The Balanchine Method and the long limbs  

by Sunday, November 29, 2015

I don’t want people who want to dance. I want people who have to dance.

Is a ballet technique and training system devised by the Russian dancer and choreographer George Balanchine, used at the New York City Ballet. Extreme speed, very deep pliè, unconventional arms and hands, and emphasis on lines, especially in decale. En-dehors pirouettes are taken from a 4th position (legs) with straightened back leg and extended front arm. Distinctive arabesque, with the dancer’s hip opened towards the audience while the side arm is pressed back, using a spiral to create the illusion of a longer, higher arabesque line. The illusion of the Balanchine Method is that dancers are utilizing more space in less time: speed, height, length and a syncopated musicality.For Balanchine, movement had to be open (arms wider, everything stretching) as to maximise the space. He was fond of deep lines, sharp positions and strong technique in the petit allegro (combinations of small jumps and quick steps). This is why he favoured dancers with long limbs, slim bodies, great flexibility, turnout and (hyper)-extended legs, all this at a time when these aesthetical/physical values had not yet reached the mainstream in classical dance… more in the Newsletter…

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