By Anna Paskevska

For almost a century, the learning of ballet and sleek dancers has divergent paths. smooth practitioners felt ballet used to be synthetic and injurious to the physique; ballet lecturers felt that sleek dancers lacked the rigorous self-discipline and keep an eye on that comes basically from years of innovative education. Ballet past culture seeks to reconcile those age-old conflicts and produce a brand new expertise to ballet academics of the significance of a holistic education routine that attracts at the top that glossy dance and movement-studies deals.

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In one way or another, all motions manage locomotion by counterbalancing weight. pmd 41 9/16/2004, 9:19 AM 42 • Ballet Beyond Tradition Figur iguree 8 and less muscle power than motions far from the axis; it is easier to lift the leg into a retiré (because one’s weight is closer to the axis) than to a seconde en l’air. Although, inevitably, counterbalancing is present every time a leg is lifted, in ballet it is disguised to a greater or lesser degree depending on the position. For example, in extensions to the back (arabesque) the pelvis is allowed to tilt forward, while in extension to the front or side, the body is expected to remain close to the vertical.

The arm holds its shape. The arm is internally perceived and outwardly seen as moving as a unit. Having arrived in 1st position, the hand begins to lead the motion outward (distal awareness). Of course, the upper arm is also moving, but it is led by the action of the hand. Using the hand to lead the action gives the motion its characteristic generosity; the dancer opens out to the audience and invites them in. pmd 46 9/16/2004, 9:19 AM Succession • 47 through the wrist into the hand and fingers, carrying the energy through to the fingertips, then, as the arm opens to 2nd position, the hand defines the path.

Newton’s Cradles (metal balls of the same size hung on a frame), which grace many desks, can effectively illustrate this concept: When the first ball on one side hits the ball next to it the impulse is carried through the adjoining balls to the last ball, which moves out to the same degree as the original ball. The balls are all aligned and the impulse passes through each center. However, if one of the middle balls is shifted, even slightly, out of alignment, it throws the whole sequence totally out of kilter.

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