technical notes: devil turns again

I mean chaînés, of course. Everyone loves chaînés sooooooooo much, amirite?! They are The Actual Best[1]!

  1. At least I assume that’s why everyone goes, “uuugghhhhhh, whyyyyyyy” when it’s time for chaînés. Because that’s the sound of joy … right?

I’ve spent the past year or two trying to make peace with chaînés. It has, in fact, largely worked. Two things—learning that dudes usually don’t piqué into chaînés and that it’s fine to do your chaînés in fifth—led to some dramatic improvements.

However, somewhere along the line, I started losing all my momentum going into any run of chaînés.

Someday, I will look back upon this and laugh.

Chaines: Scourge of the Universe (you guys, I can’t believe how weirdly applicable this is, given that I made this graphic in like 2015 2014)

Not cranking the turnout-brakes (read: that thing you do to halt your momentum if you have to finish a soutenu turn in sous-sus) helped, as in it prevented me from actually grinding to a halt after one turn, but it didn’t solve the problem entirely.

Today, though, Killer B fixed the remaining bit of the problem: she said, “You can piqué or chassée into your chaînés, whichever works better for you … but right now you’re tombé-ing in, and it’s killing your momentum.”

So I tried the chasséechaîné approach, and HOLY CRAP GUYS IT WORKED. Made my chaînés about twice as fast, in fact. (Which is good, because sometimes they were embarrassingly slow.)

Anyway:

AHHHHHH!!!! You guys, how did I go so wrong?!

not-how-this-works

basically applicable to my entire life at all times

Like, I remember BW giving me a lesson on chaînés as pertains to Men’s Technique, and that he taught me to not piqué into them … but at some point I decided explicitly that tombé was the One True Way.

(Evidently it is a correct approach, but not one that works particularly well for me: I tend to tombé into a deep demi-plié way over my front leg as if preparing for a sauté arabesque or something. Ultimately, that means that my momentum can go straight up or back the way it came, but not really forward except through pas de bourrée … I guess it would be useful if I needed to change directions straight into a series of chaînés, though.)

The waltz combination today was:

balancé (r)
balancé (l)
chaîné-chaîné-petit developpé to pas de bourrée
chassée 4th
turn en dehors
fourth
turn en dehors (land 5th, right foot front, or coupé through)
balancé (r)
balancé (l)
petit developpé to pas de bourrée
chassée 4th
rotation (fouetté à terre)
fourth
turn en dedans

I’m trying to figure out if I’m leaving out some waltz turns somewhere, or if they were in something else and I’m conflating my memories[2].

  1. very possible; this morning was a horrible slog through the swamps of badness: the struggle was all the way real[3].
  2. I even hosed up a simple sissone combination at the end of class, though at least I made it to the end of class without actually dissolving into a gibbering zombie. I almost checked out after the warm-up jumps, but I didn’t, because some part of my acknowledges that I work in dance now, which means there will be days that I have to get out there onstage even though I just can’t even.

Regardless, the chasséechaîné approach is a freaking lifesaver.

I was going to drop a YouTube video that shows this in here, but my exhaustive* one-minute long search hasn’t found one, so it’ll have to wait.

*yeah, okay, totally not exhaustive

Anyway, there’s today’s gem from class.

Guys: if an approach via tombé is sending your chaînés to an early grave (get it? tomb … é … early grave … harhar), try chassée instead.

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 2018/04/18, in balllet, class notes, technical notes, uggghhh...technique and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hi,

    Good work.
    I’m at a much more beginner status – the problem with chaînés is after the 4rth rotation the focus point and the world start to part themselves, there is a kind of parallel universe created that overlays the other one.

    Until the emergency break before a crash into the mirror (it has magnetic energy), or running a girl over (which is on another multi dimensional trip though her parallel universe).

    Last lesson we always ended cramped alltogether in the same corner of the room – all who started.

    • I think that problem is universal! No matter how well you spot your chaînés, if you do enough of them, they make your head spin. And, of course, just when you reach the point at which four chaînés no longer leave you feeling as if you’re on a small boat in a big storm, someone comes along and makes you do eight :O (Or, even worse, “Just chaînés, all the way across!” with a gigantic smile.)

      The first time Denis did chaînés, he it actually caromed off of me halfway across the floor 😀 My hypothesis is that the spin of chaînés turns creates a temporary gravitational effect that draws dancers towards stationary objects or other dancers, which perhaps generate their own gravitational eddy currents. That’s probably why we’re supposed to do them fast—less time to get caught in someone else’s whirlpool! ;D

  2. Somewhat glad to see that I am not the only one who sees chainés as their personal ballet nemesis. However, there is a similar flamenco turn, and for some reason I can do it quite well (o.k., not all the time, but most of the time.)

    • It’s so funny how slight differences in technique can make things significantly easier (or harder)! I know quite a few dancers who can do quadruple jazz pirouettes (in parallel retiré) but who struggle to do good single turns in ballet (I’m the opposite, lol– my brain and body don’t like parallel very much :D).

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