The high-flying leaps of grand allegro are meant to be incredibly exciting. But at the end of an intense ballet class, when you're exhausted, it can be hard to give them the attention they deserve. Want to pump up your big jumps? Follow these 10 vital tips from Jennifer Hart, curriculum director and instructor at Ballet Austin.
Getting ready for grand allegro should begin at the barre. "Pay attention when performing quick tendus, battement jetés, and grand battements, because all those exercises prepare you for grand allegro," Hart says.
Plié, Plié, Plié
This goes without saying, but your plié is so important. "A plié must rebound," Hart says. "If it dies at the bottom, it kills the jump."
Use Your Toes
"Don't forget to engage the whole foot, including toes," Hart says. "There are a lot of small muscles on the bottom of the feet that can facilitate jumps."
Keep Your Chin
Raising your chin and eyes will help keep you airborne mid-jump. "Don't look down, because that pulls you down," Hart says.
Control Your Arms
"Make sure to coordinate your arms with your legs," Hart says. "If you initiate a jump with the arms, the whole body will be in balance. Then, when landing, let the arms float just slightly after the legs," to create the illusion of more ballon.
Engage Your Back
Your back can help you build momentum into a jump. "Use your back to propel you forward," Hart says.
To improve the height of your jumps, "syncopate the transitional steps," Hart says. "For example, the précipité before a big jump should be quick so that the plié and push off are energized," which will give you more air time.
It's Not All About the Legs
Because grand allegro involves many jumps, you may be tempted to focus all your attention on your legs. But the whole body needs to be activated. "Don't do a jump solely with the legs!" Hart explains. "Using the core helps elevation. My old teacher used to talk about imagining yourself in a baby jumper, thinking of your core lifting you into the air."
Just Add Energy
Obviously, energy is a grand allegro essential. "Slow legs won't get you off the floor," Hart says.
Use Your Imagination
If you can picture it, you can slay it! "Sometimes just imagining yourself hovering in the air can help a jump," Hart says.