Alvin Ailey Dancer
Ballet Exercises - Ballet Jumps
I have seen so many pictures of young dancers doing 180 degree grand jete's and split jumps, but how do they do them? Also, what can I do to get my leg higher in my extensions? For example, the Alvin Ailey pictures are amazing because the dancers are jumping into splits etc.
I would really work hard to achieve these beautiful jumps if I knew how to improve.
Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises - Ballet Jumps
Thank you for your message, I love the pictures too. Firstly, I have a dedicated page to ballet jumps so you must take a look to get more advice, but I will also do my best to help you now.
The jumps in those pictures take power and strength, as well as a lot of practice. I'm sure the dancers here are professionals, so don't forget they are older and more physically developed to have that extra power in their muscles to jump high and reach those positions.
As you say though, I have also seen younger dancers who are able to do impressive jumps and split jumps. If you don't have this sense of elevation naturally, which I would say I did not, you can work to improve these virtuoso jumps.
Firstly, you always have to push yourself much more than you think and force yourself to go beyond your comfort zone. When you are practicing these jumps, you must push your muscles to make the split and leap higher. Even though it may not be where you want it to be, if you keep pushing each time it will gradually get better. It won't improve in an instant flash, but if you never push your body it will struggle more to get there.
In a split jump, it is about jumping but also power and momentum. The quicker you can split your legs, the more time you will have to make the split. So, you have to approach these type of jumps with attack and power almost like in jazz dance.
Don't forget how important your preparation is into the jump. Use your plié and your muscles to power you in the air.
Keep stretching in the basic position of the splits too, because I find the more flexible I am in this position the easier it is to sometimes make the splits in the air.
For your extensions, make sure you challenge yourself when your stretching with ones like shouldering your leg in a la seconde and derrière. Also, place your leg on the barre and stretch in the positions front, side, back to feel your extensions with the help of the barre.
Let me know if this is any help to you, I hope so!
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