In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
What's the secret to the "flutter" in beaten jumps, like entrechat sixes? I can't get mine to look right.
Many dancers struggle with this issue! The "flutter" starts at the barre. Make sure you're really "slicing" your dégagés to the side—straight out, straight in—because that scissoring motion is exactly what you want in beaten jumps. If that motion includes even a hint of a rond de jambe, it'll slow your beats down (translation: no flutter).
Work on your inner-thigh strength, too, since engaging those muscles as you jump will improve the speed and clarity of your beats. Lie on your side with your legs extended, cross your top leg over your bottom leg, and put the foot of that top leg flat on the floor. Lift, lower, and circle the bottom leg, feeling the inner thighs engage; repeat on the other side.
A little imagery might also come in handy. Rather than thinking about your ankles crossing as you beat, focus on crossing your thighs immediately. That will give your lower legs a millisecond of extra time to squeeze in that last beat.
For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.