Ballet jumps are the exciting part of ballet. They never fail to amaze the audience in performances. Even if you are not a natural jumper, you can learn to improve your leaps with my secret tips!
I have handfuls of young dancers asking: How can I improve my jumps? How can I make my split gand jete? Let me tell you, it is possible to enhance your jumps and it won't stop you from becoming a great dancer.
Ballet Jumps always take place at the end of your ballet class.
It can be tough after a long class to have the stamina to jump at the end.
However, this is the key place to build strength and you have to find the inner power push through it. You must not give up!
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Some dancers are gifted with a natural jump and 'ballon'. They spring off the floor with no effort at all and hold such power through their leaps.
Other dancers are more gifted in other areas and have to work harder to maintain their ballet jumps.
I was never a natural jumper. It wasn't my strength and always something I had to work hard at.
The fast action jumps, like petite allegro, was a challenge for me and although it improved with practice and knowledge, I also learnt how to 'fake' the spring in my jump with certain techniques.
To start with, it's crucial to have good co ordination for jumps. You want to be able to coordinate your arms with your legs so that they move together. This will help the power of the jump and the speed at which you move.
Next, you have to move your body and move your hips. Especially your hips, as they have the most power so you have to really bolt across the stage with no fear.
Grand allegro is the big jumps in ballet. Your class will work towards travelling across the space and leaping through the air. You need to use a deeper plie for grand allegro, because you need more power in your legs to both jump up and along through the air.
Grand jetés are a signature movement in ballet and are a huge part of grand allegro. It takes energy and dynamic to split the legs and make a perfect position in the air.
Remember, your plie is crucial to every single jump, for both the landing and the take off. Without your plie you simply can not jump, but more importantly, without the right use of the plie you won't be give full value to each jump.
You need to use the right action in your legs for different jumps. For example, in fast beats, like entrechat quatre and royale, you have to action your muscles very quickly and use a small, fast plie.
No matter whether you have a natural jump or not, it can be improved if you know how. It is when you are feeling tired and unable to push your muscles that you have to find that last bit of energy to really give it your all in every jump.
You may also want to look at cross training to build the stamina and improve the muscle power in your legs.
It sounds simple, but always think "up" when you're jumping. You must concentrate on the up of movement and not the down. Be confident when you're jumping and don't hold back, you must own the stage! Move your body, dance and enjoy the freedom of moving.
Click here to have a look at even more advice on ballet jumps to other young dancers:Improving Leaps