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 Post subject: tendu
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 6:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 87
Location: Winthrop, Maine
Hi everyone-- I've been lurking for a while and enjoying all the discussions on this site and finally decided to ask a question (the first of many I expect!) Basheva, you said in an earlier posting that no one would want to listen to you expound on tendus all day. Well I would! I am a novice and I sometimes feel I am missing the point of this movement. I try to pull up out of my hips to get a better turnout, keep the turnout the same degree throughout the movement, and I try to stay conscious of extending my leg down to the toes, stretching the calf, ankle, and foot. I still feel as though I'm missing the deeper meaning of the movement if that makes sense. Do you have any pearls of wisdom for me? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 73
Location: Canberra, Australia
Hi Elise - nice to see you. Basheva and others will undoubtably have lots of good advice which I too will be very interested to hear. Since I got here first I just wanted to say hello and tell you that I'm a novice too and that I'm sure tendu has many mysteries yet to yield. <P>Like you I try to focus on my turnout and placement and lengthening through the leg - particularly the thigh (I have a nasty tendency to want to bunch my quads and pull them in towrads my torso). I also try to work really hard on articulating through the whole foot with no toe scrunching (my teacher calls them 'crunchy toes'!). This used to elude me completely but it's getting better. I wish it would get MUCH better though.<P>Looking forward to hearing what our experts have to say on this one.<P>Danni Image


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
First Elise - let me welcome you to the board - it is a pleasure to have you here!!<P>Then I must ask if you have had a chance to see an earlier thread that I had on this subject? Here is the link in case you have not:<P><BR><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000192.html>Tendu - A Waste of Time?</A><P>Tendu is indeed an extremely important part of the ballet technique. Most everything extends from it. You can use it for turnout, strength, line, extension. It should never be underestimated. From your description it sounds as if you are on the right track - pulling up (not sitting in your hips), maintaining the turnout, and feeling the movement clearly down the length of your leg, into your foot and through your toes.<P>It begins as you feel your heel begin to lift, then feel your foot articulate through all its parts. This will teach you to divide your foot, it will increase the flexibility of the foot. Without putting any weight on the foot, press through the floor like an isometric exercise - never just plop it out there. <P>As you extend to the front "present" your heel to the audience. As you extend to the side - tuck your heel up under the foot - and as you extend to the back, tuck the heel down behind the foot. If you are standing sideways from the mirror, you should not see the heel in the mirror in any of these positions. And, of course, remember that the turn out which is visible in the foot - begins in the hips. At no time does the toe leave the floor. Popping the toe at the extent of the tendu is a common error. Likewise, flexing the toe upwards as you go either out or in is another common error. <P>Then as you come in back to your original position, reverse the process, each part of the foot coming back into contact with the floor once again. Then when you have come back to your beginning position - whether it be first, second, or fifth, be sure the toe comes fully back, and once in position the weight is now fully on both feet. Don't make the mistake of ending up with more weight on one foot than another. Each time the foot returns to it's "home" position, the weight must be placed upon it.<P>Well, Elise - you asked for "expounding" - and I have probably gotten carried away LOL. But it is my pleasure to answer you. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited January 29, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 4753
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
There's a book by Merrill Ashley that has great photos of tendus, degage, battement, etc. It uses photographic techniques to show patterns of movement, i.e., the arcs through space. I always thought it was great for giving a visual of the path of motion that you can't catch with the naked eye, and for giving a real sense of the energy of the movement.


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Danni - I was typing my answer to Elise as your were typing yours - (smile).<P>I try to visualize my toes reaching for something - and that helps me from scrunching. We use a certain amount of energy for everything we do - and we have to direct that energy to where it should go, otherwise it is either wasted or harmful. And for me to think of "reaching" helps me to direct that energy. <P>Marie - that really sounds like an interesting book -


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 8:07 pm 
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Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
It's kind of old, I think it was published in the early 80s but I still find it fascinating, especially the pictures of the rond de jambes...


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 9:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Canberra, Australia
Thanks Basheva - I've just been experimenting and the 'reaching' image is really working for me - not only for my toes, but my thighs too. It's been really frustrating - I keep repeating to myself 'lengthen, release, lengthen' and I've made a remarkable lack of progress as far as not gripping that thigh goes (in tendu, developpe etc) - but this really helps.<P>Many thanks - can't wait to give it a real work out when classes finally resume next week after the summer break. <P>This is off track, but I wanted to tell you -I'm going with my teacher to get my first pointe shoes this week and my first pointe class is next week. I'm very nervous, but I think that's just because of the long summer break and natural nerves. <P>See you, Danni Image


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2001 9:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 242
Location: Washington St.
I, also, am grateful for these detailed explanations, and always read them eagerly. I've never had these things explained so specifically before, and I've really been enjoying it. So, thank you to Basheva and everyone else who takes the time to expound!<P>:-)<BR>Katie


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 7:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Well, thank you very much Kathryn and Danni - for your kind words.<P>Sometimes when I type out and post these "expounders" and there is no response I wonder if anyone is interested. So it is very nice to know that there is.<P>It is these details of the ballet that fascinate me - I don't know why - but they do.


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 7:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Danni - don't be nervous - be excited and happy - but not nervous - LOL. <P>That is truly a good teacher that goes with you to buy the shoes. I used to enjoy doing that too. I can't understand (unless one lives in a very rural place) why anyone would buy their shoes without trying them on and having them fitted correctly. <P>Get information from your teacher also exactly how to sew on your ribbons and elastics - there are several ways of doing it and that is important too.<P>Lots of luck to you - Danni - enjoy!!


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 9:16 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
I love tendus probably more than just about any movement at the barre. I especially love it when a teacher has the exceptional wisdom (LOL) of giving several tendu exercises at the barre. Spending enough time on this particular exercise makes the rest of the barre go so much better for people like me who are of the tighter body type. <P>I also appreciate the teachers, again with the "exceptional wisdom," who give music at a tempo for a grown woman's body to really go through the movement instead of using that banal stuff for a 9-year-old's pace (you know what I'm talking about -- the tapes that sound like the pianist is using two fingers) ...<P>I really like to feel the challenge of pulling my legs out beyond their actual length. I imagine I am one of those old fashioned dolls whose joints are attached with glue and that the glue is breaking up and the leg is freeing itself. I know it's a strange metaphor, but it works for me. <P>I also love tendu releves!!!!!!!!!! I call 'em "butt burners" and people who aren't used to doing them really feel it the first time. They take strength and placement. <P>I've heard tell that lengthening the leg and increasing turnout go hand in hand, and I believe that. <P>One tip that has been especially helpful for me is to bring the leg in from behind (derriere) by really feeling the foot go from the point to the ball and then to the ground, which promotes turnout (and pulling up) as you bring the foot and leg back in to fifth.


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 11:01 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
The three commonest faults that I see in tendu are:<P>toe popping<P>flexing the toes either going out or coming in<P>not fully bringing the toes back into the original position<P>The first tells me that the student is allowing energy to "escape". It is keeping contact with the floor that is difficult, letting the toe pop is easy. The flow of energy has to be controlled.<P>The second tells me that the student has not articulated the foot. The foot cannot have articulated at the ball - if the toes are flexed - not correctly articulated, that is.<P>The third tells me that the student has not maintained whatever turnout the tendu started with - the hip has been allowed to loosen and rotate inward.<P>And those three things, controlling the flow of energy, correct articulation, and control and maintenance of turnout - are intrinsic to just about every aspect of the rest of the ballet technque that I can think of. So if the tendu is done correctly - if the student understands the concepts, it is more likely to be used and worked on for the rest of the ballet class.


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 11:31 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 4753
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
The supporting leg is also something that should be thought about in tendus, it's easy to let your focus all go to the one that's moving...<BR>I like lots of tendus too, my feet always take a while to warm up. I find in modern classes because the barre is often a centre barre some teachers whip through them kind of fast and you're doing degages before you're even on your legs.


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 4:39 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
You are right Marie - and I should have mentioned it earlier:<P><BR>Not to be forgotten is the standing leg, which does as much of the work at the reaching leg. As the weight shifts from two feet to one, great care must be taken that the student does not sink into the standing hip. This is something that the student has to constantly learn to check – I am not sure this is ever inherent. And one side is usually more at risk than another since, each of us usually favors one side rather than another. It can be seen when we stand for any great length of time, in an informal setting. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: tendu
PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2001 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2708
Location: Seattle, WA USA
I have a general question about tendus.... Or rather, when going from tendu into demi-plie into fourth positon en avant. It's a bit hard to describe. Some people do this weird thing with their foot as they're going into the demi-plie. Instead of just lowering th front heel down into demi-plie, they do an "exaggerated articulation" of the foot. Kind of a slow, forced arch, bending knee (before heel of working foot goes down)thing. I could be wrong, but it might be a NYCB ballet/Balanchine thing. Does anybody know what I'm talking about? When I teach at other schools and ask kids why they do that...they don't know. It's a style/mannerism thing. I can see working through the foot, but this is an exaggeration! Maybe it's a "wannabe" replication of what happens in jumping, but it seems kind of funky to me!! PS. Dancers do it in en avant, a la seconde AND derriere as well!<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited January 30, 2001).]


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