You simply can’t have enough tips for ballet pirouettes. Improvements can always be seen, no matter how many turns you are working on. See a few tips below to help get your turns on track to perfection.Continue reading
Battement Tendu is one of the first steps you learn as a young dancer. In french tendu means to “stretch.” It may seem like a simple step, but its importance is high on the scale of dance technique. Through this movement, dancers become aware of the energy expelled through the feet. The strength developed through this articulation is how dancers take off and land their jumps with cushion.
“In ballet and other dance forms, this stretched action (and the way the body reacts to it) is important preparation for just about everything, including rising to pointe, lifting, throwing, or balancing on a leg.”
Tendu is the gateway step for assemblé, grand jeté and entrechat quatre to name a few. Without the dexterity in the feet and toes, jumps would land hard and movements would be lacking the finished look that pointed feet provide for dancers. Whether it’s ballet, jazz or modern/contemporary- tendu is sure to be a part of the curriculum in those styles.
You may think the working leg (the leg doing the tendu) is the most important, but the standing leg is just as important. Tendu is the introduction to standing on one leg, preparing the body for other steps and positions such as dégagé, passe or arabesque.
5 Tips for Tendu
1. Maintain body alignment and hip rotation to ensure proper turn out. I tell my students to start with your best turn out, being careful not to roll in. If rolling in does occur, decrease the turn out. The direction your feet are pointing from first position is the pathway your battement tendu a la seconde (tendu to 2nd position) should travel on. Your tendu will be slightly in front of you, unless you have perfect 180 degree turn out. At that point, it would be directly side. The hips should remain even on a neutral axis with no leaning to either side.
2. Dancers should strive to spread the toes and push them through the floor to create resistance, articulating the toes into the tendu position as the body slightly shifts over the standing leg. There should be no weight on the tendu, just the very tip touches the floor. Reverse that same resistance to close back in to first position.
3. Weight should be balanced over all three points of the foot, keeping all five toes on the floor. Balance points are on the first and fifth metatarsal and The calcaneus (heel bone).
4. Closing in can cause problems in hip alignment. Often times, dancers will lean over the standing leg and lifting the working hip up. This causes the tendu to lose resistance in the floor and can cause problems when approaching more difficult steps.
5. Elongate the toes when working tendus to fullest stretch. They should never be crunched or have weight on them. Again this relates to support in the working leg to maintain balance. After all, tendu is a one footed balance.
“Plie is the first thing you learn and the last thing you master.” -Suzanna Farrell
As beginners, plie and tendu are two of the first moves we learn in ballet class. Many times, we forget the importance of that and take those first few exercises at the barre for granted. Not only do they warm up our bodies, but they are the base upon so many dance movements are built. The tips I’ve provided are just a glimpse into improving your tendu. Hope this gets you started, and on your way to improvement.
“The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and that has the traditional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs”- Charles Baudelaire.
The Evolution of Ballet
In the late 15th Century, ballet emerged in the Renaissance Court Culture of Italy as a dance interpretation of fencing, and was expanded upon in the French Court in the 17th Century. The original elaborate performances took place in large halls which were also used for royal banquets and balls. They united poetry, painting, dancing and music. In 1489, one dance actually took part in the middle of a banquet, and it was themed on the menu- basing their performances on the social dances of the time.Continue reading
Being a dancer takes years of sweat, sore muscles and plain old fashioned hard work. That being said, being a dancer is a privilege. There are plenty of benefits to being a dancer, check out my five reasons below.Continue reading
A dancer’s technique and alignment is the foundation needed to reach high levels of dance. This is important in order to prevent injuries and keep your dance students healthy. It is the job of the dance instructor to correct dancers on proper torso alignment and instruct them on how to align the spine correctly.Continue reading
Dancers are known for their extreme flexibility, but can you take it too far? The answer is yes. In the social media world we live in, we are exposing children to images of stretches that almost seem in-human. Dance teachers are often cautious about taking on such practices, but feel pressured to keep up with the times by both students and parents. However, erring on the side of caution is not a bad thing. The possible dangers that exist with over stretching are high. Training young adolescents is much different than training adults, it is important your dance teacher is aware of the possible dangers that exist and how to prevent them in young dancers.Continue reading
When performing it is important that we use stage makeup to bring out our natural features on stage. Depending on the type of show you are in, your makeup can range from natural to exotic. For young children performers, we want make sure we are putting just enough makeup on them to show their facial expressions with out over doing it and causing them to look over done.
1. Foundation: You will want to put a light foundation on your dancer’s skin to ensure that the makeup stays put, while also evening out their skin tone. Translucent powder should be applied as well to make sure the base sets well and they do not have any shine on their face.
2. Eye Wear: Choose a neutral brown palette that has a tri-color option; a base color, a crease color and a brow bone high light. This will add depth to their eyes and give them a natural open look. You can add a thin line of dark brown or black eye liner to their upper lid and lower lid to shape the eyes further. Finally, finish with 2 coats of mascara.
3. Blush: A rose color cream or powder blush is best. It should be brighter and more vibrant than your every day blush. Have your dancer make the fish face, and lightly dust or rub it to high light their cheek bones.
4. Lips: A bright red lipstick is what’s best for the stage. If you are worried it may be too much for your little one, be sure to use a brush or cue tip to apply the lipstick. It will keep it from smearing all over their small lips or being to bold and bright for their age.
Dancers spend many hours in class and rehearsals getting ready for a performance, they often overlook a very important detail on show day: a healthy food plan. Just as you would do a pre-show warm up to prepare your muscles to dance, you also need to do planned snacks and meals to ensure you have enough fuel to make it through the performance. The last thing you want to be worried about on stage is feeling hungry, bloated or over caffeinated. You can check out some of our healthy eating tips below to guarantee you have your best performance on stage.Continue reading
When it comes to competitive dance, there is a lot of aspects that are NOT in your control. But one thing you can do is make sure your appearance at competition is perfect. A finished look that is consistent with your group will not only make you look great on stage, but it will give your group a uniform look that exudes professionalism. The last thing you want to do is to distract the audience from your amazing dancing. Head pieces that fall out or inconstancy in their appearance can lower the overall value of your presentation. The judges won’t notice your beautiful stretched foot if your costume is falling down or your hair is messy and out of place.
1. Costume Fit: It is important that the costume fits properly. If a dancer is uncomfortable in their costume, it shows on stage. They should not be pulling tugging or adjusting the costume in any way. It should be comfortable and fit them well to ensure it presents well on stage and is not distracting to the dancer or the audience.
2. Costume Style: When selecting a costume for a routine, it is important to take every dancer in to account. Choosing styles that are flattering and appealing to your students, parents and audience members will help to sell your routine. Each member of the ensemble should feel confident and great in their costume.
3. Costumes that are Age Appropriate: Dancers should wear costumes that cover their body in a way that is appropriate for young children. Two piece costumes, bra tops and bare legs are not appropriate costuming. Dancers should aspire to be seen as classy. Covering their legs with tights not only finishes the look on stage, but protects them and keeps their muscles warm while dancing and performing.
4. Noticeable Undergarments: Showing any type of undergarments is not becoming on stage. Being sure to tuck nude leotards or any straps out of view. Wearing appropriate undergarments when needed is important as well to ensure there are no costume malfunctions.
5. Messy Hair: It is important that dancers use plenty of gel to smooth hair before going on stage. Loose hairs create a halo in the stage lights and it looks sloppy. Use plenty of bobby pins in your bun to ensure it doesn’t fall out. If your required to wear a ponytail, make sure you either straighten the ends or curl the ends. Otherwise, your hair can look unfinished. Whatever the hair style required, make sure it is neat and polished.
6. Tights with Runs or Holes: Tights that are worn out and have holes and runs DO NOT look good on stage. The judges are usually right at your feet staring at your bottom half. You want them to see a fresh pair of tights that match your shoes. You should always have class tights and performance tights separate. Always keep extra tights with you, you never know when you could get a run or a snag.
7. Accessories that are NOT Secured Properly: Whether it is a part of your costume or a hair piece, ensuring everything is properly secure is key to avoid unnecessary distractions. Jewelry should not be worn when dancing unless it is part of a unique costume request from your choreographer.
8. Nail Polish and Care: Nails should be natural (no polish) and trimmed. Having long nails can be hazardous to the people around you since you are in such close proximity when dancing. Not to mention partner work and tumbling aspects to consider.
9. Dirty or Mismatched Shoes: Shoes should all be the same shape, color, style and over all look. Brands can differentiate. Shoes should be kept clean for class and performance. Dance shoe care is very important to help make them last and for sanitary reasons as well.
10. One Shoe Look: This is NOT OK! It is an unflattering trend on even the most amazing dancers. You would never see anyone on Broadway with one shoe? So please, wear them both or don’t wear any. 😉
“I’m not in competition with anybody but myself. My goal is to beat my last performance” Celine Dion
Competitive Dance is a wonderful experience, but just like traditional sports it can bring along some tough life lessons for young kids involved. Like with any competitive activity or sport, you win some – you lose some and keeping a positive mind set can be difficult at times of defeat or embarrassment. A good teacher instills core values into their students that help them understand how to have a positive competitive experience. Competition can be a fun and rewarding experience, not only focusing on their development as athletes and dancers, but their psychological and social development as well.Continue reading