as the educated teachers no longer use 'tuck your tail under'."<P>Though I've heard other ways of telling students what 'tuck your tail under' was supposed to impart, I don't recall hearing anyone say one shouldn't say "t.y.t.u". Can someone please explain for me? <P>Are there other terms/descriptions/instructions which used to be widespread, but are now no longer considered accurate or "right"?<P>

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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2000 5:06 pm 
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<B>jan wrote:</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I believe that most teachers have dropped "pull up" from their terminology. Others??<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>

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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2000 5:09 pm 
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<B>tip_toes responded:</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Oh dear that line on its own sounds rather pompous doesn't it ! But I will try to explain.<P>Many years ago,as a grade student and up to Intermediate ( my teachers followed both the Royal Academy of Dancing and British Ballet Organisation syllabi), I too was instructed "tuck your tail under", "pull your stomach in", "point your toes", "lift your chin","don't sit in your plie". <P>Then the school employed a new teacher (Royal Ballet School trained as a teacher) and suddenly we learned about muscle awareness and use (Kinetics) in dance. Not just rote or mirror learning but the why, when, how, what etc. The shape of our legs and bodies changed the words used in class were lengthen, elongate, rise, hover, rotate, push, pull - all words which are moving and not static.<P>As a teacher one has to be very explicit when giving corrections. Very often students take you literally. Verbal instructions, such as some of those above, can produce postural faults.<P>"tuck your tail under", and 'pull the tummy in', convey static and rigid images. Lengthen the tail bone down towards the floor gives a different image. <P>Pulling the tummy in is likely to tilt the pelvis under ('tucking the tail under or in"). This action tends to lock the ribcage and the hip - joints, relax the knees, reduces the length of the spine and throws the weight back. The result is overall body tension, bulky thighs and large buttock muscles because gripping of the buttocks happens naturally when the tail is tucked under.<P>"Balance the pelvis, lengthen the space between the front of the hips and the waist, lengthen the lower back, lengthen the abdominal muscles, pull the tail bone down, lengthen the backs of the legs", are all active instructions rather than held rigid ones.<P>Think for a moment about one of the others. 'point your toes' - To stretch (Noverre's <I>etendré</I>)is a stretch from the hip to the tip of the toes. <P>How often do we see children, when first learning, curl the toes under with no extension in the ankle joint. Stretch your feet and legs is a moving, or ongoing correction - point your toes is a static image.<P>As an advocate for teacher training and teacher certification - other boards have participants who may well shoot me down for saying this, it is my belief teacher training, after certification, is a daily process where one should constantly evaluate one's own demonstration and teaching methods. <P>Videoing class, seeing what the student actually 'did' with a correction, after your 'eye' had moved on to the next student can be very enlightening.<P>Two very good books to help with teaching are "Inside Ballet technique" Valerie Greig<BR>"Classical Ballet technique" Gretchen Ward Warren.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2000 5:14 pm 
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<B>trina wrote:</B><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I do say "pull up', but only as a "shorthand" after I've already explained at length , what exactly that means.<P>Words/phrases I would never use when teaching:<P>- "pull" (as an isolated word by itself or to describe a muscular/anatomical goal, it just has bad karma as a word, and gives a bad kinesiological image)<BR>- squeeze your butt<BR>- tighten your buttocks<BR>- open your thighs (only to advanced or intermediate students who understand what that means)<BR>- articulate your feet (again, only to advanced or intermediate students who understand this imagery)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2000 6:22 am 
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i try not to say 'tummy muscles' - unless it's little kids - now i say 'abdominals'.<P>and i try to remember not to talk about demi-pointe - this is me being pedantic - because i believe that what we are really referring to, these days, is 3/4 point......<P>i try to use 'cambré' instead of what is usually said here for a body bend. i notice that rabbit used the term 'ports de corps' which i have never seen before. we usually call adagio-type body bending/stretching movements 'ports de bras', which of course literally means carriage of the arms. that seems innacurate to me. <P>if you look up the books here, cambré is usually reserved for a backbend, but to me, it means 'arch', and i can arch my body in any direction, and that seems to me a good description of the various body bend stretching movements we do, whether to front or side or back, so i've taken to calling these 'cambrés' - a touch of personal eccentricity, perhaps, but not an illogical one!<P>i also never say 'tighten your tail' or whatever other expression you might use euphemistically, there (derriere, etc). this one might be more contentious....muscle tone is one thing, but tensed clutched muscles are something else, and to be avoided. i feel that if the attention is on holding the legs and the posture appropriately, the derriere is taken care of, without added focus!<P>outdated ACTIONS might be another thread: -full plié in 4th; <BR>-cecchetti's open 4th position (4th opposite 1st) seems to have disappeared; <BR>-the flexed cou de pied which i learnt in cecchetti (don't know what they use, now, but the wraparound and the relaxed foot seem to have become THE cou de pied's in most classes/syllabi);<BR>-the complete circle (oval) in rond de jambe en l'air (i.e one that goes behind the working knee) is rarely seen;<BR>-actually i try to avoid using that 'working leg' term, which some people object to, on the basis that 'both legs are working' - seems a bit of a matter of semantics to me, but...you know....point taken....so i try...

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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2000 6:33 am 
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I use the term working leg and standing leg - doesn't seem confusing to the students.<P>Port de corps is used here - I use it as well as cambre' - which is used here more for backbend.<P>I think the open plie' positions as described above are disappearing - but as you know I don't used grand plie' in any position except seconde anyway.<P>oppppsssss - I have to go - ballet class in 45 mins. - more later..........


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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2000 10:23 am 
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Well, here I am back from ballet class - survived another one!! <P>I spoke with the people at class and we compared "terms" that we use. <P>It seems that we all agree and so it must be an "area" thing. We all use cambre' for backbend and port de corp for forward bend.<P>We all use "full foot" for flat on the ground, demi-pointe and/or half toe (both are used interchangeably) for as high as one can get without being on full pointe.<P>No one uses open fourth position. Everyone uses fourth position coming from a fifth that crosses to just in front of the knuckle of the big toe of the standing foot.<P>Everyone uses the terms standing leg and <BR>working leg.<P>The consensus seems to be to teach a flexed foot for petite battement to very beginners to get the in and out movement clearer - and then change as soon as possible to a wrapped and/ or relaxed foot. I say and/or because the consensus was also that the students should be able to do both.


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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2000 4:48 pm 
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well, i guess I'm a student who has taken t.y.t.u the wrong way and developed bulky thighs, relaxed knees, and lack of inner thigh muscles! <BR>For years, I was tensing butt muscles to do anything, and it was only the last couple of years i finally worked out NOT to do that.. I still do when I do developes, because I haven't found a way not to. If i don't tense the muscles, I can't hold my leg up.(please tell me if I'm not meant to be doing this!)<BR>Another common phrase my teacher uses is "up and forward with your chest/back" which I get told frequently, but dont really understand. So many times I have sucked my stomack in, hunched my shoulders, stuck my rib cage out and pushed my neck out! <BR>And then she'd come and cprrect me saying NO NO NO! and i still wouldn't get the feeling of the proper position.<BR>My teacher's not really good at explaning things in detail using BIG words, which I find abit frustrating, as I can't understand her very well.


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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2000 5:12 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>I use the term working leg and standing leg - doesn't seem confusing to the students.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>i agree - doesn't bother the students. its other teachers who object, due to the inference that the 'other' leg isn't WORKING! you know, they say 'but BOTH legs must be WORKING' - fair enough....<P>so these terms have semi-disappeared in australia. the best teachers would have dropped them, most of the time. others would be behind the times and still use them, because after all, as you say, they're USEful! sometimes it's just habit, sometimes it's a pain having to come up with an alternative expression, but, you know, 'political correctness'....with an underlying good rationale....so,we move on!<P>basheva, here (and in england) we use 'ports de bras' for body bend (including forward) -which, as i say, i regard as an INaccurate description, but this IS the usual, and cambrée for backbend. but i am just inventing my own usage, as described above, based on logic rather than tradition (shock, horror! Image )<P>you speak of the pliés in the 'open positions' disappearing, but we regard 2nd and 4th as the open positions. (and i know you use 2nd). <P>Cecchetti is the only source i know of, for the 'open 4th' position, also called '4th opposite 1st'. of course everyone uses the 4th opposite 5th; it's the other one which is disappearing.<P>we never use 'half-toe' (nor in england) because it relates to the idea of 'going on toe' (for pointe work) - which is considered a REALLY bad thing to say/dreadfully UNcool! - only people who know nothing about dance talk about 'toe-work' - and my, do they get quickly 'corrected'! Image<P>i'm confused by your description of petits battements, so i'll leave that for another time......<P>btw, battement (and batterie) are masculine terms, so they have 'petit' with them, rather than 'petite'. actually, THAT's another difference in usage: i noticed elsewhere, that victoria and basheva talked about 'petite batterie' - we regard 'batterie' AS 'petit', i.e. as SMALL, so we never qualify batterie as small. it's redundant!<P>'grand allegro' (or is it grande?) includes batterie within the 'grand' steps....<P>BUT, then if we specifically wanted to talk about a huge beaten assemblé or something, we would have to call that grand batterie, i suppose, but i've NEVER seen that expression. to us, batterie just IS small, by definition.......maybe it's because the actual BEAT is small/neat/precise/whatever, even when the step is a big one like six de volé, for example.....<P>hmm, puzzler....that explanation'll do me, i think!<P>dear purple, you poor thing, sounds like you're trying too hard! Image<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>sucked my stomack in, hunched my shoulders, stuck my rib cage out and pushed my neck out! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>where to begin? maybe with a new teacher? (that's a joke, purple!).....<P>try 'lifting your abdominals, relaxing your shoulders down (as if they are sliding down your back), forget your ribcage (or if it's prominent, 'breathe' it in), and lift your EARS, rather than elongating your neck'..........let me know if that feels different, then have a look in the mirror and see if that pleases you (& your teacher..) any better....good luck! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2000 5:37 pm 
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Purple, I will add just a little to what Basheva has said to help you some with your ribcage. She says to lift (or lengthen) your abdominals which is very good advice. The abdominals are attached to the ribs, and in addition to other things, are considered muscles used for breathing. <P>As you inhale, feel what Basheva said in the lengthening, or lifting of the abdominals. The lower part of your ribcage (the "V") should open or expand. When you exhale, feel your abdominals contract into your body, and feel them pull the lower part of your ribs together. You can get a feel for this by breathing slowly and deeply until you become used to it.<P>Notice that if you are doing this correctly, it will help you to keep from over-arching or hyper-extending in your mid back just behind the "V" that I mentioned. This helps you keep your spine in the correct alignment, so that when you inhale again you can make sure that your mid back stays in place. <P>Sometimes when teachers say "knit your ribs" (another one of those archaic sayings) Their intent is to keep you from hyper-extending in your mid back, but what often happens is that the dancer thinks that their ribs shouldn't move at all. They then tend to take shallow breaths in the effort to "stabilize" their ribcage. <P>The ribcage must open and close, somewhat like venetian blinds, so that all the muscles move and don't get "held" inappropriately. The ribs should move without pulling the spine forward on the inhalation. This takes more awareness than muscular strength. You can practice this best while lying on the floor on your back with your feet flat and knees bent so that your back is flat on the floor. Then take the feeling with you to dance class. When you get used to breathing correctly, you will probably find it easier to relax and work with a little less strain.<p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited November 08, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2000 3:45 am 
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thanks for the reply guys; I think it'll help! <BR>So you shouldn't breathe from your stomach? (I don't; it's ok!!)


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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2000 5:51 am 
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Not quite, Purple. You breathe from your "stomach," abdominal muscles, really, in that the abdominal muscles are essential to proper breathing. The lungs are the apparatus that take in the air for your body to use. They must expand as they fill, therefore the ribcage must open (and close as you exhale.) There are muscles throughout our torso that participate in this process, but here we are focusing on the abdominal muscles. I hope this helps to clarify this for you some more.


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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2000 7:52 am 
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Hello Purple - as for holding your leg up in extension -<P>As you developpe' your leg - you must engage your stomach muscles and your back - not clutching - but working, and then feel as if a hand were moving under your thigh and lifting your leg from underneath. As for the other end of your leg - imagine your heel lifting your leg - that way between your stomach muscles on one end, your thigh muscles underneath, and an imaginary hand under your heel - your leg will feel lifted in three places.<P>As for getting to where you can maintain that height - when you are well warmed up - place your leg on the barre. Don't stretch anything - just get yourself aligned correctly - then lift your leg off the barre one inch - and then lower back to the barre. Try this to the front and to the side. Then the next day try for two inches - hold it up there a few moments - and then lower back to the barre. It is slow work - but it will help with strength. Slowly increase the height of the lift from the barre and the time - and I think you will see an improvement.<P>Another thing you might find helpful with placement. Just before starting any adage at the barre of in the center - check that your weight is forward on your standing foot - that you are not back on your heel - that would throw all your placement off even before you start. Remember you can't scrunch yourself into a developpe'- you have to lift yourself into it. <P>If you are interested - I have another one you can try for strength too........let me know. <p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited November 09, 2000).]


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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2000 8:27 am 
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Grace - just to clarify, since I may have made a muddle of my explanation -when I speak of "open fourth" position I mean the fourth that is opposite first. And, I do demi plies' in all positions but grand plie' only in second as I explained my reasons in a previous thread. <P>As for the standing/working leg nomenclature - since it works well with students - that's what counts to me. But I can understand the other thought process too. Certainly the standing leg - in order to provide stability - is "working".


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 Post subject: Re: Outdated Teaching Expressions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2000 9:48 am 
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Imagery and terminology I would use with adults and kids are totally different. Kids do not respond to long-winded, abstract imagery....ie.."pull up", open your thighs and such. They also take everything very literally.


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