Modern Mondays, Class 2: Coupé Jeté en Tournant
Last week, Modern T’s lesson in bone-stacking (and cantilevering) for balance improved my balance in ballet.
This week, a clear and simple explanation sorted my coupé jeté.
Or, well — started sorting it, anyway.
Like, in the past, they’ve cropped up in choreography, and I’ve been like, “Well, here goes!” and occasionally, by way of random divine intervention, I would carry one off. Like, basically, if I did the rest of the choreography right (which is, at times, a miracle in and of itself) it would carry me into (and through) the coupé jeté.
Today, thanks to Modern T’s explanation, I managed to do one, like, intentionally, without an entire combination to carry me into it. More than one, in fact. In both directions, even!
We were using it in a combo, but I kept missing it; hence the explanation. Isolating it worked (as did explaining it in ballet terms and “factoring” it).
Coupé jeté is one of my big goals for this semester, so I am, in short, totally stoked.
The thing that I get now is that there are, in effect, two turns involved: a tombé piqué — AKA “lame duck” — to coupé, which provides the momentum for the turn that happens in the second jump.
I’m still not sure how to explain where the impulse for lift-off happens. I’ll have to work through it about a dozen more times before I reach a point at which I can put that into words.
Modern dance makes it easier for me to understand how I learn dance (and dances). There’s definitely a lot of kinetic sequencing that happens; if I can remember the first step in a bit of choreography, I can usually get through all of it; if I can’t remember how it starts, I get stuck.
My primary “backup” takes the form of 3D movies in my head, but if I’m missing a piece of the movie, I can get stuck that way, too.
My secondary backup is verbal: in ballet, reciting the names of the movements can help me if I get stuck; it doesn’t always work, since I’m not awesome at verbal learning, but it’s still useful. When I don’t have names for things in modern, I don’t have that extra backup.
So, basically, my dance-learning hierarchy goes:
Kinetic (which includes rhythmic/pulse sense)
…And when all three systems somehow fail to store a piece of the choreography, I get stuck and the sequence freezes.
This is more likely to happen in modern dance because it’s less familiar and often less verbal, so I need to work on making sure my kinetic and visual maps are really solid so I am less likely to need that verbal backup plan. I suppose it’s also totally valid to do what I do when my name-recalling software fails in ballet, and just give things temporary names.
I can’t tell you how often I wind up substituting “… and then thing, and swirly thing, and that other thing, and then thing again,” in my verbal ballet maps!
I think that I can improve this in both ballet and modern contexts by creating mental “hooks” in the choreography — like the thing I mentioned a few days back about knowing all of that one combination from the entrelacé, but not the beginning of the combination in question. I love entrelacé, so it becomes a “hook” really easily.
The other thing I learned is that, where large tombés are concerned, I compulsively tombé with both legs bent, even when I’m supposed to be falling with a bend only in the leg that’s receiving my weight, except on those occasions that the trailing leg leaves the floor. It’s like I’m always preparing to do some huge turn or something.
That made the beginning of one of today’s combinations quite a bit harder than was actually necessary until I figured what the heck I was doing!
Okay, that’s it for now. I should probably go do some work 🙂
À bientôt, mes amis !