How to dance with attitude

9 Key Ideas to Help Dancers Master Attitude Turns

Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy of Pacific Northwest Ballet School

9 Key Ideas to Help Dancers Master Attitude Turns

Attitude turns have the potential for major wow factor—the position originated from sculptor Giambologna’s famous bronze statue of the Roman god Mercury, after all—but many dancers struggle with this kind of pirouette. It’s a tricky step, one that requires good placement, coordination and timing. Whether your students are learning this turn for the first time or working on doubles, it’s helpful to go back to basics and break down the mechanics.

How to Prepare

Try a creative barre stretch. “Find a barre, or even a table, that’s a good height, and put your leg up behind you,” says Stephanie Spassoff, artistic director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. “Totally square off, so you can feel the right position.” Spassoff suggests doing a series of pliés and relevés, lifting the leg off the barre on the way up and lowering it when the standing heel descends (see photo 1). “It’s a good way to strengthen your back and get yourself placed for the turn,” she says. Spassoff encourages students to lengthen their backs, too, doing counter-stretches like rounding or rolling through the small of the back (photo 2) to balance the stress of supporting the attitude position.

Photo 1, by Kaitlin Marino, courtesy of Princeton Ballet School

Photo 2, by Kaitlin Marino, courtesy of PBS

Use the action of the plié to get up on the supporting leg, says Nancy Crowley, faculty member at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Whether a dancer is turning en dehors or en dedans, the principles of the preparation are the same. “Make sure the dancer can keep the weight over the supporting leg in the entire turn,” says Crowley. To encourage this, she tells students to lengthen the standing side and spiral up through the torso.

Turn out in order to turn well. “When dancers relevé into an attitude pirouette en dedans, the supporting heel should initiate the turn,” says Spassoff. “The heel pulls the inside of the upper thigh, so the entire leg is rotating, and the attitude toe is reaching for the opposite shoulder.”

Focus on Placement

Align the center of the lower back over the ball of the foot (photo 3) in an attitude turn, unlike basic pirouettes in passé, which require the head to be aligned over the torso and supporting leg. “Students tend to pull their head and torso back to get over their supporting foot in an attitude, which distorts the position,” says Janet Parke, director of Ballet Memphis School. “Students should learn how to balance in attitude, preparing from a lunge or fourth position.” Parke suggests doing just quarter- and half-turns in attitude, trying to finish in a balance on relevé. “They shouldn’t worry about the force of the turn but instead about establishing a balance over the base of support,” she says.

Photo 3, by Kaitlin Marino, courtesy of PBS

Maintain placement and strength on the supporting side, advises Crowley. As they relevé into the turn, dancers might push their bodies around and pull off their standing leg. But this approach negatively affects placement: The torso tends to tip forward, the hips slip back and the supporting leg loses rotation. She recommends using an adagio promenade, en dehors and en dedans, to help students stand properly on one leg and understand a slow rotation. “Use it as a study for attitude pirouette,” she says.

Don’t let the knee get too high in attitude—it can make the position less attractive. “The working hip should not be up, because it can destroy the line,” says Spassoff. “The knee should be behind the body as much as possible, with the toe reaching for the opposite shoulder. If it doesn’t have that tightness, dancers get that position we call ‘dog at the fire hydrant. '” Coming out of the turn, students should continue to lift on the supporting side and bring their hips to a neutral position as soon as possible.

Coordinate the Arms and Legs

Don’t relevé first and turn second. Coordinate the rotation of the torso with the relevé action of the standing leg. “It’s about being organized and over the supporting side, and having the strength to stay on that leg for the full rotation,” says Crowley. The arms should also arrive with the relevé and maintain classical academic shapes. “If the arms look sloppy, it’s because they’re not related to the center line of the torso and where the center line moves during the turn,” she says.

Don’t start from a static position. “All turns need some initiation in the core of your body,” says Parke. “Dancers should start with a coil of the spine, and it should be so tiny that it isn’t visible to the naked eye or distorting the preparatory position.”

FOR THE KIDS : Learning to Dance With Dose of Attitude

Dance instructor Diana Lehan is demonstrating some hip-hop moves to a class of kids. Clicking on a rap tape, she jumps, punches the air, jerks her shoulders and stomps her feet with rhythmic force.

Then the class tries it. They do the steps with perky grace.

“That was so pretty,” Lehan says, exaggerating the “so” for emphasis. “Do I want pretty? NOOO!”

Lehan, who wears clunky black boots over her dance tights, teaches hip-hop dancing to kids through the parks and recreation departments of Ventura and Camarillo.

Hip-hop is more than just a dance. It’s a whole culture that started with the gritty rap music of black urban youth in the 1980s. Since then, it’s gone mainstream. Flick on MTV, and there it is.

Lehan calls hip-hop dancing “a lot of hopping and jumping with an attitude.” And what’s the attitude? “Cool, aggressive, hey I’m important, hey look at me.”

It started in the street with break dancing, said Lehan, who isn’t what you’d expect in a hip-hop teacher. She has grown children. With formal ballet training, she has had a long career as a professional dancer and choreographer.

But her heart is now in hip-hop. She takes several hip-hop classes a week in the Los Angeles area. One of her teachers is a street dancer who has never taken a formal dance lesson.

“I try and go as close to the source as I can,” she says. Kids like hip-hop, she says, because they don’t need formal dance training to pick up the moves quickly. They can dance alone or with a partner.

She usually has a dozen or so students in her Ventura classes. On this day there are five girls, the youngest is 9-year-old Tawny Main of Ventura. Her mother is watching at the back of the room.

Tawny, a Michael Jackson fan, likes to stand in front of the television and imitate the hip-hop moves she sees on MTV. “She used to just wiggle around,” says her mother, Kathleen Main. Now, after a few classes from Lehan, “she’s more organized.”

Colleen McConville, 12, took up hip-hop after a broken arm sidelined her from gymnastics. Her mother, Barbara McConville, suggested ballet and jazz. Colleen wanted hip-hop.

“I’m not real fond of rap music,” her mother said. “But it’s a good form of exercise.”

By now Lehan has the class sweating. They’ve practiced steps like the “running man,” the “smurf,” and one she calls the “Fred Astaire.” Then she has them work on portions of a dance routine.

“That’s too gentle,” she advises them. “That’s like an aerobics class. I want to hear those feet.”

In hip-hop, clothes are important. “Real hip-hoppers wear boots, like combat boots, or high tennis shoes,” she says later. “Clothing is loose.” Hip-hop is not sensual, like jazz, she explains. It’s asexual.

Most hip-hop dancing is done to rap music. In her class, Lehan uses fairly mainstream rappers like M. C. Hammer, Arrested Development, Kris Kross, Queen Latifah, Icy Blu and Kool Moe Dee. She screens “every single word,” avoiding music that advocates violence or is too sexually explicit for kids.

Darlene Zugnoni, who teaches hip-hop dancing to kids through the Rancho Simi Park and Recreation Department, takes it a step further; she lets parents hear the rap music and decide what is not appropriate.

“There are certain songs I won’t play or buy if it’s to be used in the class,” said Zugnoni, who also takes hip-hop and jazz classes several times a week in Los Angeles.

In her classes, she teaches the steps and then strings them into a routine that the kids eventually show parents. Sometimes she has boys in the class. They seem to like the strong, down-to-earth style of hip-hop. How does Zugnoni describe the attitude thing?

“It shows you have confidence,” she said.


Here’s where you can find hip-hop classes.

* Ventura Recreation and Park Department, on Mondays, June 28 through Aug. 23, 5 to 6 p.m., for ages 9 and older; cost $36. For information, 658-4726.

* Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District in Camarillo, on Thursdays, June 17 through July 22, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., for ages 6 and older; cost $29. For information, 482-1996.

* Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, on Wednesdays, June 30 through Aug. 11, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. , for ages 8 through 13; cost $35. For information, 584-4400.

* Young Olympians offers classes through the Boys & Girls Clubs in Ventura, Moorpark and Simi Valley, as well as other locations in the county. For information, 642-6098.

90,000 Dancing for breakfast, dancing for lunch... What good is this dancing for us? | Beauty and health

Of course, you will not argue that dancing is always a pleasure. The movement of the body to the music uplifts the mood. Why? Because it, our body, is designed to move. This is his natural state, like breathing. Movement gives us extra energy. That's why we, when dancing, feel in a state close to euphoria: a smile in our mouths, our eyes sparkle, our arms and legs are in free flight. Doctors would tell you that this happens because movement causes an active release of endorphins into the blood, those small particles that are responsible for our good mood. May be. Let's not argue.

Dancing is a real way to cheer yourself up to the maximum. It can help jump out of depression and wake us up for an active life. What does it mean to be in a good mood? It means not having problems. Trust me, it's all connected. A person in a good mood looks at the world with cheerful eyes and perceives everything through the prism of joy.

Don't believe that dance contributes to such a state? Check it out! Turn on the music right now and start moving. Without listening to the words, give your body the opportunity to choose the movements itself. This is called free plastic. It doesn't need to be learned. Everyone can do it, it’s just that we are so afraid of seeming ridiculous that we imitate someone all the time, even in dance. But each of us has our own natural plasticity and it is beautiful.

So, turn on the music and move your arms and legs. For good health, the execution of complex elements is not at all necessary. The most important thing is to move to music that gives you pleasure. Start dancing right in the morning. I do it exactly like this. Therefore, the whole day in a good mood. One piece of advice - don't listen to sad love songs in the morning, let alone dance to them. This is a great way to put yourself in a pessimistic mood for the whole day, even if everything is in perfect order in your personal life. Our subconscious loves to record negative emotions on the subcortex more than positive ones.

But if negative emotions do appear, try to get rid of them in the most pleasant way — “dance” them. There is even a special system for this, the name of which is dance therapy. Its essence is as follows: you focus, for example, on resentment; then choose the music that you think suits it; and then you start dancing your resentment, throwing it into space, using various body movements. Soon, instead of your resentment, a pleasant emptiness will remain, and your mood will certainly improve, because the body will be filled with energy. And a large amount of energy is our health.

If you want to be healthy, dance a lot, until you drop, but don't forget that dancing should be fun. Don't make it a duty, don't let it lose its original charm.

At the dawn of our universe, when there were no words yet, people expressed their thoughts and feelings with the help of movement. They performed ritual dances to appease nature and the gods. Then the dance had a magical meaning. Do you think he lost it these days? Not at all! Remember how many different emotions dancing evokes in you: sparkling tango, gentle waltz, captivating belly dance, incendiary flamenco, bright salsa. Since these dances capture your emotions, then by dancing them, you get the opportunity to influence the emotions of other people. Isn't it magic? And where there is at least some magical element, miracles happen. There are even special classes where, with the help of simple dances, the most cherished desires are fulfilled and goals that were previously considered unattainable are achieved.

But what to do if you were not sent to a dance studio as a child, but in your youth you were passionate about weaving baubles or something else? Do not despair! It's never too late to start dancing. Get started right now by reading this article. And you will definitely understand and feel what a pleasure it is to dance, your own dance!

Tags: exercise stress, pleasure, mood, dancing

How to create a good mood: learning to dance

Teach me to dance,
Flow in the rhythm of smooth movements,
Splash yourself in a whirlwind of sounds,
Dissolve… and merge with the music

Remember the time when every evening was filled with anticipation of meeting friends, anticipation of new acquaintances and dashing dances to downhole music. It was a youth that cannot be returned. So many people think so. But maybe this is wrong. Of course, age cannot be reversed. But why not try to revive that state of mind and the endless thirst for adventure and interesting events.

Where were you going then? That's right, dancing. It was a holiday, an explosion of emotions. So who prevents mature men and women from plunging into this atmosphere again, getting rid of complexes and feeling the joy of what is happening?

The home version will not work, because all this will get boring too quickly. When there is no incentive, no exercise will be effective. Yes, and excuses will often arise - there is no time, mood, place. The best way to solve the problem is a dance school for adults, where you can enroll at any time.

What will dance bring to life?

– Feeling of a holiday;

- Harmony in relationships, because you can go learn to dance with your soul mate and revive muted feelings;

- Self-confidence and increased self-esteem;

- New acquaintances;

- Necessary physical activity.

Am I too old for this?

The age-old problem of maintaining appearances, a kind of ostentatious balance of age and hobbies. Don't be afraid to look funny or ridiculous. It's only scary for the first five minutes. Then the energy of the dance will be so captivating that you will forget about these little things.

After all, each of us is no more than 20 in our souls, so we shouldn't set up internal barriers and prohibitions to spiritual impulses.

What friends will say

Approval of our actions is important to us. But this rule is valid until you are imbued with music and the energy of movement. After a while consciousness will rise in opposition. You will want to defend your interests and hobbies in front of everyone and from everyone. You may have to be surprised when friends ask you to tell more about classes and timidly offer to go together for the next one. Positive emotions are in short supply.

Life is constantly changing, you need to be able to match it, and not stand in one place. New impressions help to find the meaning of existence, turn it into a holiday, fill it with joy, fire, happy moments. A person who is in harmony with himself is not afraid of any cataclysms and stresses. He will cope with all this, he has enough internal strength.

One must use every opportunity for self-improvement, development and getting positive impressions, then there will be no time for boredom, envy, quarrels and melancholy. Dancing, music, sports are activities that are not subject to age. Just vary the load and correctly distribute the forces over the distance.

Youth is not the limit, but only the starting point for further achievements.

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