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 Post subject: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2000 5:16 am 
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Location: BC , Canada
In the post "Grade 3 Cecchetti" I noted that the exercise for Grand Battement is listed third exercise at the barre.<P> In the spirit of discusion I thought I would post on the subject.<P> My initial training started with Cecchetti & I still find it a wonderful syllabus, however I have for a long time questioned the order of the barre, Specifically Grand Battement as the thrird exercise.<P> My problem with it is simple, Grand Battenment works a large muscle group and in my oppinion ( understand it is just my oppinion here) I feel that there has not been adequate warm up in preparation to the exercise. <P>Working a large muscle group fairly cold will build a bulky muscle. It can cause greater muscle soreness in the days following class and I have also noted that it can affect flexibility. Moving the Grand Battement and other large muscle group exercises to the end of the barre, better prepares the muscle for the work and creates a strong yet lean muscle. On other boards a common thread is from students who have bulky quads & want to trim them down. Now there are other causes for the muscle to develope this way; improper use of the muscle group such as gripping, lack of strength for turn out etc. <P> I have noted with Cecchetti students that they tend to have thicker "look" not just in the legs but fully through the body, they all look very strong physically & Oh what beautiful centers they develope with this method of training.<P> (the look of the body that different training creates can be a whole other topic..LOL) <P><BR>Would love to hear others comment on this topic.<P>note: this post is not meant as an attack on Cecchetti, I think it is wonderful syllabus, my intent is to simply comment on one particular that exists within it.<p>[This message has been edited by Rabbit (edited November 18, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2000 7:06 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I agree with you totally, Rabbit. I have always taught using the grand battement at the end of the barre, or very nearly at the end. <P>I took 5 years of Cecchetti with a fine teacher and I don't ever remember her putting the grand battement as the third exercise, but perhaps it has changed since then - was back in the 1970's. <P>The problem with doing grand battement so early, as Rabbit says, is working large muscles before they are adequately warmed. Not, so much in the kick up - but in the retard down. The leg is not dropped so much, as lowered, and this would indeed tax an inadequately warmed muscle.<P>I once took a class from a Balanchine teacher (she had been a principal with NYCB) and she gave grand battement at the very beginning of the class. I pretended I was injured because I just didn't feel at all ready and really felt I would injure myself.<P>I think the teacher not only has to be aware of the placement of each exercise within the barre, but also the time of day and the day of the week. <P>Mornings need a slower warm-up - as does Mondays, assuming Sunday is a day off.


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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2000 5:01 pm 
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Location: Australia
rabbit - i was Cecchetti trained (first). i don't know what order the barre goes in NOW in an exam, because i don't use the syllabus for exams in my own school, but i did study the new one (when it WAS new) about 8 or 10 years ago, when i did the Cecchetti Teaching Associate Exam. probably by now they have yet another newer one...<P>Cecchetti himself, i believe, put the grands battements second at the barre, after grands pliés (a million years ago!). <P>no-one i know in teaching would give EITHER of these exercises early in the barre, any more - nor would they have done for many years - BUT: the set of exercises DEMONSTRATED in an exam are just that. a demonstration, not a class as such. that's my view.<P>of course it would make sense to me to put the selected demonstration exercises in the same order as a sensible modern-day barre, but if they don't, whether due to tradition or anything else, i wouldn't fault them for that (though i can certainly see how one could!).<P>dancers should be fully warmed-up before going into an exam. i bet most grade students aren't, though!<P>i agree with you that it doesn't make physiological sense to do exercises demanding extreme flexibility (which both grands pliés and grands battements do), before the warming-up process of a ballet barre.<P>in my experience, no-one does....but i admit that i mostly only associate with good teachers! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2000 5:08 pm 
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just checked Tuk's helpful post on grace 3 Cecchetti - the grands battements come after pliés, tendus and glissés, so one might say they are 4th in the set, rather than 3rd. i think this is how it was when i learnt it - both times, as a child and with the newer syllabus some years ago - and apparently that's how it still is now. that doesn't seem innappropriate to me, for an exam setting.<P>it's also worth bearing in mind that the grands battements at this level is probably just 'point, lift to (no higher than) 90 degrees, point and close (or one notch up on that). so it's not a major felxibility challenge!<P>however, i agree with your point, rabbit, about class sequence in general.

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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2000 5:23 pm 
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Didn't we have a thread earlier in which we discussed the order of the barre? I believe we did - I thought I started that one - but I could be mistaken.<P>As for myself - when I am doing grand battement - and when I was teaching intermediate students, I usually had them let go of the barre for half of the grand battement. If we were doing, for instance - just for simplicity sake - four grand battement to the front, two would be with the barre and two with arms en haut. That way I would be sure that it was not the barre that was doing the work - but the student (including me). <P> In fact when I take ballet class I always do my own grand battement without the use of the barre. They are done last at the barre and the body is ready for this work and balance. It readies the body and mind for the center work, in my opinion.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2000 3:44 pm 
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great suggestion, basheva - i'll start doing that! (kids will hate it!) Image <P>- and yes, we do have such a thread, if you do a search, which is something i have only just started doing myself. it (usually) works surprisingly well....<P>however, it DOES rely on the threads being fairly specifically and appropriately titled <I>for search purposes</I>, which is something for us all to remember, i think......so i am going to re-title this thread now (previous title: Cecchetti).

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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 9:28 am 
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Third exercise..that's a bit bizarre...but I'm not strictly Cecchetti trained,so.....hmm..I need to think on this one!


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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 2:40 pm 
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It just loosens up the legs (in the hips) at the start of the class. Lots of professional dancers shake a leg at the start of a warm up...look at it like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2000 6:25 pm 
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thanks, gavin. <P>it's not bizarre, it's traditional, as explained above. but with a progression on the tradition, by moving it FROM 2nd place further along, to 4th place (after pliés, tendus, glissés) - not meaning to be repetitive here, but rather meaning to make clear that i am not disputing rabbit's "3rd" - but reminding you why what she calls "3rd", i'm calling "4th".<P>when looked at this way, it makes perfect sense, that the legs are gradually stretched (étendre - one of the basic movements of dance, of which Cecchetti itemised 7). first the legs are bent (plié), then they are stretched ALONG the floor (tendu), then JUST OFF the floor (glissé - or actually it's dégagés in Cecchetti, isn't it?), then grands battements (FURTHER THAN 'just off' the floor). grands battements was never done, in Cecchetti's day, to anywhere near the heights we see today. more importantly, NOR is it done in grade examinations to such heights.<P>the recommendations to teachers are generally that grands battements is taught at 45 degrees when it is first taught - establishing a clear stable action pattern of 4 movements: point/lift/point/close - then UP TO 90 degrees (which is hip height, not waist height - many children mistankenly think 90 degrees is waist height).<P>i'd have to check my syllabus documents, which aren't with me now (i'm not at home), but i think that for this grade, grade 3, we are talking about grands battements in 3 movements (lift/point/close), generally expected by examiners to be 90 degrees or (more usually at this age) BELOW, not higher (unless the student is truly exceptional - even then, such height may be DIScouraged in young children). <P>so, as long as such a syllabus (indeed, ANY syllabus) is taught by a knowledgeable teacher, it is perfectly safe and sound.<P>an ignorant teacher could certainly use such an aspect of this syllabus to cause injury, and to malign the syllabus...which brings us back to the comment oft made before, that ANY syllabus is only as good as its teacher.

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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2000 11:32 am 
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Just curious ...how high do folks instruct for battement degage, or some folks call it battement jete? Because in the US, some teachers teach those at 45 degrees...so, what would be the difference (in height) between degage and grand battement? I know of course, the dynamic difference, but what about height?<BR> Also, I understand about loosening up the hip in grand battment, but beginners or low intermediate student may not yet have the strength or placment to GET the hip stretch..so where are we then? Of course professionals understand this purpose, but students are different...Like I said, I don't go by a strict Cecchetti syllabi, obviously!! My original training for beginners was more Vaganova.


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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2000 3:24 pm 
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I was taught - and always taught my students - that degage' (that is the term we all used and still use) is 45 degrees in height. The impetus of the degage' can be three different ways - out, in, or evenly spaced.<P>Grand battement, which was always given at the end of the barre (or very close to the end of the barre) was at least hip high and for levels intermediate and those more advanced, waist high and above- depending on flexibility and level.<P>To me, grand battement is not merely a stretch, but because of the retard in lowering the leg - not DROPPING the leg but LOWERING it - it also requires strength and well warmed muscles, stomach, back and under the thigh, in my opinion. <P>There are many other segments of the barre that work on hip flexibility and warm up - all the rond de jamb exercises, degage', retire', developpe', etc. However, to my mind the grand battement is such a large movement requiring full flexibility and strength that I have always felt most comfortable doing it - and teaching it, at the end of the barre.


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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2000 10:53 pm 
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all this makes sense to me, so i am wondering a little, why it's still provoking discussion (even though the discussion is of course interesting...) - would it help perhaps to explain that cecchetti grade 3 students (for whom we are talking about the syllabus, and teaching method above) would commonly be aged approximately 8 to 10?<P>at this level, in the ceccheti syllabus, the focus is on correct careful placement, so as to build a solid foundation for future work - it is not on stretching...<P>re the battements glissés/ dégagés/ jetés question - i believe i was taught 'half the height of 45 degrees' (i 'm trying to avoid saying '22 and a half 'degrees, because that's quite ridiculous a statement in moving dance, especially for children.....). and i DID do cecchetti exams, at that age. however, maybe i recollect wrong! would not want to suggest that my teacher got it wrong, and don't know if this height has changed over the years, as to what they look for in an exam.<P>just checking the cecchetti syllabus notes i made about 7 or 8 years ago, for a cecchetti teaching exam, i see that the battements dégagés ARE at that half-height.<P>my understanding now, as an adult who pays attention to such things, is that battements glissés are commonly thought of as gliding just off the floor, whereas jetés are usually higher: up to, or at 45 degrees) - of course difficulties arise if/when people describe things either differently or more casually, or where they don't share the same definitions...but the above is how i use these terms now. jetés certainly, i believe, needs to go to 45 degrees, to have the 'throwing' action. one could argue about the dynamic of disengaging - could be anything - and the term dégagé is also used (in cecchetti) to mean just simply one leg disengaged from the other - a POSITION, that is, not an action - so there's an added possibility for miscommunication.....<P>rambling on a bit here! Image the gist of it, is that battements dégagés in cecchetti appear to be at the mythical 22 and a half degrees! Image

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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2000 6:49 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Another way to describe it, I think, is to suggest to the student that the toe lifts two inches off the ground. I think for some teachers it also has to do with the speed at which the exercise is done - degages' that is. The speed affecting the height, which I don't agree with. <P>I think that the point of the exercise (no pun intended) is for speed and control. It is much more difficult, in my opinion, to do such a controlled movement at speed. I also like to use degage' as an exercise in musicality - focusing the impetus of the movement either inwardly or outwardly - on the "and" count - or straight on the music. It is a good opportunity to introduce the student to syncopation. It's really the first lively part of the barre. And, as the level of the student increases - it is the first opportunity at the barre for a much more complex combination which engages the full focus of the mind as preparation for similar petit allegro in the center.


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 Post subject: Re: Grands Battements, Glissés, Dégagés, Jetés & Cecchetti
PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2000 4:08 pm 
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I don't want to start anything, but I noticed a post saying that grade 3 student are 8-10 years old, but as a certified Cecchetti teacher, in the American syllabus, I know the minimum age for grade 1 is 8 and grade 2 is 9. So at the very very very youngest a 9 year old might be in grade 3, but this is very rare.<P>My grade 3's range in age from 11-16. Just my two cents.....<P>I think that the difference in the syllabi between countries might be greater than each of us are thinking.


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