Balances 

Tried Aerial A’s exercise with my worst balance, coupé (avant), today. 

Holy Entrechats, Bournonville-man! It works! 

The exercise in question(1), by the way, is a painfully slow piqué into whatever balance.

So, with Turnout Mode Engaged:

  • point (with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul) through the entire leg that’s going to be the supporting leg
  • keep the hip socket engaged 
  • soft demi-plié the other leg
  • keep the hip socket engaged 
  • push (don’t spring!) onto the demi-point of the supporting leg 
  • KEEP THE HIP SOCKET ENGAGED(2)!!! 
  • slowly lift-rotate the working leg into place 

This gives you time to think about what your back, hips, etc are doing. 

I’ve realized the my back is totally my nemesis in coupé—in retiré, I automatically engage the bejeezus out of my core (because that is part of the recipe for a high retiré), but in coupé I don’t, and then my tendency to throw my shoulders and head back just screws the whole thing right up. 

The various  arabesques and attitude arrière are easier because they’re counter-balances, which means you can fake ’em’ til you make ’em, to an extent. 

Meanwhile, attitude avant and simple balance à la seconde are hard enough that I have to think about them (and both require intense core engagement). Likewise, balances in extension (usually via développé) in the various directions engage the core automagically for me. 

Hence, coupé balance is hard because it’s easy. 

Ah, yes. That’s right. This is ballet, the art of counter-intuition, isn’t it?


  1. I’ll see if I can get Aerial A to collaborate on a video for this!
  2. If you’re like me and you like to show off your flexibility and hyperextensions and beautiful lines and you have intermittent issues with your supporting leg feeling squidgy at the top, you might be failing to extend from the hip socket, and instead making your whole pelvis go all cattywampus and sideways ‘n’ shizzle. See below. 

This visualization works well for me. Also … My handwriting. So very terrible. Sorry.

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About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Getting along pretty well with bipolar disorder. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2016/12/19, in balllet, steps, uggghhh...technique and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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