Forum: General

Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By klw103185
On Fri Dec 09, 2011 09:07 AM

Hi Dance World!! I am in need of some tips and tricks for a la seconde turns. I coach a high school dance team, and in the dance team world you can see all dancers on the floor. Here's my issues with our a la seconde turns...

Legs are very low... almost at a 45 degee instead of 90. Does anyone have tips on how to get them higher? I have tried sitting next to them so they are turning with their leg over my head, it works for a few days and then they lose it. I need it to stick.

They don't connect their passe and they are turning on a flat foot for the double pirouette out. I am a broken record here in telling them. Anyone have ways to get them to remember to do these things when they are dancing to the music? Or are their tricks to get them to do it?

Thanks for your help!

8 Replies to Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns

re: Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member
On Fri Dec 09, 2011 09:17 AM
You have to (have to have to) break it down into smaller units. You have to work on the individual elements and not just the turns themselves. Do they fail to connect their passe in regular pirouettes? Do they turn on flat feet in regular pirouettes? When they do developes are they low?

The problem here is that they have a "Muscle memory" of doing the step wrong. THey know they have stuff to fix, but now that they have a "feeling of how it is supposed to feel" they are probably afriad to mess with that and try something that changes that feeling. It's kind of a subconscious version of "Well, I'm getting around right now, and I don't want to do anything that infringes on that."

So, slow down, back up, and work on pirouettes and balances focusing on the importance of each releve and plie.

As for the active leg: you have to determine WHY they are low before you can figure out HOW to get them higher. Are the students lifting from their hips to get to 90, thus making them less able to balance when they try to do it in their turn? DO they have the flexibility to do 90? Do they have the strength to hold 90 when they aren't turning.

Once you figure out the problem, and devise a solution, you have to practice that good one into the ground in order to "overwrite" what they have in their muscle memory.
re: Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By klw103185
On Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:17 AM
Their technique is good when they are just doing pirouettes. It's not perfect by any means, but they are connecting their passe and they aren't flat footed, so I know they can do it.

As for the leg, we do developes at the beginning of practice and they all hold them at 90 and flexibility is not the issue. So maybe it is they are lifting from their hip. How do you suggest correcting that?

The hard part is... our season is less than 4 months. So we have 4 months to learn 2 dances are perfect them, we don't have a lot of time to spend on technique. I know it is needed, just not enough time. That's what we all say, right? :)
re: Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By Mandance
On Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:55 AM
I feel you, I coach a High School Dance team too. The turns in seconde are almost a requirement when you go to a dance team competition and the season is too short to try to teach proper technique and learn the amount of dances you need for competitions and for games. We went to UDA camp this year and that seemed to help. I don't know if there is a magic trick to the turns, sounds like you are drilling the right things, they just need to make the changes. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Maybe have only the students that can really do them, do them and have the others doing something else. That's what I did in my competition routine to keep it clean.
re: Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By mikeandmegs
On Fri Dec 09, 2011 01:30 PM
An exercise that seems to help those who have the strength to hold the leg at 90 but can't seem to do it during the turn is to have them go to the barre and practice plie' and releve' in a la seconde. Have them focus on holding the leg in second with the supporting leg by lifting up out of that hip. Also make sure that they are actively lifting the working leg up when they plie'.

As a ballet teacher it is so good to hear about a drill team coach teaching correct technique. In my neck of the woods people like you are few and far between :)
re: Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By GetRhythmmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Dec 09, 2011 02:00 PM
It sounds to me like a *strength* issue. A la seconde turns are not hard because you need to be flexible, they're hard because you have to have the strength to hold your leg in position. Fondu and ron de jambe en l'air might be just the trick to build strength in their thighs.
re: Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By Dream_chaserPremium member
On Fri Dec 09, 2011 09:18 PM
Do the leg positions, at the barre, over and over, until they get it (or hate you, lol.

I do not even do it as a turn, until they can do all of the elements at the barre, with the plié and relevé and arm.

Then take it to center and do it all, without turning.

Then, have them do the turn only in retiré (not passé because that would mean passing the leg, retiré is holding the position), instead of in second, concentrating on staying with the foot firmly connected to the knee and using the arm and head action.

Then, have them do it in 2nd. If they cannot maintain, back to square one. Try it with only two revolutions, to start, then three, then four and so on.

Lots of developpé, relevé lent and rond de jambe en l'air, too.
re: Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By EllyneB
On Sat Dec 10, 2011 07:03 AM
If they are connecting in pirouettes, but they are not connecting coming out of their turns a la seconde, then it's likely they do not have the strength and control to fight the momentum of the turn and bring their leg in. It takes a great deal of core strength and control. Ditto for holding their legs too low.

The previous poster was right: they have rehearsed a pattern of movement that has become ingrained in their bodies. Unlearning is always harder than learning correctly to begin with. They need to stop doing this and go back to square one.

Take the exercises mentioned by previous posters, start with floor barre, move it to standing at the barre, standing at the center, then finally turning. Four months is enough time that you should start to see a bit of improvement if you take them back to basics and work diligently and consistently to give them the tools they need. If they just keep practicing poorly, though, they will just learn to turn poorly. Four months from
now, they still won't be able to do this, and you will be banging your head against the wall in frustration.

Good luck!
re: Tips and Tricks to Improve A LA SECONDE Turns
By klw103185
On Tue Dec 13, 2011 01:11 PM
Thank you everyone for your posts! I will try going back to the basics tonight.


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