Technique: Notes On Tombe-Coupe-Jete
I’m launching a series of post on the details of technique. It’ll probably consist primarily of steps I’m struggling with, so take it with a grain of salt.
I find it helpful to write things out in an effort to get a grip on them. These aren’t so much instructions (though if they work for you, awesome!) as observations.
Tombé-coupé-jeté is a subset of coupé-jeté en tournant (if you do jazz, you might know this as a “calypso,” if I understood my classmate correctly).
As its name implies, it’s a compound step. The elements are:
- a tombé into a
- turn at coupé
- that lends its rotation to a jeté
Some form or another of coupé-jeté en tournant shows up in men’s technique a lot—QV Le Corsaire’s famous (and famously-hard) Slave variation, the Pas de Trois from Swan Lake, a whole bunch of stuff in Nutcracker, etc, etc.
Coupé-jeté pass starts at ~1:20 This guy knows what he’s about.
Also, I like the way he moves.
The tombé version is the one I’m concerned with here.
I’ve been wrestling with making my tombé-coupé-jeté consistent on both sides so I can use it in choreography without having to think about it (because thinking is basically death to my ballet technique; it makes my brain overheat and crash).
The basic mechanics, traveling right, go like this:
- Tombé onto the right leg.
- Bring the left leg to coupé while executing a turn en dedans.
- Your arms help to provide momentum for the turn.
- Don’t leave your body behind!
- Transfer weight onto the left foot. Your left leg will be in a demi-plié.
- Simultaneously, grand battement the right leg just as you would for a plain old vanilla jeté.
- Spring off the left leg.
- For men’s technique: tombé to second (you get a bigger jump, and men’s technique is basically be distilled into How To Get A Bigger Jump).
- I realized today that I kept tombé-ing to something like 2.5ième. Bleh.
- It works a lot better if you actually really do tombé to an actual 2nd.
- The turn happens in the coupé.
- NOT in the tombé.
- NOT in the jeté*.
- *The remaining momentum from the turn will cause the jeté to rotate slightly, but if you think of the turn as being in the jeté, you’ll inevitably add a rond-de-jambe, and everything will go right to Hell in a hand-basket.
- I tend to start unfurling my working leg at the wrong point in this turn. DO NOT DO THIS. It throws everything else off, and also results in a wobbly flight path.
- The right leg sweeps STRAIGHT OUT, as in grand battement, avant or to 2nd (I’m not actually sure if one is correct and the other incorrect; I didn’t think to ask JP).
- The working leg does not rond.
- I repeat, the working leg DOES NOT ROND.
- I find that it helps to think “Grand battement!” rather than “Don’t rond!”
So let’s think about how this all works on the right.
- The tombé loads the right leg, providing impetus for the turn just as the plié does at the beginning of a pirouette.
- The arms come together to add to the momentum of the turn as the left leg snaps to coupé.
- The body has to stay connected—the shoulders and hips must travel together—in order to execute this movement well. This is true for all turns, but especially true for coupé-jeté en tournant.
- The coupé builds momentum that will allow the jeté to sail along a curvilinear pathway.
- At the end of the turn, the weight is transferred to the left leg in demi-plié. The right leg sweeps straight out to initiate the jeté.
- The jump lands on the right leg. It’s possible to move right into another coupé-jeté en tournant or into another step entirely.
Here’s what I tend to do wrong when doing tombé-coupé-jeté en tournant.
- I tombé into some weird 2.5iéme kind of position instead of a clean 2nd.
- I fail to keep my hips and shoulders together.
- I try to come out of the turn at coupé to soon.
- I sometimes snap the leg up as one would in saut de chat instead of sweeping it straight up.
- I rond the leading leg in the jump to compensate for exiting the turn too early.
In case you’re wondering, yes, I did do about a million slow-motion coupé-jetés on my living room carpet while trying to work all of this out.
Anyway, now I know what I’m doing wrong, so I should have a better time getting it all sorted.
In the meantime, here’s a really good video that demonstrates coupé-jeté en tournant. I should probably note that I’ve only watched it with the sound off, so I have no idea what it sounds like 😛