Grande Allegro

Jumping is a built in human ability. Jumping occurs naturally as a safety valve for excessively high character in children, as a natural expression of rhythm in most types of dancing or just as a self preservation reflex action. Jumping is so much a part of our natural lives, that as dancers this action needs to be cultivated correctly to make it presentable as choreography. It is often found that dancers who have the ability to do wonderfully high and broad leaps, often have a a highly developed sense of rhythm and this is the key to all unstrained and soaring leaps.

 I believe that not only good technique is required in a fantastic leap or jump but also temperament and joy. To leap across the floor is for a moment to defy gravity…it is a gift of emotion that lies in the dancer and cannot be taught, but can be helped by developing the muscles and teaching the dancer how to divide and use their energy. When leaping, a large number of muscles are brought into play and together these have a natural rhythm of their own which will respond to musical rhythm. For example an untrained child in ballet class when told to skip to music, will automatically try to jump higher as the tempo becomes slower. It is the responsibility of good training and technique to aid this automatic response by instructing the use of a solid plie. All the work in a jump should take place in the energetic push off of the plie before the jump and on leaving the floor. The rising of the body will pull the legs with it. Watch any animal spring and notice how grace in the air is achieved by the initial plie. Upon landing from a leap, the dancer should settle slowly like a bird landing, not hit the floor with a thump!

 The most eye catching springs are those with gaiety, the most dramatic are those with purpose. Dancers should think of their elevation as a means of creating special moods or effects rather than as individual steps. For in this way gravity can be defied more successfully. Many dancers dream they are flying or are suspended weightlessly and some dancers develop their dream in this category, to find themselves effortlessly executing tremendous jumps and leaps. Man’s natural desire is to conquer gravity, that desire has taken us to the moon. In ballet class, the grand allegro consists of combinations of large, leaping steps and jumps that extend across the floor.

 Ballet students must possess strength and endurance to properly perform grande allegro. It is the big exciting part of a ballet where all of the big fast steps are placed. In a ballet class, dancers will only do grande allegro work for a short period of time because it can be very tiring. Tour jetes, grande fouette en tournant and grande jetés are a big part of the grande allegro.

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