Intermediate Theory Work

Now at Intermediate level a lot of the steps that are seen in this grade have been covered before. If unsure of how to teach these steps please refer back to the Level 3 course for clarification.

BARRE WORK

PLIÉS 3/4

The build-up to pliés is:

Demi plié:
Preparatory: point and close exercise
Full plié:
Grade 1: 2nd position
Grade 2: 1st position
Grade 3: 3rd position
Grade 4: 1st and 5th position
Grade 5: 5th position

The build-up to soutenu is:

Grade 4: Demi assemble soutenu en dehors in plié exercise
Grade 4: Full assemble soutenu en dedans in grands battements
Grade 5: Full assemble soutenu en dehors and en dedans in plié exercise

All of the pliés have been taught in previous grades and should now come naturally.

As the arm is taken up to 5th position this will increase the enlongation in the action. A feeling of lowering in the body as the arm is being extended upwards. Press through the instep to increase the instep stretch.

Core strength should be identified now and training exercises can be used to promote this. Using a yoga ball and working some of the Progressive Ballet Technique is always advantageous.

Backward port de bras
The action should come from the top of the back and not from the base of the spine. There is a great tendency to do a big a back bend as possible. In a backward port de bras there should be no sinking into the hips nor should the hips be pushed forwards.
The movement comes from the top of the back and there should be a feeling of an upward lift out of the ribcage before taking the action backward. An anchored instep stretch should be present allowing the backward port de bras to be stable.
The arm in 5th stays in alignment with the body line, don’t let it stay in front nor should it be taken too far behind which will result in the back arching too much. The arm and head must stay in unison with each other.

BATTEMENT TENDU 2/4

The build-up to tendus is:

Preparatory: point and close exercise
Primary: Transference of weight (2nd position)
Primary: Step and point with balance (devant)
Grade 1: Foot exercise (2nd position)
Grade 2: Tendus and Glissés exercise (en croix)
Grade 3: Tendus and glissés with a change of weight (devant and 2nd)
Grade 4: Grands battements (en croix)
Grade 5: –

This is the first time the leg nearest the barre is used.

The bounce action comes from the supporting leg which should stay turned out and be a strong base. There is an inclination to sit in the hips and let the pelvis move around during this action. Even though the bounce is an up and down action the weight should be lifting upward out of the supporting leg with a feeling of lightness.
The extended leg stays strong and in place during the soft bounces on a fondu. There should be no twist of the pelvis during this action. The tendu leg does not need to push forward in the action. All the action is coming from the bounce.
The extended foot should be well lifted on the big toe and not relaxed or turned in.

Accent should be shown in the petit retire, working through the foot, manipulating the metatarsals and building strength in the feet.

BATTEMENT GLISSÉS 2/4

The build-up for glisses is:

Grade 1: Foot exercise (single glissé to 2nd)
Grade 2: Tendus and glissés (6 glissé to 2nd)
Grade 3: Tendus and glissés with weight transference (devant and seconde)
Grade 4: Grands battements (en croix)
Grade 5: Foot extensions (to seconde)

Battements piqués are introduced in this exercise. The accent is ‘up’ with a lightness in the action. Piques means to pick up. It is a staccato action. The leg should feel powerful with energy running through it. We have encountered pas de bourrée piqués in Grade 5 in the ‘Foot extension’ exercise.
The height of the piqué is just off the floor like a glissé. Control and strength must come from the working leg to manage the height. The whole foot has contact with the floor as it pulls into 5th position.

The 3rd glissé has a controlled pull into 5th position and this can be heard in the music. There must be a toe lead in the glissé and an accurate accomplishment of them as this exercise is taken at speed, meaning that the footwork needs to be detailed. The glissé must hit a flawless demi plié with the full foot pulling in along the floor.

The dancer now needs to be able to switch from using the outside leg to the inside leg. Bodyweight should adapt accordingly with no difficulty or unease.

Isolate the arms during this exercise. They should be fluid and smooth as the legs are being accentuated.

RONDE DE JAMBE À TERRE
(en dehors & en dedans) 3/4

The build-up to ronds de jambes is:

Grade 1 – Grands degagés
Grade 2 – Ronds de jambé exercise en dehors and en dedans ( 4 bars for 1 ronds de jambé)
Grade 3 – Ronds de jambé exercise en dehors and en dedans ( 2 bars for 1 ronds de jambé)
Grade 4 –
Grade 5 – Demi grand ronds de jambe in ‘Adage’ at the barre.

The build-up for en clôche is:
Grade 1 – Grande degagés
Grade 2 – Tendus and glissés
Grade 3 – Tendus and glissés with weight transference
Grade 4 –
Grade 5 – Grands battements with en clôche

This exercise is performed both en dehors and en dedans to the same piece of music but as two separate exercises. Both have to be performed in the dancers examination.

There are quite a few steps to complete the exercise and all have been accomplished in previous grades so now it is a matter of linking them all together to make up the exercise.

The whole exercise should have a feeling of flow and continuous movement. The last 3 ronds de jambes are in 1 count, because of the speed of this movement, the technique can very easily be lost. Turnout can be disregarded, the pelvis can have movement and the bodyweight can be switched from the supporting leg into the working foot, which then impedes on the upper body.

Chassé passé en avant
The foot must make contact with the floor as it passes through from derrière to devant and visa versa. Avoid rolling in the ankle and letting the knee drop in from derrière to devant. The heel continues forward and needs to maintain a good turnout – refer back to your Level Three course notes.

Pivots / fouettés
In a pivot / fouetté the toe stays in place and the heel moves, turnout must be sustained throughout this action rotating in the hip joint. The movement stays smooth and not jerky with the hips staying in alignment with the body. Concentrate on turn out in the supporting and extended leg. Do not allow the pelvis to twist as this will cause a rotation in the hip joint, throwing the body of alignment. Shoulders must keep up with the movement.
The main focus is to keep the whole body working as one entirety.
It is important to get this action correct now in preparation for when the dancer has to achieve this movement with the leg en l’air or on pointe.

PETITS BATTEMENTS &
BATTEMENTS FRAPPÉS 2/4

The build-up to frappés is:
Grade 4 – Batterie prep

Petits battements is a totally new step to the syllabus. The positioning of the foot is stretched and placed either at the front or the back of the supporting leg. The toe of the working foot must be off the floor.

Below is an example of a petit devant and derrière battement. 

PETIT BATTEMENT DEVANT
PETIT BATTEMENT DERRIÈRE

The action comes from the knee down. The top of the leg is isolated the same as in a frappé action.
The movement from the knee down is an in and out action, and the leg doesn’t fully extend below the knee. Avoid movement forward and backwards. The action is the same as beating.
The action should be definite. The skill in this exercise is to get the action faster as this is continuing into petits battement serrés in Advanced One.

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Battements frappé

A frappé has only been practiced in grade 4 which were single frappés. In this exercise the frappés we see are doubles.
Re-cap single frappés – Refer back to the Grade 4 Batterie prep notes.
Like the petits battements the action is an in and out movement. The foot is flexed, as the leg action is taken out to the side with the ball of the foot striking the floor and the foot extending into a pointe. The height of this foot extension is about the same height as a battement glissé.

The action should be strong and have a purpose. Once the leg action has been executed outwards it should not waver, there should be strength in the working leg.
The double is only to second position and the foot action is beating back, front, second.

Below is an example of the foot positioning for a battement frappé

Petits battements & Battements frappés
Now add the two actions together.
The petits battements should be smooth and have a good feeling of resistance at the end of the movement on the fondu. The frappés should be quick and precise remembering not to neglect the in and out action on both steps.

BATTEMENTS FONDUS &
RONDS de JAMBE en L’AIR 3/4

The build-up for Rond de jambes is:
Grade 2 – Rond de jambe exercise
Grade 3 – Rond de jambe exercise and Battement fondu and attitude prep
Grade 4 – Battement fondu and developpes
Grade 5 – Adage at the barre (demi grand rond de jambe)

The build-up for Forward port de bars is:
Grade 4 – Warm-up (the arm circles in the lunge is the beginnings of the forward port de bras)
Grade 5 – Warm-up (the arm circle in the lunge is the beginnings of the forward port de bras)

In this exercise, we see the introduction of a single and double Ronds de jambe en l’air.
The ronds de jambes en l’air are at the same height as the battement fondus. The leg should not drop in height as it is taken to second. Strength, control and core are necessary.

This exercise needs to have control, as well as a flow of movements that progress seamlessly into the next step.

The thigh must be held still and at a 90-degree angle. The action is from the knee down and the lower part of the leg makes an inward or outward circular movement. Have a scooping feeling, like the foot is running around the outside of a bowl.
Turnout must always be displayed which requires a good rotation in the hip. A training exercise would be to use stretch bands around the ankle giving the resistance that is felt during this movement.
In the forward port de bras the back is flat on the way down, relaxes slightly at the bottom of the movement, then takes on the flat back positioning on the way back up.
The arm should stay in the 2nd position all the way down. Progress to 5th at the bottom of the movement where the arm catches the head up on the way back up.
The body weight must be over the toes with no leaning back into the action.
Weight must be kept out of the supporting leg with hips facing forward and no weight in the foot on the dégagé position. No twisting in the body or turning off the shoulders to throw the body’s alignment off the center.

TRAINING EXERCISE FOR SINGLE & DOUBLE RONDS DE JAMBE EN L’AIR
Using Flexi bands partner up. The dancer will have the Flexi band under their knee with the bottom part of the leg relaxed. The partner will be holding the Flexi band so the leg is supported.
Talk through the leg action. The dancer can have the support of the Flexi band whilst being able to feel how the movement should be.

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GRANDS BATTEMENTS 4/4

The build-up for Grands Battements is:
Preparatory –
Primary – Step, and point with balance
Grade 1 – Preparatory grands battements deviant and derrière
Grade 2 – Grands battements en croix
Grade 3 – Grands battements devant and à la seconde with retire passé
Grade 4 – Grands battements with tendus and glissés
Grade 5 – Grands battements with battement tendus en clôche

The build-up for retires is:
Preparatory –
Primary –
Grade 1 – Foot exercise and Posé temps levé enchaînment
Grade 2 – Pirouette prep and retiré
Grade 3 – Warm-up
Grade 4 – Pliés,  Pirouette prep and Set adage
Grade 5 – Girls port de bras

The grands battements should now ideally be at a 90-degree height in all positions. This exercise has a demi plié that starts the grands battement just the same as the grade 5 exercise. The plié should have a depth to it and the grand battement finds its power from this action. Make sure that the upper body doesn’t throw backwards coming out of the demi plié. The accent is up with good strong control on the descent.
The retiré passé is on a rise and the supporting leg must be strong with a solid base. Make sure the turnout is maintained on the working leg and the toe of this leg is by the knee of the supporting leg.

We see a half-turn en dehors away from the barre. Students have already achieved a full pirouette in Grade 5 pirouette en dehors exercise and boys in the Grade 4 boys set adage exercise. The control that is needed to execute this action should already be in place, with a good retiré passé placement of the foot. Make sure that the foot places behind the supporting leg as the turn is executed allowing the recommencement of the exercise on the other side.

ADAGE 12/8 or 4/4

The build-up to retires is:
Grade 1 – Foot exercise and Posé temps levé enchaînment
Grade 2 – Pirouette prep and retiré
Grade 3 – Warm-up
Grade 4 – Pliés,  Pirouette prep, Set adage and Progressive enchaînment
Grade 5 – Girls port de bras

The build-up for attitude is:
Grade 3 – Battement fondu and attitude prep
Grade 4 – Battement fondus and developpes

The build-up for temps lié is:
Grade 1 – Progressive enchaînment (the 3 steps forward on a rise closing in 3rd starts to represent this action)
Grade 5 – Foot extension, Girls progressive demi-pointe enchaînment and Boys ports de bras with balancés

The build-up for developpés is
Grade 4 – Battements fondus and developpés
Grade 5 – Adage at the barre

The build-up for grand rond de jambe is:
Grade 5 – Adage at the barre ( demi grande ronds de jambe)

In this exercise, there are 2 choices of music 12/8 and 4/4. It is the student or teachers choice as to which one is performed in their exam. If there is a boy in the class the 4/4 may be the best choice as this has a stronger feel to it.
We have once again seen most if not all of the steps that make up this exercise in previous grades.
All the previous adages have been in the centre this is the first time that it has come to the barre to be performed. Some of the movements come away from the barre and this exercise will need precision and control.
Each individual movement should be worked through first so that students are confident that they can achieve each step correctly, once this has been done slowly start linking the exercise together.

The ronde jambe is now a Grand ronde de jambe which hasn’t been taught before. We have only seen demi ronds de jambes. The same principles apply, turn out must be maintained when passing from devant to derrière or derrière to devant. It is very easy to let the leg turn in as it hits the 2nd position. The working leg must also maintain the same height the whole way around. Strength is needed to make this possible.

TRAINING EXERCISE FOR A GRAND RONDE DE JAMBE
Partner up – Using Flexi bands wrap around the ankle, one partner lifts the leg and carries to all positions needed to accomplish a full ronde de jambe. Using the Flexi bands allows the dancer to think about what the action feels like without having to worry about control.

DEMI POINTE EXERCISE – GIRLS & BOYS 2/4

The build up for Echappés is:
Primary – Saute and echappés
Grade 1 – Allegro warmup
Grade 3 – Allegro warm up
Grade 4 – Allegro warm up

The build-up for relevés is:
Grade 2 – Pirouette prep and retiré
Grade 3 – Grands battements
Grade 4 – Pirouette prep
Grade 5 – Boys progressive demi-pointe enchainment & Pirouette en dehors

The build-up for posé coupé is:
Grade 5- Progressive demi-pointe enchainment

This exercise consists of echappés, relevés and posé coupés. Echappés and relevés have been seen in the lower grades.
For an echappé and relevé, it is essential that the instep stretch is strong and grounded allowing the movement to have a secure base. This will be vital when performing posé coupés, pirouettes and of course point work. This exercise requires a lot of ankle and leg strength.

Posé coupé

Posé means to step and coupé to cut.

The dancer needs to know where their centre is. Once they can identify this it will help so much with turns and adage.

The power should come from the back leg as it projects the body forward onto the leading leg. The supporting leg should be strong and all the bodyweight needs to go directly over this leg. If this doesn’t happen then future steps such as posé turns, temps lie, pirouettes and anything going up onto full pointe will not be executed correctly, this will make the steps impossible to perform correctly. There needs to be a strong instep stretch which will help with balance and stability, good ankle strength is now required at the level.
When performing posé coupés en avant in this exercise it is with a glissé action so rather than stepping onto the working leg you are executing a glissé first which is coming from the plié. The second leg is behind the knee.
For the posé coupés de côte the action is a projected step onto the working leg and the second leg is at the top of the calf. Posés de côte can be awkward as sometimes the dancer will overshoot the action and then end up going too far over the supporting leg.

BOYS DEMI POINTE ENCHAINMENT

All the above applies to the boys, the difference being they only do posé de côte in their exercise.
Their relevés to 2nd have to be held in this position so a lot of strength is required to keep the extended leg out straight and at 90 degrees.

The difference between an over and an under is where the first step is placed. If going over the foot places in front, to the side, finish behind. An under would be behind, to the side, finish in front.

This would also be a good exercise to teach your girls as they have not yet done anything where they have had to relevé off one foot this exercise will start building up strength in the ankles and legs and get them prepared for the Girls demi-pointe enchainment and pointe work.

GRANDS BATTEMENTS EN CLÔCHE 3/4

The build-up for grands battements is:
Primary – Step, and point with balance exercise
Grade 1 – Preparatory grands battements devant and à la seconde
Grade 2 – Preparatory and full grands battements en croix
Grade 3 – Grands battements en croix with a retiré passé
Grade 4 – Grands battements en croix with tendus and glissés
Grade 5 – Grands battements with en clôche

The build-up for en clôche is:
Grade 1 – Grands degagé exercise
Grade 3 – Tends and glisses with weight transference (glissé en clôche)
Grade 5 – Grands battements with battements en clôche

Grands battements have appeared in the syllabus work right back at Primary where we have the step and point exercise.
En clôche represents the clapper in a bell as it swings from side to side. The en clôche action is taken from the hip and the foot should pass through the 1st position as it passes from devant to derrière.

In this exercise, the dancer is aiming for height, control of the leg and flexibility in the hip. The ability to be able to throw the leg into the grand battement with height but also have control over the action as the leg is placed down à terre.
There must be control in the en clôche action as this step could easily go out of control with the hips lifting and twisting, the foot not placing through the first position and not having contact with the floor as it passes from either devant to derrière.
The transition between the grands battements and the passé devant or derrière should flow and be seamless.
Core and back strength will also help with controlling the leg action.

When taking the leg into the grand battement devant en fondu in the second part of the exercise the height of the leg devant and derrière must be the same, be aware that this must happen otherwise the action will look lopsided and not pleasing to the eye.

Make sure that the posé en avant doesn’t overstep and is controlled with the weight right over the supporting leg.

FREE STRETCH 4/4

This free stretch is an exercise that the teacher would set for their students. It isn’t shown in their examination.

It WILL be discussed in the L4 examination. The stretch wants to stay at the barre, think of all the areas that have been worked so far and make sure that they are targeted ready to come into the centre.

CENTRE PRACTICE

Now we are coming into the centre we want to see core strength and stability within the steps. There are a lot of steps that require good balance, control, and strength.
It would be recommended that strengthening exercises are run alongside the syllabus work so that students can continually enhance their strength.
Stamina is a big requirement when dancers are examined they would be expected to be able to execute the exercises with ease.
A lot of arm movement that hasn’t been seen as yet in the syllabus is introduced. This will be something that dancers are going to have to get used to, coordinating arms with complex leg movements.

PLIÉ & PORT DE BRAS 3/4

The build-up to a full plié is:
Grade 1 – Full plié in 2nd
Garde 2 – Full plié in 3rd and 1st
Grade 3 – Full pilé in 3rd and 2nd
Grade 4 – Full plié in 1st and 5th
Garde 5 – Full plié in 5th

The build-up to a forward port de bras is:
Grade 2 – The forward stretch at the barre in the warm-up
Grade 3 – The arm circles in the warm-up in a lunge
Grade 4 – Forward port de bras in the warm-up

The build-up to round de jambe is:
Grade 2 – En dedan and en dehors in 4 counts
Grade 3 – En dedan and en dehors in 2 counts

The build-up to circular port de bras is:
Grade 4 – Port de bras
Grade 5 – Girls and boys set adage

This exercise consists of a full plié in 1st position, forward port de bras, transference of weight devant and a rond de jambe en dedan. We have seen all of these steps in the lower grades.

Instead of the full plié being at the barre where there is extra stability, dancers now need to be able to control the movement in the center. This is done by just using their body control, and strength in their legs and upper body.
Bodyweight should be lifting upwards as the movement is lowering into the full plié, knees turning out, and a high instep stretch. There should be a smooth transition from being at the lowest point of the plié to returning back up to standing. There shouldn’t be any kind of bounce or leaning forward to get back up.

The forward port de bras action must project forward and not sway back in the legs. This is a common fault that as the body is taken over the legs the dancer may sway back taking the weight into the heels thus making the execution of the forward port de bras feel a lot easier.
Ideally, we would like to be seeing dancers getting a flat lengthened back as they go forward into the port de bras. The arms must work in unison with the movement. The arm is out to 2nd as the body is taken forward, the arm is then in 5th position at the bottom of the movement and should stay next to the ear as the body returns to standing with the arm staying in 5th position.



The rond de jambe en dedan must turn precisely to the croise alignment. The action of the leg must be the same as if executing the movement at the barre. Make sure that the foot hasn’t started coming round and missed out on the derriére position. As the body turns to the croise alignment the leg must follow along with the hips and the upper body. Changing the arms overhead the arm alignment must stay directly above the head and not drop forward.

The circular port de bras kneeling must not be taken into a backbend remembering to keep the action in the upper back and follow the arm movement with the head. The back leg wants to be extended so that the alignment is elongated.

BATTEMENT TENDUS & GRANDS BATTEMENTS 2/4

The build-up for battement tendus is:
Preparatory – Pointe and close
Primary – Step and close with a balance
Transference of weight
Grade 1 – Foot exercise
Grade 2 – Tendus and glissés
Grade 3 – Tendus and glisses with weight transference
Grade 4 –  Grands battements

The build-up for grand battements is:
Primary – Step, and point with a balance exercise
Grade 1 – Preparatory grands battements devant and à la seconde
Grade 2 – Preparatory and full grands battements en croix
Grade 3 – Grands battements en croix with a retiré passé
Grade 4 – Grands battements en croix with tendus and glissés
Grade 5 – Grands battements with en clôche

Battement tendus and grands battements have been in the syllabus since Grade 1. Just like the pliés and port de bras exercise we have come away from the barre and now need the core strength and balance to control the movements.
The grands battements should ideally be at 90 degrees. Dancers should now have flexibility with strength.

By adding arms into this exercise it can have a tendency to throw the body off center if the arms aren’t placed and held correctly. Be careful that when taking the arms up to 4th that the arm stays in front of the body line this will stop any weight going backward and knocking the body off center.
The arms should change position with freeness and have a smooth quality and transition.

When executing the petit developpe make sure that the upper body doesn’t lean too much to the side. The pas de bourée must fit the rhythm of 6&7, make sure that this is accentuated and not sluggish.

TEMPS LIÉ 6/8

The build-up for glissades is:
Grade 1: Preparatory glissade exercise devant and derrière
Grade 2: Set enchaînment glissade derrière
Grade 4: Progressive enchaînment glissade over and under

The build-up for pas de bouree
Grade 3: Set adage (under)
Grade 4: Allegro warm-up (under)
Grade 5: Allegro warm-up (over)

Temps lié means linking step. It should be seamless and have a feeling of ease and grace.

We have seen most of these steps that make up this temp’s lié exercise in previous grades so dancers should be well rehearsed in them by now.

This exercise is taken en avant, en arrière, and de côte.
In the first section, both the en avant and en arrière steps are identical just done in reverse. When teaching the exercise break it down into sections. This could be taught at the barre to allow dancers to get used to the control that is required.
It is quite a slow exercise so we are looking for control, with the actions gently blending together to look seamless. Make sure that each direction is clear and precise. It is very easy for the movements to blend into each other. If this happens the dancer will also lose control over the exercise.

There should be a feeling of the body being projected forward as the leg is lifted into attitude derriere and the weight being sent back over the supporting leg as the leg is lifted devant.

Your students haven’t yet done glissades en avant and en arrière they have always been taken de côte.
The glissades en avant and en arrière should also have a feeling of length. Encourage good extension in the leading leg and making sure that the closing foot comes into contact with the floor with the foot flat, it is very easy for the foot to roll as it is being placed into 5th.  There is a tendency for the lower back to arch in the glissade en arrière make sure that this is held under by using the core.

Épaulement
Meaning “shouldering” and describes the placement of a dancer’s shoulders in relation to the lower half of the body.
This is a new step for dancers and could be practised at the barre before taking into the centre.
A dancer demonstrating épaulement will slightly twist their torso from the waist upward so that one shoulder has now moved forward and the other back.  The head is then turned or slightly inclined over the front shoulder.

It is important to remember that the look of the shoulders twisting slightly is because the dancer is spiralling their whole upper body beginning at the waist, not just twisting the shoulders.

Pas de bourrée
Meaning little running steps.
The weight transference action in the pas de bourree must be smooth making sure that the degagé foot doesn’t come off the floor too high, nor does the body tilt unnecessarily with the action. The closing leg must come into 1st position ready to execute the chassé on the croise alignment. This is very important as the foot can quite easily miss the placement.

ADAGE

FOUETTÉ AND ROTATION 2/4

Fouetté meaning “whipped.” The term fouetté describes the quick whipping action of a dancer’s leg or body.

Rotation to rotate the body.

Fouetté is when we turn away from the body.
Rotation is when we turn towards the leg.

This exercise is going to require core, balance and control.

The beginnings of a fouetté are seen in the Grade 5 Adage at the barre where the simple foot action of turning the body towards the barre is seen. As the fouetté and pivots are still very new to dancers it would be suggested to take the action to the barre so that they have the stability once this has been achieved start bringing into the step into the centre.

The heel MUST stay in place on the supporting foot as the heel places and replaces taking you in the direction you wish to go in. Strength is needed in the ankle and foot to make this a clean precise action. The movement shouldn’t be jerky and the heel should be placed down gently after each fouetté.

Throughout this whole exercise, the action needs to stay gently and great use of the supporting leg is needed, we will need to see strength in the supporting leg and a lot of core control.

The legs need to work together on the rise with the drawing up of the back foot and the gently decent into the fondu, as the supporting leg bends so should the front leg as it is taken cou de pied.

Ideally, at Intermediate grade, your students should be reaching a 90-degree height

Fouetté meaning “whipped.” The term fouetté is used with others to describe different steps, however, it almost always describes the quick whipping action of a dancer’s leg or body.

Rotation to rotate the body.

Fouetté is when we turn away from the body.
Rotation is when we turn towards the leg.

This exercise is going to require a lot of balance and control.

We have seen the beginnings of a fouetté in Grade 5 Adage at the barre where we see the simple foot action turning the body towards the barre. As the fouetté and pivots are still very new to your students it would be suggested to take the action to the barre so that they have the stability once you are happy that they have the control start bringing into the center.

The heel MUST stay in place on the supporting foot as the heel places and replaces taking you in the direction you wish to go in. Strength is needed in the ankle and foot to make this a clean precise action. The movement shouldn’t be jerky and the heel should be placed down gently after each fouetté.

Throughout this whole exercise, the action needs to stay gently and great use of the supporting leg is needed, we will need to see strength in the supporting leg and a lot of core control.

The legs need to work together on the rise with the drawing up of the back foot and the gently decent into the fondu, as the supporting leg bends so should the front leg as it is taken cou de pied.

Ideally, at Intermediate grade, your students should be reaching a 90-degree

Fouetté meaning “whipped.” The term fouetté is used with others to describe different steps, however, it almost always describes the quick whipping action of a dancer’s leg or body.

Rotation to rotate the body.

Fouetté is when we turn away from the body.
Rotation is when we turn towards the leg.

This exercise is going to require a lot of balance and control.

We have seen the beginnings of a fouetté in Grade 5 Adage at the barre where we see the simple foot action turning the body towards the barre. As the fouetté and pivots are still very new to your students it would be suggested to take the action to the barre so that they have the stability once you are happy that they have the control start bringing into the center.

The heel MUST stay in place on the supporting foot as the heel places and replaces taking you in the direction you wish to go in. Strength is needed in the ankle and foot to make this a clean precise action. The movement shouldn’t be jerky and the heel should be placed down gently after each fouetté.

Throughout this whole exercise, the action needs to stay gently and great use of the supporting leg is needed, we will need to see strength in the supporting leg and a lot of core control.

The legs need to work together on the rise with the drawing up of the back foot and the gently decent into the fondu, as the supporting leg bends so should the front leg as it is taken cou de pied.

Ideally, at Intermediate grade, your students should be reaching a 90-degree. If students struggle to get this height and work towards trying to set this as a goal by doing strengthening and limbering exercises. Whatever height the extended leg is at it MUST stay at this height throughout the exercise. It must not drop as the body pivots.

Directions in this exercise are very important and each diagonal corner should be met with precision. The new alignment is Ecarté.

Ecarté
Ecarte has been seen in the Grade 4 Balancé exercise. This is a classical ballet term meaning “separated, thrown apart.” It is one of the eight directions of the body.

In écarté, (specifically écarté devant) a dancer is facing their entire body to one of the two front corners of their square box. (a box is drawn perfectly around the dancer that has its front and back lines parallel to the front of the room or stage).  To complete an écarté, one of the dancer’s legs must be in the a la seconde position à terre or en l’air.  The same side arm as the working leg is usually in a high fifth position.

UNSEEN PORT DE BARS & ADAGE
4/4 Pavanne

This is an important part of the examination so don’t overlook this. Dancers have been doing free work since grade 4 so should use to taking instructions. It is so important that your students know their terminology.

In the Unit 2 examination, you will be asked to choreograph a port de bras and adage using your own music.

GIRLS DEMI POINTE ENCHAÎNMENT
2/4 MARCH

The build-up for releve passé is:
Grade 4 – Pirouette Prep exercise
Grade 4 – Girls ending of Progressive enchainment

The new step that we see in this exercise are emboites. Emboite means fitted together.

The emboites need to be kept small and neat with the legs straight and a good demi-pointe. As the feet pass in front of each other make sure that hips don’t move, this step can end up looking like the dancer is waddling. Imagine that the feet are doing a glissé out to 2nd and closing in 5th on the demi-pointe. The foot positioning must hit the 5th position as the feet close in front of each other. There is a very slight lean in the upper body we have seen this positioning before in the Grade 2 walks with port de bars.

Releve passés haven’t been seen much within the syllabus so it would be advisable to take the step to the barre and reiterate the importance of the good lift in the demi-pointe action, how the weight is coming out of the legs and a feeling of lift is required.

Strength is going to be required to execute the releves which are 1-1. When we see this in the syllabus it means that the action is repeating on the same leg. The dancer will be required to execute 3 releves 1-1 which will need strength in the supporting leg and upper body. The extended leg must stay at the same height and not lift up and down during the action.

Pas de bourrée pique
Pique means to pick up and this is what this step should demonstrate the picking up of the feet. In the exercise, the weight is already on the supporting leg the extended leg is bought in derrière into a petit retiré position. The weight is then transferred onto the back leg as the front leg is taken up to full retiré height as the body turns to the croise direction the back leg is lifted into a full retiré thus making a pas de bourrée pique.
The knees must stay turned out especially as the action is turning to the croise alignment. It is very easy for the knees to turn in and turnout is lost. Maintain a high instep stretch. This step is popular with point work.
The relevé comes in quickly so make sure that the pas de bourée pique finishes on a plié.

PIROUETTES EN DEHORS 3/4

The build-up to pirouettes is:
Grade 4 – Pivot turns
Grade 4 – Boys set adage
Grade 5 – Pirouette en dehors

The first time we see a pirouette is in the boys set adage in grade 4 then again in grade 5 in the actual pirouette exercise. Have a good usage of the head and the shoulders are helping with the turn. The relevé should be secure with the foot under the knee, landing in a strong demi plié in 5th position, the weight needs to be completely over the body if the weight is thrown backward or forward this is going to make landing securely in 5th position hard.

Students are now having to achieve a double pirouette, they haven’t had to do this as yet. It is always beneficial to start getting your students confident in turning before this grade. In grade 5 students should start getting use to attempting double pirouettes. A good use of head action is required. A pirouette should be achieved without the use of arms it is the shoulders that help with the turn. Confidence is needed to achieve a double pirouette. The double is coming from a 4th position so a slightly easier position to execute the pirouette from as the base is bigger and more grounded.

This exercise should have a feeling of travel and breath and flow into each step. All the other steps we have in this exercise have been achieved throughout the grades. Coupés, chassés, and pas de bourrées and by now should be performed with control and confidence.

PIROUETTES EN DEDANS 3/4

The Fouetté in this movement is the action that helps execute the pirouette en dedans. Fouetté meaning to whip. The outward action in the fouetté action shouldn’t overshoot 2nd this is a common fault as there is an inclination to let the working leg come too far round to the front so, in the end, it is more devant. In turn this creates a dipping action and the leg is wrapped around the supporting leg.
The working leg should hit 2nd at hip height before pulling into the pirouette position – the foot being under the knee. This is going to take strength in the hip, glutes and lower back to control the action.
Control over the finish of the pirouette is so important as closing in 5th and to the opposite croisé direction.
Weight needs to be forward in the upper body and the head is spotting to the finishing placement.
The hips lead the line of direction make sure that this applies to the coupé chassé preparation into the pirouette. The foot placement is hip width apart in a forward moving action.

TURNS ON DIAGONALE (GIRLS) 2/4

Posé turns now feature within the syllabus and this is the first time that we have encountered them. There have been temp lié steps, relevés and the practicing of the pirouette position and pirouettes. Now dancers need to understand how a posé turn works and what the leg and body positioning should be before and after the turn.

Break this exercise down into sections 

1. Relevé passés
2. Emboîte relevé en tournant
3. Posé coupé de côte
4. Posé pirouettes
5, Chassé coupé and assemblé

Relevé passés & emboîte relevé en tournant

We know by now that we have seen relevés in the previous grades and what is required to achieve a good, clean action. Our new step that comes into play is the relevé passés turning and the emboîte relevé en tournant.
When teaching the relevé passés turning start by not turning the step but to get dancers to come down the studio by passing the back leg to the front hitting the correct leg position. Toe beside the knee.
They MUST understand that the back leg comes to the front as this can become confusing when doing half a turn with the action. The body must do half a turn and not start overshooting the alignment and the feet must place in the 5th position it is very easy for the feet to finish apart with the body weight thrown backward.
The foot pattern will help with this try and get them to say it in their heads as they do the steps.

All the below must be taken on the diagonal alignment.

Relevés passé and embôite

2 relevés passés devant with 1/2 turn 
Up (releve position), Down (close in 5th), Up (releve position), Down (close in 5th)
Emboîte relevé en tournant closing on demi-pointe 
Up (releve position), Up (releve position), Down (close in 5th)
Repeat emboîte 
Up (releve position), Up (releve position), Down (close in 5th)

Steps to refer back to when teaching a posé turn
Pirouette prep leg action
Ronds de jambe for the circular leg action when travelling on the diagonal
Temps lié for the projection of the weight over the supporting leg
Pirouettes en dehors for the accurate turn

The leading leg into the posé turn and that is going to take all the body weight needs to be extended devant then taken to the side in a circular action just off the floor.

At this point, refer back to rond de jambes and recap over the leg action and how it is taken in a circular motion. All the dancer’s body weight now needs to be projected onto this leg so that the body is stacked over the supporting leg – this is really important, if the weight isn’t over this supporting leg the dancer will not achieve a clean, precise turn.

REMEMBER a posé turn is commonly taken on pointe in these higher grades so the weight MUST be completely over the supporting leg otherwise the dancer will fall off pointe.

In preparation for the posé turns take a few weeks to make sure that the preparatory posés are correct, that the leg action for the leading leg is correct and that the raised leg is also in the correct position. Try not to rush the turn it is far better to get a good preparation which is the basis of a good posé turn.

There must be control out of the posé pirouettes into the chassé en avant. Spot on the line of dance which will keep dancers moving in the correct direction. The hip alignment will keep the dancer on the right direction.

This exercise is shown on both sides. When dancers enter their examination they will perform this one at a time. When one dancer is performing the exercise the other dancer must stand ready to proceed straight away.

TURNS ON DIAGONALE (BOYS) 6/8

Sissone passé devant
This is the same action as the girls relevé passés but instead of a relevé the boys are elevating the step and coming out of it with a petit assemblé.

Saute de basque
This exercise will be nicely elevated showing the strength that the boys work should have.
This is a new step for the boys and should be broken down into 3 actions. Like the girls turns on diagonal exercise everything is traveling on the diagonal alignment and the body should be making a clean half turn without overshooting and going off alignment. The feet must place correctly in 5th position on every landing.

The right leg will step onto the diagonal line, take the left leg through to seconde as the body does half a turn, the foot is glissé height off the floor, shouldn’t waver and be strong in its action. The rest of the turn comes in the elevation pushing off the right leg and bringing the right leg into the devant position just under the knee completing the turn. The action needs to look like one movement.
The knee must be turned out as the turn is completed, this can prove hard especially as you are turning so sometimes a tendency to pull that knee in to complete the turn.

In this exercise, the boys repeat the exercise on both sides straight away.

ALLEGRO

WARM-UP 2/4

The build-up for Allegro is:
Preparatory – Little jumps and big jumps
Primary – Echappé saute to 2nd
Grade 1 –  Echappé saute to 2nd with a change of feet
Grade 2 –  Soubresauts
Grade 3 – Echappé to 4th & Sissonnes
Grade 4 – Echappé 2nd & Soubresauts
Grade 5 – Changement turning

All the steps in this exercise have been seen throughout the syllabus and there is nothing new apart from sissonne passé derrière. This exercise requires stamina not only is it halfway through the syllabus it should be performed with energy, elevation, and strength.
There should be a good use of head alignment as this exercise is turning from croise to croise and turning.

What is the difference between a sauté and a soubresauts?
A sauté is performed in 1st, 2nd and 4th position.
A saubersauts is performed in 3rd or 5th position.

In this exercise the soubresauts travel forward. Legs should remain in a tight 5th position and not drift apart.

Sissonne passé derrière
As the elevation takes place the front foot should passé derrière into a petit retire position before landing happens. A good elevation is required otherwise there will not be enough time for the action to happen.

The arms should be soft in appearance and no movement should occur during the elevation.

ALLEGRO STUDY NO:1 2/4

The build-up for glissades is:
Grade 1 – Preparatory glissade exercise (devant & derrière)
Grade 2 – Set enchaînment (derrière)
Grade 4 – Progressive enchaînment (over and under)

The build-up for jetes is:
Grade 2 – Preparatory jete at the barre & Set enchaînment
Grade 3 – Girls and boys allegro enchaînment
Grade 4 – Progressive enchaînment

The build-up for pas de bourrée is:
Grade 3 – Set adage
Grade 4 – Allegro warm-up
Grade 5 – Girls & boys set adage & allegro warm-up

The build-up for pas de chat is:
Grade 3 – Allegro enchaînment
Grade 4 – Grand allegro

This again requires stamina from your student as this exercise is repeated 4 times through. The exercise is fairly fast the glissades should not become too elevated and lose the quality that is required. Keep the steps grounded and strong but use elevation when required to enhance the movements. There is a lot of change in direction even though this is de côte and body weight needs to be central to allow for this quick change. Keep a softness in the arms, when doing the relevé make sure the shoulder doesn’t lift as the arm is taken to 5th position.

Coupé fouetté raccourci sauté
This is a new step in the syllabus.  
Raccourci meaning to shorten. In a raccourci sauté, a dancer has their working leg in second position, ideally at 90 degrees as they elevate, on landing the working leg is bought into the supporting leg in a retiré position. Elevation is needed to execute the step well as the working leg needs to be extended out to 2nd position and pulled quickly into the side of supporting leg on landing.

Sissonne de côté
Another new step that hasn’t been seen in the syllabus.
There have been sissonnes fermées, ouverte, and changées in the grade 5 sissonnes exercise but not de côte. Nothing really changes from the grade 5 exercise. Dancers should understand the concept of performing the sissonne de côte. The same action applies but there is either over or under.

Over is when the back leg is taken to the front on closing and under is when the front leg is taken to the back on closing. Make sure that the body is en face and that the upper body doesn’t twist. The movement should travel slightly to the side with the projection coming from the supporting leg and the 2nd leg closing perfectly into 5th position in a demi plié ready for the next movement. The action of the closing leg is only a glissé height.

ALLEGRO STUDY NO:2
Polonaise 3/4 or Mazurka 3/4

There is a choice of either a 3/4 Polonaise or a 3/4 Mazurka, This is either the teachers or student’s choice. This is to be danced through once as a solo by each candidate.

There are 2 new steps to learn in this exercise these are Ballonné simple devant and sissonne doublé under.

This exercise has a few changes in direction and needs to flow with good elevation especially whilst executing the ballonné and sissonne doublé.

Ballonné simple devant
The term ballonné is a step where the leg is extended to the second or fourth position (front, side or back) at 45 degrees; the knee is bent and the foot brought to a sur le cou-de-pied position. When performed at 45 degrees, it is called petit ballonné and performed at 90 degrees, grande ballonné.
A ballonné needs to be taught separately before introducing it into the exercise. Take the action to the barre so that there is the support. The leg action is from the knee downwards a bit like how we have done when doing frappés and ronds de jambés en l’air.
The leg is extended out devant at around 45 degrees as the dancer elevates, on landing the leg is bought into the sur le cou de-pied position.

In Grade 5 there are sissonnés ouverte (open), fermées (shut), and changées, and there have already been sissonnés de côte in the Allegro study No:1

A sissonné doublé under is made up of
sissonne de côte, coupé under and an assemblé under

The reason the sissonné is an under is that the extended leg in the sissonné de côte cuts behind (under) in the coupé and the assemblé is under. You can have sissonné doublé over. A coupé over and an assemblé over.

Break the movement down into the 3 separate steps the doublé wants to travel well and be seamless between the 3 actions with a gentle elevation in the assemblé under.

ALLEGRO STUDY NO: 3
Waltz 3/4

This is to be danced through once as a solo by each candidate. The time signature is a 3/4 Waltz so the dance quality should reflect this. Flowing, graceful, elevated and have artistry.
The steps need to be elongated to fit with the music and the arabesques on a relevé needs to be held in a strong controlled manner. This exercise will need control and strength with the ability to make it look graceful.

Grand jete is the new step in this exercise. All the other steps have been taught in previous grades.

Grand Jete
Grande meaning ‘big’ or ‘large’.  It is always used to describe another step. A grande jeté, which means “large throw,” is a word that describes a jump. A jeté starts with throwing or brushing one leg into the air then pushing off the floor.

Ideally, dancers need now to have good flexibility so that they can get as big a split action in the air.  Use stretching exercises to help achieve this.

Don’t encourage a développé on the leading leg, the leading leg should be straight as it extends into the air and all the projection is coming from the back leg as it pushes the body in a forward motion. Make sure that there is a toe lead on the take off and landing. It is very easy to place the heel down as the two runs are executed into the grand jete and on the landing out of the jete. The runs should have a feeling of lift. The upper body remains in a secure upright position with no arching of the back. All the power is coming from the legs and core so the arms should remain in a controlled arabesque position.

Tombé
This means to fall. The previous step should be suspended to allow the tombé to have a feeling of release and falling forward. Don’t under cut the fall allow it to elongate away from the body.

The syllabus says a loose pas de bourrée. What does that mean?
It means that the pas de bourrée is like an extension of the runs and grand jete.

A prime mistake is the back heel staying off the floor after the posé onto demi pointe into the chassé passé en avant. Ensure that the heel is placed down before continuing into the chassé passé.

Be aware of the ending on the seconde side this can easily get forgotten.

UNSEEN ENCHAÎNMENTS

UNSEEN ENCHAÎNMENT REQUIREMENTS

At this point in the examination, dancers will be expected to listen and follow the examiner’s instructions. The examiner will choreograph an enchaînment, they will not help the dancer physically only vocally. The dancer is being examined on how quickly and efficiently they can pick up the examiners choreography.
It is essential at this stage that dancers know their terminology of every step in the Intermediate grade and previous grades. The examiner is looking for a quick response and an accurate performance.

Unseen enchainments within your Level 4 examination
Within your exam 30 minutes is dedicated to creating enchaînments.
You may not necessarily get asked to use the set syllabus music so make sure you have plenty of music on a playlist with a vast variety.
You could be asked to create an enchainment using steps the examiner wishes to see but also prepare some in advance before your exam to your own music.

In your Unit 2 examination, you will be asked to choreograph an enchaînment either using the set CD music or your own from your extensive playlist. Like your students, the examiner is looking for you to choreograph quickly and precisely. Make sure that you know all the steps you are using, be able to count and discuss your choreography ideas.

BATTERIE STUDY 2/4

The build-up to batterie is:
Grade 4 – Batterie prep at the barre
Grade 5 – Petit batterie

The new steps in this exercise are echappé battu ouverte and entrechat.
The foot pattern for the exercise should be taught as this will help dancers to understand where they are beating. Remember that it is the front leg that is the working leg.
Elevation is essential to allow the dancer enough time to beat. The leg action is side to side and must not beat forward and backward. The thighs are the part of the leg that beat. Keep the beats small and tight.

The beating sequence looks like this:
2 entrechats quatre – back, front, back, front
Changement battu – front, back
Stretch knees, demi plié
Repeat – back, front, back, front, front, back

Echappé battu ouverte & ferme – back out, back front
Repeat – back out, back front
Entrechat trois derrière – front back (back foot is lifted)

BOYS ALLEGRO STUDY 4/4

The new steps are grand jeté en tournant, assemblé over en tournant and assemble over battu.

Grand jeté en tournant
This step requires height to enable the dancer to get the turn in the air. The aim is to get the legs into a split at the highest point of the leap as the legs change over for the landing.
The forward grand jeté should be perfected first before attempting the en tournant. Spotting is crucial in this step, as the dancer turns into the 3 runs the focus needs to be on the back diagonal corner. As the leap is performed the focus wants to change quickly to the front diagonal corner as this is where the body alignment should finish. Encourage a good fondu on the supporting leg on the landing as this will help with balance and control of the step. The back leg wants to avoid pushing upwards on the landing and the lower back arching. Keeping the bodyweight forward and upright into the supporting leg should overcome this.

Assemblé over en tournant
Assemblés have appeared in the syllabus since grade 3 the only difference with the assemblé en tournant is that it turns in the air as the assemblé is happening. Like any turning step spotting is required otherwise the turn will be misplaced. Once the turn is in action your student needs to find the landing direction quickly and focus on it so that the correct line of dance is accomplished.

Be watchful that the assemblé doesn’t scoop around in a circular motion because of the turn. The assemblé must still have the glissé action to second and the joining of the legs with the back leg coming to the front to accomplish the over action.

Assemblé battu over
For the assemblé battu over the leg starts at the back and finishes at the front. The thing to remember when adding the beat is that the leg will beat in the same place it has started from for example if the right leg is at the back it will beat at the back before closing at the front. The problem can be that dancers only think about the beating leg, in this case, the back leg but it is both legs working and beating together.
For the beat, the back leg still needs to prepare as normal for an assemblé by going out to the side the back leg is then going to return to the other leg and beat behind before closing in front. This needs to happen all in the same time that we did the assemblé over as normal. This means that good elevation is required so the dancer is able to perform the beat at the top of the jump before landing back down in the 5th position. Think about the speed of the 2nd leg so both legs are beating and meeting in the middle before landing.

VARIATION

At this stage in the student’s exam, they will now perform a variation using one of the set pieces of music. This is choreographed by the teacher and should be on demi-pointe, don’t use full pointe.
At this stage in your examination, you will be asked to perform 2 variations that you have pre-arranged these should be contrasting to each other, 1 variation will be using the set CD music either A, B or C and the other one no longer than a minute using the music of your own choice.

The difference between a dance and a variation is a dance is a performance and for the stage a variation is more for training and for the studio and exam based.

At this point in the exam if you have a boy entering they would do their reverence and leave the studio. Girls will change into their pointe shoes.

GIRLS POINTE WORK

Preparing girls for pointe work can be quite overwhelming as you are having to make the decision as to whether they are strong enough to go up on pointe. This needs to be your professional decision, just because they are capable of achieving the Intermediate exercises doesn’t mean they are capable of achieving a good rise onto full pointe. If this is the case then you will need to carry on with strengthening exercises until you feel they are ready.

Strengthening exercises should include
Rises
Instep stretches
Metatarsal strengthening – Place bare feet on the floor and pull toes up keeping in full contact with the floor.

If you feel your student is ready now you need to find a recommended pointe shoe fitter within your area. A pointe shoe must be fitted carefully and professionally.

Foot flexibility: Another thing to consider is does your student have sufficient flexibility or arch in the instep? If they don’t they will not be able to place the ankle in a direct line between the knee and the toes on pointe. If this is the case your student should not be allowed to attempt pointe work.

Physique: The student’s individual physique should be carefully evaluated She needs to have strong abdominal and back muscles which hold the body in the correct alignment. Strong leg, ankle and foot muscles must be able to hold the entire leg in proper alignment. A supinated ankle (too much roll outwards) and a pronated ankle (too much roll inwards) are a risk on pointe. The ankle muscles must be strong to hold the ankle in the correct place.

Focus: Your student needs to be focused and be able to understand and make corrections.

Not everyone will be ready at the same time: Parents and students need to understand that not everyone in a class will be ready to start on pointe at the same time and that it is the teacher’s decision.

Not capable: As a teacher, if you feel that your student just isn’t capable of attempting pointe work then it is your responsibility to say so, some students just might not have the physique or strength that is required.

The exercises in the syllabus are all barre-based and should be taken slowly and carefully. Remember that the whole of the foot should be worked through to arrive up on pointe, that the legs need to stay strong and that the body weight needs to be over the entire foot. Don’t use the barre to help get up onto pointe nor should the body be thrown backward to assist in this movement.

In your exam you may not have to teach the set pointe work but make up your own training exercises based around the set exercises. Make sure you have free music for this.