Barre Practice Week 6 – Prep for Fouetté

Wow! I am really impressed with all your hard work and dedication. You’ve been practicing so much and it’s showing. We’ve been really focusing on basic movements and terminology and you’re getting stronger each class. This week I want to take a brief detour from the basics and talk about something a bit more advanced, the fouetté. We won’t be going into complete fouettés this week but we will lay the groundwork for future turns. Let’s take a look at a professional first. Watch as the ballerina completes turn after turn, these are fouettés.

Ok, we have a long, long, looooong way to go before ever getting to the point (all pun intended) of doing fouettés like that, but every monument has to start with a single brick. Let’s get to building.

Barre Vocabulary

Devant

Facing or moving to the front, as in tendu devant or attitude devant.

Fouetté (Fwe-tey)

Fouetté itself refers to a move where a quick pivot on the supporting leg changes the orientation of the body and the working leg. Literally it meaning “whipped”. An 180-degree or 90-degree fouetté could involve a working leg beginning extended elevated in front; the supporting leg rising onto demi-pointe or pointe quickly executing a “half” turn inside/en dedans, leading to the working leg ending in arabesque and the body now facing the opposite direction or stage direction.

Pointe, en

Supporting one’s body weight on the tip to tips of the toes.

en pointe Relevé

The act of rising en pointe on one or both feet. 

Retiré

A position of the working leg in which the leg is raised turned out and bent at the knee to the side so that the toe is located directly in front of (retiré devant) or behind (retiré derrière) the supporting knee. This is commonly used in pirouettes and as an intermediate position in other movements such as développé front.1

Second, a la

A position of the leg out to the side.

Barre Practice

Practice each position, devant relevé, a la second, and retiré en demi pointe, individually first. Practice devant and lower, devant and lower, over and over again until you are comfortable with the movement. Your goal in devant is to get your extended leg perpendicular to your body while raising en pointe. This will be a calf workout, but you’re up for it. Do the same with a la second and retiré en demi pointe beginning each from the previous position.

After you have mastered the positions individually begin combining them together. You can use your count and rhythm practice we worked on in week 5 while going through these movements. Your count will be 1, retiré, 2, devant relevé, 3, a la second, and 4, retiré en demi pointe. This video would be great practice for improving your leg strength so you can get that leg fully extended to ninety degrees in devant and a la second. 

I know this is a lot, but it’s fun to cover something a bit more complex and challenge your ballet dancer capabilities both physically and mentally. Don’t worry, next week we’ll step back again and work on something a little bit less complex such as turn out and abdominal strength. Be patient with yourself and have fun this week. I’ll see you next week.

xo,

isabelle

1.
Glossary of ballet – Wikipedia. Wikipedia Ballet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_ballet. Accessed April 6, 2017.

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