In the Vaganova or Russian method of training, there is an unwritten rule with a few exceptions; never to dance with the body de face, in front, full face, facing the audience, Epaulement (shading) is used and your head is always turned in the direction of the foreword shoulder.
However in the Cecchetti method, there are several “rules”….
- When you are traveling forward on alternate feet you incline you head slightly toward the shoulder corresponding to the foot that is forward.
- When traveling backward on alternate feet you should incline your head slightly toward the shoulder opposite to the foot that makes the step backwards.
- In some steps traveled forward when epaulement is used your head is not inclined but instead your head is slightly turned toward the forward shoulder.
Epaulement is the movement of the torso from the waist up. bringing one shoulder forward and the other back with the head turned or inclined over the other shoulder
- When you are facing front and you are executing a ronds de jambe a terre en dehors the head is inclined to the side opposite to the foot that makes the movement
- When you are facing front and you executing a ronds de jambe a terre endans the head is inclined to the same side as the foot that makes the movement.
- When you are facing front and .you are turn your body away from the audience, to the right or left the head inclines toward the side to which you are turning. Like in a series of echappes to the second position.
- In turning movements such as pirouettes, the head is the last part of your body to leave the front of the room as your body turns and the first to arrive as your body completes the turn. See spotting below.
There are five principal head positions in the Cecchetti method
- Head erect
- Head inclined to one side or the other.
- Head turned to one side or the other
- Head raised
- Head lowered.
Spotting is the term given to the movement of your head in pirouettes, chaines, fouette ronds de jambe en tournant and so on. In these turns, you chose a spot in front or to the direction you are traveling and as the turn is made away from the spot the head is the last to leave and the first to arrive as your body completes the turn. This quick movement or snap of your head gives the impression that your face is always turned forward and most importantly, prevents you from becoming dizzy.
Remember, using your head correctly, in choreography completes the picture you are working to present…..