Thursday, July 27, 2017

Just like Calculus

When I was a senior in high school I took Calculus as an elective. I basically failed every test. The teacher gave me a passing grade because, as she explained, she could tell from the tests that I was just a week or two behind the rest of the class. I guess she was right, because my college Calculus I class seemed easy and I had one of the highest grades in the class.

That's how I feel about the combinations we get at the end of ballet class. I'm generally too tired to absorb the sequence, but with repetition and time for it to sink in I figure it out. Unfortunately, by then we've generally moved on to something new.

Tuesday we were shown a new (to me) step: temps de flèche. It seems "flèche" is the French word for "arrow". The Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant defines it as:
Arrow movement. This step is so named because the first leg acts as a kind of bow and the second leg the arrow. There are several variations of this step. (1) From demi-plié in fifth position, the front leg (the bow) executes a grand battement a la quatrième devant and is then brought back to the knee (raccourci) with a spring into the air as the second leg (the arrow) does a quick développé through it. The dancer then alights in fondu on the first leg. (2) From a demi-plié in the fifth position, perform a grand battement with the front leg, then a second battement with the back leg before the first leg alights. The legs pass each other in the air. (3) From a demi-plié in the fifth position R foot back, execute an enveloppé with the R leg while springing into the air; as the pointed toe of the R foot comes in to the knee of the L leg, quickly raise the L knee and développé the L leg effacé devant while alighting on the R leg in fondu.
Whew! It's going to take some serious thought for me to even begin to translate these words into body movements, let alone match them up with the movements we were shown. I looked for YouTube videos showing this step and found very few, and most of those were long demonstration sequences that may have had that step buried in the middle somewhere.

Unfortunately I'm going to miss class Saturday, so it'll be a while before I get a chance to see it again.


  1. Hi Reece -- The only video I found of temps de flèche is at and I don't know if that variation is what you meant.

    1. We've attempted these in class on occasion, but this is not the step we did Tuesday. I've found a few other videos that include what may be the step we did Tuesday, but as I mention they're buried in the middle of a sequence.

      Thanks for looking!


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