Passé Relevé, olé!

Passé Relevé front and back is one of the exercises we do at the barre, usually in combo with pas de bourré.
It’s one of those moves that was super easy for The Adult Beginner while it was just a matter of getting the basic shape down but now it’s time to start exploring how to passé better instead of just passé-ing at all, and Woah.
So, basically, you’re standing with your legs turned out (duh), and then your standing leg pulls up to demi-point while the knee of your working leg points out to the side and folds so your pointed (duh) toe touches the front of your knee, then the back, and then closes in fifth in back. Then you go back-to-front, then front-to-back and on and on until the passé relevé music is done.
Easy.
Except that the pointed toe is really supposed to touch above the knee. And the heel of that foot must be turned forward.
Which was a mystery. How to get it up there? Pull harder with the hamstrings?
Or is there too much leg in the way?
Once while walking down a hallway in the dance department at school I overheard one tiny ballerina say to another, “Madame said I can’t do [something french] because this part is too big, it’s in the way.” Tried to whip my head around as quickly yet nonchalantly as possible to see the offending body part, but the girls had gone around a corner. Always wondered what it was. Maybe it was something thigh/calf related? Now preventing my leg from folding up?
Meanwhile my teacher is calling out, “Higher! Higher!” while we passé relevé so I reach my arm higher, hold my head higher, go higher on demi-point, try to get the working foot higher, everything higher, when suddenly the heavens open up and the angels sing and I realized he’s shouting at my knee!
Lazy knee was just hanging out in the air, wherever it felt like, letting hamstrings do all the work and foot take all the blame for not being high enough. But if I get my thigh and knee higher to start with, more better! And if I make sure to really place it out to the side, not just sort of side-ish, the my pointed foot is naturally more turned out.
Yes!
Thing is, I’m pretty sure people have been advising me to work the knee for months, but you know how it is with advice. Could be the best advice ever but its just going to sound dumb and annoying and you can’t be bothered until that moment when you’re suddenly ready for it, and it suddenly makes sense and suddenly all is clear.

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
This entry was posted in Technique and Class, the Body and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Passé Relevé, olé!

  1. See! Like the picture, but on demi pointe!

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