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Everyone wants more air-time. Whether you're going for explosive jetés or crisp battu (or both!) there are specific ways to train. We break it down below:

  1. First, read Amy's extensive breakdown on how to improve your petit allégro. Some of her tips, like adding plyometrics to your cross-training regime, apply to big and small jumps. Her key points are: Use your plié, feel your whole leg, connect to your center and anticipate your landing.
  2. You may think that because you're on your feet all day in class and rehearsal you don't need to cross-train the large muscles in your legs and hips. Wrong! Those muscles need to be activated in a parallel position to generate propulsion for jumps and to control your landings. Here are two exercises.
  3. Here's everything you need to know about plyometrics for dancers. These kinds of exercises are utilized by hurdlers and high jumpers. Enough said.
  4. If possible, use men's class as an opportunity to work on your timing. The slower music will force you to hang in the air, and you might just learn a few new steps.

New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder, known for her buoyant jump (photo by Paul Kolnik)

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New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder, known for her buoyant jump (photo by Paul Kolnik)

I can't seem to get off the ground in petit allégro. Help! —Sara

Developing ballon begins with basic technique: correct alignment throughout the body, strong core and leg muscles, a deep plié, and proper articulation of the feet during push- off and landing. Then, of course, there's coordination and timing. Here are some basic things to think about:

Plié, plié, plié. Much of your power stems from having a deep plié from which to push off. It should feel elastic and juicy. If you're stingy with your plié, or hold lots of tension in your feet and Achilles tendon, you have less of a foundation to spring from.

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