Forum: General

Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By MarisaK
On Fri Jul 08, 2011 05:49 PM

I was always taught that in chaine turns your feet are supposed to stay the same distnce apart the whole time. (about shoulder width) instead of a big open close where you turn with your feet right next to each other.

I have had many students lately coming in for private lessons who are saying they were always taught to step open and then when they close their arms they bring their feet all the way together as they turn (like a parallel 1st). Do any of you teach it this way? Is one right and one wrong or are they both right? I am starting to doubt myself, but I was always taught to keep legs close but never together and they stay the same distance the whole time.


10 Replies to Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet

re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By tutujazzy
On Fri Jul 08, 2011 06:10 PM
I teach as you do. I have seen many teach it more as a soutenu. . . .

here is a link that I found that might help. :)
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By NDow
On Fri Jul 08, 2011 06:57 PM
I teach Beginners the open second facing front, with arms open (second position), then close sixth facing back, with arms in middle fifth. Then the lead arm and leg swing open simultaneously, to turn you around to second facing front again. I find this the most efficient way to teach them the coordination of the feet, arms and spotting. It will help later with other types of turns, too.

When they have mastered this, I have them use a smaller second. Then we try it on releve, with "Barbie Doll legs;" i.e. there is no bending at the knees. Later we move to an even smaller position, and we go faster. Then the arms are staying in middle fifth, with no opening and closing.

Looking at that ABT Glossary clip of Amanda McKerrow doing chaines, the first couple are slower and wider. When she gets them going, you can see that the feet do not stay in even first; the lead leg opens to first, but the other leg comes around it in fifth to face back. That's what my more advanced girls do (most of them don't look quite as good as Amanda, however).
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet (karma: 2)
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Fri Jul 08, 2011 07:56 PM
I have them doing gingerbread men, going towards the mirror. They have to step a few feet lengths towards the mirror with each turn.

For the first stage, the gingerbread men go very slowly. Half turn. Hold. Half turn. Hold. Then, as they get comfortable with the position, legs, arms, and direction of turn, then I tell them to make their steps a LITTLE smaller and go a LITTLE faster. Half-Turn-Hold-Half-Turn-Hold (almost like a triplet...half-turn-hold, half-turn-hold). Then I tell them to take out the hold and go half-tun-half-turn-half-turn-half-turn. From there it's just ease of movement and slowly working up to the continuous turning sensation, which is much easier once they have all that in their body.
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By DanceRevOSPremium member
On Fri Jul 08, 2011 09:02 PM
when they are younger we teach them right foot left foot pivoting on the balls of their feet...and open close with the arms. when they are older i teach them to not step any wider than their hips so that when they spin faster their feet stay underneath them. i used to teach open and close method but i stopped doing that. i'm curious how everyone else does this too :)
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By Triskitmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:36 PM
I teach them with hands on the shoulders, elbows lifted. Each step is a 1/2 turn and I stress a high releve and keeping the feet fairly close together. No wide 2nd positions. But slightly wider then 1st position releve.

We go slow and make sure they are also using the head with each step and build up the tempo as they get stronger. Eventually when they are able to turn quite well I have them hold the arms 5th en avant.

I only have my students open the arms 2nd on the initial preparation, once they begin to turn and close the arms, they remain closed until they are finished turning at which point they would chasse into a final position etc.

Chaines on pointe are different because you can pull the feet closer together and the pivot surface is so much smaller, it makes it easier to turn with less force. For dancers en pointe I like a very tight foot/leg position, working for 1st but it can become more of a 5th position. It's always turned out though, never parallel.
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By StudioSally
On Sat Jul 09, 2011 01:21 AM
I teach them as you do, and was always taught that same way.
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By contemp_is_rad
On Sat Jul 09, 2011 05:00 AM
Huh... that's funny - I was taught to do chaine turns in first position, rather than shoulder width! *mind blown*
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By danzlover
On Sat Jul 09, 2011 05:54 AM
I was taught and teach, open then close together but do not cross (soutenu). Once that is mastered students can do faster, non closing turns.
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By ozriella
On Sat Jul 09, 2011 06:51 AM
I don't teach the open close thing. For me, I like my kids to keep their feet in turned out first and the arms in first the entire time, after the initial prep.

To teach them to beginners, I always teach them at the barre with half turns traveling down the length of the barre. After we do them at the barrre for awhile, then we do them across the floor with hands on hips, then add the arms.
re: Chaine turns- how you teach, esp. feet
By ballet_arlingtonPremium member
On Sat Jul 09, 2011 07:03 AM
Legs as close as possible with turned out feet ( like fifth position). Arms at first position all the time.


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