WARM UP 3/4
In this warm-up, the moves are getting complexed and multiple steps are having to be thought about at one time.
New movements are being introduced which should be taught separately before putting them together.
The beginning of this exercise focuses on turn out. The middle and end section focuses on balance and control of the upper body.
Once again the stretch and bending of the legs working together comes into play throughout this exercise. We have seen this action in previous grades:
1) Preparatory: Point and close
2) Primary: Step and point with balance
3) Grade One: Grand dégagés.
4) Grade Two: Tendus and glissés
First section – foot action
The first action must show a good rotation in the hip to allow the working foot to execute the parallel position. A good knee bend with the pelvis pulled under and upper body held upright is needed. The legs must work together bending and stretching in unison with each other.
The action of the foot turning into parallel and turning out into the first position must be seamless. As the foot pulls back from the degagé devant position the foot should turn seamlessly out into the first position and immediately into the degagé a la seconde.
As the tempo doubles, the posture needs to be secure to eliminate any upper body movement, core strength is essential here. Ensure softness through the knees.
Second section – Retiré and Arm circles
The rise in the supporting leg makes this action slightly harder as the power needs to come through the foot pushing the action upwards into a high instep stretch.
Turnout must be maintained in the retiré and execute a precise action to the ouverte alignment. When turning to ouverte make sure the retiré stays turned out. If this is lost, the lunge will also end up in parallel.
The arm placement must go through 1st and 2nd position. The arm circles can be a problem in the respect that the students drop the upper body too low on the way down and arch back too far on the backward movement. This will cause the arm also lose its continuity and flow.
1. The back needs to stay straight and in alignment with the hips with some movement.
2. The action is mainly in the arm port de bras.
3. The arm should come from 2nd down to bras bas, through 1st and up to 5th and back out to 2nd position.
4. The upper back moves but only with the arm action. The back should not arch forwards or backwards.
5. The head stays in line with the back and should not drop forward.
6. The legs stay in a strong turned out lunge and shouldn’t have any movement during the arm circles.
Feet snip together with a feeling of lift. The “snip” foot action has been seen in the Primary during Warm Up B.
In the release into the forward body swing, there should be a lifting up and over action. This will help with keeping the weight out of the heels and forward over the toes.
The rise should be executed straight after the forward body bend, flowing immediately into this move. Make sure that the weight doesn’t get thrown back as a result of the swinging action.
Maintain a good instep stretch as the movement is lowered facing the barre.
Faults to look out for
1. Lack of rotation in the opening moves.
2. Make sure your students understand the concept of doubling up the rhythm in the first leg action.
3. A good rise is required for the retiré and making sure the working knee is pulled back into a secure turnout as the body is turned to the ouvert alignment.
4. Good placement for the lunge with the supporting knee over the toe. Don’t let the back leg bend or turn in. Back heel must be placed.
5. Don’t let the back arch too much, keep the pelvis tilted under.
6. The arms should be flowing, don’t take too far behind the body line.
7. Make sure the arms come through bras bas, 5th and 2nd position.
8. Don’t let the head be out placement on the forward bend, it must be relaxed.
Build-up to pliés are:
Preparatory – Knee bend exercise
Primary – Transference of weight
Grade One – Pliés (full in 2nd position)
Grade Two – Pliés (full in 1st and 3rd)
There is now the added difficulty of accomplishing a full plié sideways to the barre, where stability can be lost due to not having both hands on the barre plus adding in a small arm action. For the first time in the syllabus, we see an active arm action linking with the plié exercise. The arm needs to be able to flow and move in time with the rise and lower motion. As the rise can sometimes lose its feeling of evenness the arm can also become rigid and isolated in its action.
A new step to this grade, and is included in this exercise will be the temps lié. This needs to be taught separately making sure there is an understanding behind the concept of the step. The step (posé) in a temps lié need to be projected forward with a feeling of lift.
A temps lié will be seen a lot more as we progress up the grades and is a typical step to be taken on full pointe. If there is no feeling of projection up and over, this step will be hard to accomplish on full pointe.
Faults to look out for
- In the full plié, the back should be upright. This is harder to achieve because we are now sideways to the barre so there is a tendency to lean forward or sideways as core strength can be lost.
- The weight needs to be kept out of the bottom of the plié. The movement must be kept moving.
- Turnout must be sustained throughout the plié.
- Encourage weight on all the toes to stop rolling in the ankles.
- The side bend must have a lift in the side body as the arm is taken into the reverse port de bras towards the barre. There is a likelihood that the hips will push outwards and there will be a shift in weight distribution. If there is a lift in the body before the side bend, this will help eliminate the hips from moving.
- The full plié in the 2nd position shouldn’t go too low with the pelvis tipping outwards or the weight being allowed to drop at the bottom of the movement.
- The arm now works with the degagé on a fondu, avoid any upper body movement of leaning forward as the arm is taken up to 5th position and any lower body movement of the weight being pulled backwards at the hips as the arm is taken up.
- A good lift out of the hips when stepping into the temps lié.
- The hand that is placed on the barre should finish slightly in front of the body after completing the demi detourne.
TENDUS AND GLISSÉS WITH WEIGHT TRANSFERENCE 2/4
Build-up to glissés is:
Grade One – Foot exercise
Grade Two – Tendus and glissés
A demi plié in 4th and glissé en clôche hasn’t been seen before in previous grades so these should be addressed before starting the exercise.
Demi plié in 4th
Once the tendu has been accomplished, the toes of the working foot should stay in place and the heel is lowered into the 4th position. The heel of the working foot is placed forward to maintain turnout on the front leg. Avoid any bounce in the plié, the action needs to be even and secure, keeping to 1 count per action. There can be an inclination to take the 4th position either too wide or too shallow, explain that it should be hip-width apart.
- Make sure the back foot doesn’t turn into a parallel position or lift-off the floor.
- Knees should be over toes.
- Turnout should be maintained on both legs.
- No rolling of the ankles, this can be helped by having weight evenly distributed throughout the toes.
- 4th position not too wide or too shallow. Keep hip width apart.
The following principles apply to both glissés devant and glissés to 2nd, that is the pressure through the floor determines the height of the working foot.
The working foot needs to stay turned out and have a good closing position in the 3rd. Make sure that the toe of the working foot is gently pulled back to achieve a careful placement into the 3rd position. NB, The heel should lead in the glissé action devant.
Glissés en clôche
The action for the glissés en clôche comes from the hip. The foot comes just off the floor in the glissé action and must pass through 1st position. The leg should be kept straight during the action. Turnout must be maintained throughout.
Faults to look out for
- The heels must place down in the demi plié in 4th position with a good turnout.
- The glissés must be turned out and have a good closing position in the 3rd.
- En clôche passes through 1st position. The heel must remain down as it passes through 1st position.
- The en clôche should maintain the same height for devant and derrière.
- There could be some confusion in the changements which are the steps that change the direction, just purely because they are turning towards the barre. It is common to become disorientated in the turn and get the foot positioning muddled.
- The arm positioning in the 2nd can get forgotten. Sometimes students become so engrossed in the footwork that the arm is neglected.
RONDS DE JAMBE Á TERRE 3/4
The build-up to rond de jambes is:
Grade One – Grande degagé exercise
Grade Two – Ronds de jambes in 4 bars for 1 ronds de jambe
The build-up to a chassé is:
Grade Two – Set adage
In Grade Three the one ronds de jambe now takes 2 bars. NB, With the increase of tempo, turn out can be lost, the hips have movement and an accurate placing isn’t accomplished.
More movements are being added into the exercise developing co-ordination and precision.
The new step added to this exercise is chasse passé.
The passé action passes through 1st position and the working foot should stay in contact with the floor executing a demi plié into the chasse action. The weight should be transferred fully in to the front foot, allowing the back foot to be weightless. Keep the weight out of the back foot this allows the transference of weight through a demi plié en arriere to be performed correctly.
Transference of weight
The weight should be central when passing through the 4th position with the pelvis tipped under, both heels down, knees over toes and turned out. The weight should finish on either the front or back foot allowing the either foot to extend devant or derriere.
Allow enough space between the front and back foot when transferring the weight in 4th so that they don’t have to reposition when pointing.
This is the first time the coda turns away from the barre, this requires balance and control using core strength. The arms should hit 1st position in the middle of the turn. Feet should be pulled into a secure demi-pointe position in the detourne. Start to use a spotting head action when turning to face the other side. The hand that places onto the barre should be slightly in front of the body line.
Faults to look out for
- Make sure that the ronds de jambe is performed in the correct counts and the positioning of the action is correct. The toe should hit devant, a la seconde and derriere.
- The pelvis is secure with no unnecessary movement.
- The chassé should be a smooth transition out of the ronds de jambe with the front heel pushing forward and the back heel placed down with no rolling in the ankles.
- Weight is transferred to the front or back foot when coming out of the chasse action, allowing the foot to be weightless and allowing the tendu foot to point without repositioning.
- Pelvis tipped under.
- Demi detourne should have control with good core strength and power through the legs as the movement is performed turning away from the barre. Arms placed in 1st position 0n the turn.
BATTEMENT FONDU AND ATTITUDE PREP 4/4
Girls and boys versions:
In this exercise the girls courus on the 2nd time through the exercise.
The boys use a temps lie.
Battement fondu is a new step that needs to be mindfully observed. We have seen the two legs working together bending and extending in unison. The first time we see this action is in Preparatory: Point and close, Primary: Step and point with balance and then in Grade One: Grande dégagé exercise.
Rise into battement fondu a terre to 2nd
The rise at the beginning of this exercise should have a feeling of lift and weightlessness, not only in the feet and legs but also in the upper body. The thighs and core should be engaged to encourage a good pull up. As the supporting foot is lowered we should see control as the movement works through the whole of the foot with the heel being the last part to be placed down.
As the lowering action of the supporting leg is happening, the working leg is being slightly pulled up the front of the supporting leg to ankle height. The foot is held in front of the ankle (not to the side, as this would be a petit retire position). The knee should be turned out with good hip rotation.
If turnout is lost at this point the battement fondu a terre to 2nd will lose its turnout and placing would be incorrect.
The bend and stretch in this action should work together with legs arriving at their point of destination together, working in harmony with each other.
For the battement fondu derrière, the working foot is placed in a petit jete position. We have seen this position in Primary: Step and hop enchainment, Grade One: Progressive enchainment and Grade Two: Jete prep exercise and set enchainment.
The leg positioning is very important for the attitude derrière, the leg should stay isolated as it is lifted, lifting from the hip. The pelvis must remain static with no tipping or twisting. The lift of the leg should not come out of the petit jete position. The highest part of the leg is the hip folllowed by the knee, ankle, and foot. We don’t want to see the hip lifting or twisting back as the leg is lifted. The knee should not drop which is a common fault. Feel the lift from the inner thigh of the working leg.
Be careful the back doesn’t arch, the leg shouldn’t be lifted too high and not forced. As with the battement fondu to 2nd the fondu and attitude derrière should be working together in unison with each other.
Courus (girls version)
Practice courus before adding them to the exercise. These can be done at the barre. The back foot always leads and the action should be small closing in a tight 5th position. Courus are a popular step used in pointe work, the rise should have a good instep stretch with a feeling of pulling up through the legs. There should be no feeling of sitting in the hips if this starts happening difficulties will arise when it comes to going up on pointe.
Temps lie (boys version)
Good strength in the legs is required with strong instep stretch, good balance and a feeling of forwarding projection. The closing foot should be placed securely in the 5th position.
Faults to look out for
1. Get a good rise at the beginning of the exercise. Without this rise, there is nowhere to take the fondu action.
2. Make sure legs are working in unison with each other when the fondu into dégagé and fondu into attitude derrière action is executed.
3. The whole exercise should have a sense of flow, one step seamlessly linking into the next.
4. Strong instep stretch throughout.
5. Courus and temps lie should have a good closing in the 5th position.
GRANDS BATTEMENTS 3/4
The build-up to grands battements is:
Primary – Step and pointe exercise
Grade One – Preparatory grands battements devant and derrière
Grade Two – Grands battements en croix
The build-up to echappe releve is:
Primary – Sauté and echappe exercise
Grade Two – Releve and pirouette prep exercise
This is the first time we have come across a retiré passé. We have seen full retires in Grade One foot exercise and pirouette prep and retiré in Grade Two. For a passé derrieré, you are taking the foot up the front of the leg passing it to the back of the supporting leg at knee height and placing it derrieré, for passé devant you are taking the foot up the back of the leg passing it to the front of the supporting leg at knee height and placing it devant. The transition from front to back or back to front should be smooth and seamless.
When the foot is placed down the toe should be the first point of contact with the floor.
This is a new step for this grade.
The releve action should be strong and precise. The heel replaces the toe. A good demi plié is involved with legs having power running through them so that when the top of the action is reached it is secure and has a firm base. All weight should be pulled up and out of the legs.
Releves are common for turns and pointe work. The positioning of the foot in the releve should have a high instep stretch. This action allows stability in the movement.
Make sure that the feet don’t jump out to 2nd, they should be in contact with the floor at all times, sliding out from the demi plié and sliding back into a demi plié.
There should be a lightness in the action.
Faults to look out for
1. Grands battements should have the feeling of being thrown from behind the leg, not lifted from the front. Keep supporting leg straight and avoid any bending in the upper body. It is better to have good technique rather than height in the leg which the body can’t sustain. On closing the working leg from the grands battements, the toe of the working foot should make contact with the floor first before closing back into 3rd position. When taking to a la seconde keep the action slightly on the diagonal as it is impossible to maintain turnout if taken directly to the side, the pelvis must stay tipped under. In derrière don’t allow the back to arch or force the leg up too high.
2. The retire passé height is by the side of the knee, keep the turnout and avoid the foot sickling or coming away from the leg. Good foot placement on closing and working through the foot as it closes into 3rd position.
3. Echappe releves should be strong with a good demi plié action to start and end the releve. Heel replacing toe action and strength running through the legs with muscles engaged to give balance and control.
4. Demi detourne has a strong releve in the 3rd position with weight central on the turn. Don’t allow the weight to be taken backward. Make sure the outside arm is in 1st position on the turn and opens out to 2nd as the legs straighten.
CLASSICAL WALKS WITH
PORT DE BRAS 4/4 TANGO
Girls and boys versions:
Girls start in a classical pose with arms in demi seconde,
Boys start dégagé derrière placing hands on hips.
The build up to walking is:
Preparatory – Walking and running
Grade Two – Port de bras with walks
The build up to chasse passé is:
Grade Three – Ronds de jambe exercise
Walking was taught in the Preparatory grade. Practice the classical walks before adding in the arms. Take the walks from the corner of the studio space. The walk should have a pleasing projection onto the front foot so the weight is out of the back foot allowing the foot to be released and brought forward to the next step. A good practice step would be to walk and lift the back foot off the floor. This way it is possible to see if the weight is in the correct place. Avoid letting the back arch, the upper body needs to keep up with the legs pushing the weight forward. There should be a toe lead, it is a common fault to place the heel down first. Keep hips and shoulders facing the line of dance, don’t anticipate the turn to the LDF corner, this should not happen until the first step is taken to the left.
The arms must be in unison with the walks. When turning to face the LDF the right arm must come with the body keeping in front of the body line.
The foot should pass through 1st position, and a demi plié is executed as the foot passes from derrière to devant, there is a tendency for the pelvis to tip outwards as this action is being executed. The back heel must be kept securely on the floor, knees over toes in the plié and with a good extension onto the front foot allowing the back foot to be released. The back knee can drop in which will make the foot come up off the floor. The foot is kept a terre,
The arms should pass through a 1st position as they are placed into 4th crossed and once again legs and arms movement should arrive simultaneously.
Runs can be an awkward step to achieve so should be practiced before adding into this exercise. Take them traveling across the room, getting a feeling of flow and gracefulness.
We have seen runs right back in the Preparatory walking and running exercise. These Grade Three runs now need to be taken with precision. We have the arms placed in a shapeful 3rd position, the runs are only for 1 bar and the student needs to get the correct foot in front as they step to face the LDF with the right foot croisé.
Faults to look out for
1. The classical walks need to have good projection forward with no weight on the back foot.
2. Arms working in unison with the legs, both arriving at their final destination together and passing through 1st position.
3. Back heel placed down in the chassé passé action passing through a 1st position, with a secure demi plié.
4. Weight transferred to the front foot releasing the back foot into attitude à terre.
5. Arms should arrive into 4th crossed as the legs arrive into attitude à terre.
6. Release arms into 3rd position by just opening the top arm into 2nd position, the back leg is pulled securely up onto the demi-pointe placing behind the front foot. This position should be grounded with a feeling of lift and upper body extension.
7. Runs should have a forward movement and a purpose, making sure there is a toe lead as the foot steps forward. Make sure the arms are kept in a secure 3rd position.
SET ADAGE 4/4 Pavanne
The build-up to arabesques is:
Grade 2 – Set adage (1st arabesque)
The build-up to chassés:
Grade 2 – Adage enchaînment
Grade 3 – Ronds de jambé
The build-up to a coupé is:
Grade 2 – Set adage
In this exercise, we see 1st, 2nd and 3rd arabesque. 1st arabesque has been seen in the Grade Two set adage with a closed and open foot position. The 2nd and 3rd arabesques are new to this grade nor have we had any form of build-up to them in previous grades.
This is best explained that whatever foot is in front, be it in the croisé or overt position, the front extending arm is the same as the devant foot. The other arm is placed at shoulder height to the side. The front extending arm should be slightly lifted so the eye line is traveling upwards.
Whatever foot is in front, be it in the croisé or overt position, the front extending arm is opposite to the devant foot. The other arm is placed at shoulder height to the side with a slight epaulment in the shoulder. The front extending arm should be slightly lifted so the eye line is traveling upwards.
Whatever foot is in front, be it in the croisé or overt position, the front extending arm is the back arm (away from the audience) The other arm is placed at shoulder height underneath the back arm. The front extending arm should be slightly lifted so the eyeline is traveling upwards.
Arabesques can be taken à terre (on the floor) or en l’air (in the air).
Arms must pass through 1st position to get to the arabesque placement.
Chassés en avant have been seen before in Grade Two in the Adage Enchainment and in the ronds de jambe exercise in this grade at the barre.
We have referred to the importance of transferring the body weight into the front foot so allowing the back foot to release, this is the build-up to now lifting the leg en l’air. Without the weight in the front foot and the body alignment being incorrect, the back leg will struggle to lift and balancing will become difficult.
Taking a chassé into the center requires balance and a strong foundation. The hip and shoulder alignment needs to stay facing the line of dance.
This is a new step and should be practiced at the barre to achieve control and placement. A coupé over is in the Grade Two Set adage.
Face sideways to the barre with the arm to 2nd position. Extend the outside leg derrière and fondu on the supporting leg. The extended leg pulls into the supporting foot as both feet rise into a demi-pointe the weight is then transferred to the back foot and the front foot is placed devant using a petit developpé action. Body weight should stay central.
It should take 1 bar to achieve a chassé at this grade.
count 1: plié
count 2: chassé en avant
count 3: transfer weight onto front foot
count 4: close back foot into 3rd.
Pas de bourrée under
This is another step that hasn’t seen before nor had any build-up to in previous grades. A pas de bourrée is made up of 3 steps.
Pas de bourrée under sequence
Place the back foot behind by the ankle of the supporting leg on the demi pointe. The second leg is stepped to second position on the demi pointe. The third step is placed in front, lowering down onto the flat as the foot is placed in front. Finish in a demi plié.
Faults to look out for
1. In the chasse the whole of the back foot should be placed securely on the floor, as there is a tendency to let the heel come off or to let the foot roll forward.
2. Be aware that the back knee can drop in and when this happens the back heel will lift off. Think about pliés and how both knees need to be turned out.
3. The chassé action can be taken too wide. The legs should be hip-width apart, this will allow the plié to be executed properly and allow the back heel to stay on the floor.
4. The chassé action can be rushed and the breakdown as shown above lost. All 4 stages of the chassé should be clear and precise.
5. When transferring the weight out of the chassé and into the arabesque position, the bodyweight needs to move over the front leg. There should be no weight on the back foot as the back leg is lifted en l’air. If there is the weight on the back leg the body weight will be in the wrong place to allow the lift.
6. There is a tendency to throw the weight backward and arch the back when coming out of the chassé.
7. Arabesque arm line should be placed correctly. If the balance is an issue, the arms will fail to be in the correct place.
8. The coupé under should be smooth and seamless with the arms working simultaneously with the legs.
9. For the pas de bourrée keep the footwork tight and with a good demi point action. Get a precise change of direction.
ALLEGRO WARM UP 2/4
The build up to echappes is:
Primary – Sautes and echappes (echappé 2nd position)
Grade One – Allegro warm up (echappé 2nd position)
Echappé to 4th is the new step in this exercise. Over the grades, 4th position has been used in chassés, tendus and glisses with weight transference. The same principle applies to 4th as it does to 2nd. On the elevation, the legs should pull up before being placed. Obtain a good placement in 3rd position on closing. Knees should be over the toes, avoid any dropping in of the back leg on landing and no rolling of the ankles.
Practice all the steps individually before linking them together.
Faults to look out for
1. Make sure the placement into the 4th isn’t too wide.
2. The back heel must be placed with knee over the toe. Avoid any rolling in the back ankle.
3. Have power through the legs for elevation, pulling in before opening out to 4th position.
4. The 3rd position closing must not be misplaced.
5. Echappé to 2nd, knees over toes, not too wide on placement and not too low which will make the pelvis tip out.
6. Changements must have a secure foot placement on landing.
7. Don’t let the stretch and bend between the changements be jerky, even though it is quick, it still needs to be smooth without locking the knees rigid.
ASSEMBLES OVER AND UNDER 2/4
It is the examiner’s choice as to whether exam students do over or under assembles. Make sure both are secure.
This is when the back foot comes to the front
This is when the front foot goes to the back
An assemblé is made up of 3 actions, plié, glissé action to a la seconde and a joining of the feet with elevation, all the power pushing through the supporting leg. These 3 steps should be taught individually. The plié and glissé action have been seen throughout the grades.
It is advised the assemblé action is taught at the barre to promote stability, core strength and to help with foot placement.
The glissé leg should be taken low, it is a common fault to throw the leg too high thinking that this is giving the dancer more height. Core strength is required and power through the legs to achieve the elevation. The body also has a proneness to sway side to side as the leg goes out to the side. The action should be thought of as going upwards. Don’t move the action towards the working leg.
The first part of this exercise is a preparation for the assemblé, and mimics the leg action. This must be secure before attempting the full assemble.
When the leg is passed either to the front or the back make sure that the leg doesn’t swing around the supporting leg. The leg should pass out to a la seconde using the glissé action and straight back into 3rd position devant or derrière. Power comes from the supporting leg as the working leg is joined during elevation. Good foot placement is required on landing.
Faults to look out for
1. Secure demi-pointe in 5th preparing for the demi plié. A sturdy platform is required.
2. Demi plié with no upper body leaning forward.
3. Strength is a necessity in the supporting leg in the transition between the plié and fondu.
4. An accomplished glissé is required in preparation for the assemblé action.
5. Power from the supporting leg to get a good elevation.
6. Changements need a good placement in 3rd position with an unfaltering ending in preparation for the dégagé.
BALANCE DE CÔTE 3/4
The arms in this exercise are the teacher’s choice.
Don’t over-complicate the sequence.
The strongest count in a 3/4 is count one this should reflect in the balancé action.
The build-up to chassés:
Grade 2 – Adage enchaînment
Grade 3 – Ronds de jambé
The build-up to pas de bouree under
Grade 3 – Set adage
To teach a balancé it could be taken to the barre.
Facing the barre, step to the side with the accent being on this first step. Make sure the heel of this foot is placed down, the second foot is placed into a petit jeté position. The back foot is then placed on the demi-pointe and the front foot is lifted. Lower onto the front foot to complete a balancé.
The foot action is down (front foot), up (back foot), down (front foot). The front foot won’t necessarily point as the action is quite fast in this exercise. The foot being pulled into the petit jeté position must point.
Keep at the barre until this step can be performed skilfully in the center.
Both feet should maintain the turnout on the down, up, down action. A balancé should have a feeling of smoothness and flow. It should be a seamless step with arms working in unison to match. A balancé should be elongated and not too bouncy in its motion.
Chassé to ouverte alignment
This chassé needs to be performed with care as it comes out of the balance action, moving at speed. Make sure the correct teaching points are in place – refer back to the Grade 2 set adage exercise. The chassé should flow immediately out of the balancé and travel en avant on the overt alignment. Make sure that the back leg is extended and not lifted too high, and turned out. Be aware that shoulders and hips should be facing the line of dance. It is not until the pas de bourrée under is performed that the body faces en face.
Pas de bourrée under
This step could be practiced at the barre. A pas de bourrée is made up of 3 steps on the demi-pointe. The reason it is called UNDER is that the first step is being placed behind.
The foot pattern will be behind, side, front. Practice rising up onto the demi-pointe with a stable base. On the first step, the back foot should be in a releve position, the second step is hip-width apart and the third step closes in front in a tight 3rd position in a demi plié. The pas de bourrée is taken a la seconde.
Faults to look out for
1. The foot action must reflect the 3/4 time signature.
2. Make sure the feet don’t come apart too much on the down, up, down action.
3. The arms should work in conjunction with the foot action.
4. The chassé is on the correct line of dance and the back leg doesn’t lift up too high.
5. The pas de bourrée footwork must be controlled with precise placing, as it flows out of the chassé.
6. The step to a la seconde out of the pas de bourrée must achieve a good stretch of the feet.
7. The chassé, pas de bourrée and the side step action should all link perfectly together as a seamless sequence.
ALLEGRO ENCHAÎNMENT 2/4
The girls perform the pas de chats in this exercise and finish with a pas de chat. Finishing on the croisé alignment.
The boys do 3 changments in total.
2 changements to make half a turn to face the back, followed by 1 changement to face the front.
This is instead of the girl’s pas de chat.
Finishing with a petit assemblé, relevé and sauté into a lunge finishing on the croisé alignment.
The build-up to changements is:
Grade One – Preparatory glissade
Grade Two – Allegro warmup
Grade Three – Tendus and glisses with weight transference
Grade Three – Allegro warmup
The build-up to jete derrière is:
Grade two – Jete prep
Grade two – Set enchaînment
There are new steps in this exercise that haven’t had any build-up throughout the previous grades. These steps are 1) sissonne ordinare derriére and devant 2) petit assemble 3) pas de chat 4) changements turning. All of these steps can be rehearsed at the barre before coming into the center.
Sissonne ordinaire derriére and devant
Sissonne’s should always start from two feet and finish on one foot. In the elevation, both feet should stay tightly together and the back or front foot is released on landing. The releasing foot determines if the step is derriére or devant, the foot should be held behind or in front of the supporting legs ankle. The quality should be light and springy to stay in keeping with the allegro feel.
A petit assemble is the joining of feet to bring back to a neutral position. When a foot is left off the floor after a movement. A petit assemble is the action that can be used. to bring the feet back together. Even though this is a joining movement there still needs to be a good elevation in this action.
Pas de chat
The step of the cat.
Both feet should be off the floor at the highest point of this step. The back foot ALWAYS leads. This step could be taught at the barre giving stability and the action can be slowed down slightly. The action should have a feeling of being lifted upwards not sideways.
Break down of a pas de chat:
The feet are placed in 3rd position (they can be placed in 5th in higher grades), the back foot is lifted up to retire position when elevating off the supporting leg. The 2nd leg should then achieve a retire position. If you were to freeze-frame the action both feet should be off the floor at the same time. Turnout is essential. The 2nd foot always places in front and make sure that the foot placement doesn’t over shoot the 3rd position.
Changements turning this is boys only
We have seen changements in this grades allegro warmup. There are no changes apart from the fact that they are now turning. The confusion can come with what foot places in front, and in which direction the turn is going. Disorientated can happen when turning
The same principles apply to the jeté in the center, as the jeté at the barre. The jeté at the barre should come back into the supporting leg, this is the same in the center even though the exercise is traveling to the side. Good pressure through the floor, will help with elevation. The glisse action is important to achieve this step successfully.
Faults to look out for
1. Good foot placement in the sissonne ordinaire. A satisfactory elevation should take place with both feet joined together. It’s not until the landing that the front or back foot is released, the foot should sit either in front of or behind the ankle. Don’t let the foot sickle or wrap around the supporting ankle – refer back to petit jetes in Primary.
2. Height in the elevation in both the sissonne ordinaire and the petit assemblé.
3. Trying to get both feet off the ground and in the retiré position during the pas de chat. Be careful of no upper body movement.
4. Don’t let the jeté get thrown too much to the side, the step should be neat and precise.
5. Ensure the arms work with the leg action, this can be hard to coordinate as the steps get more intricate. Practice the arms separately from the legwork.
GIRLS AND BOYS REVERENCE 4/4
This is a more complexed reverence incorporating chassé en arrière. All the chassés we have seen so far have been en avant. The same principles apply en arrière as they do en avant. Make sure that the pelvis doesn’t tip as the movement travels backwards. That both feet stay firmly on the floor with no rolling in the ankles.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
If you would like to have a go at some questions regarding this grade click the link below.