Hey there dancers! I hope you all are doing wonderful on this awesome Friday! Today we are going to talk about battements! Ballet battements, jazz battements, straight supporting leg battements, bent supporting battements, front, side and back battements! You name it, we’re talking about it! We’re also going to look at some stretches that you can do to improve your battements, as well as some tips to help get them nice and sky high! Let’s jump right into it!
“Best Stretched For Battements”
Let’s start with one of the most essential elements used in battements and that is flexibility! The main part of your body where we want to focus on building flexibility for battements are your hip flexors and your hamstrings. Below are some stretches that you can do to help get those battements nice and high! The star to always warm up with some light cardio before stretching to prevent injury.
- Standing Toe Touch: Hold this stretch on each leg for about 10 -15 seconds.
- Butterfly Stretch: Hold this stretch for about 20 seconds.
- Sitting Toe Touch: Hold this stretch for 20 seconds.
- Runner’s Lunge: Hold this stretch on each leg for about 15-20 seconds.
- Straddle Stretch: Stretch towards each leg for about 8-10 seconds.
- Jazz Split: With one leg bent behind you, extend your right leg forward and stretch toward it. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat to the other side.
- Splits: If you already have your right and left split, hold this stretch for 10 seconds on each side.
“Tips For Better Battements”
The first and most beneficial tip for a strong, high and powerful battement is to use the floor. Whether you’re doing a ballet battement or a jazz battement, it’s important to not just pick your foot up off the floor and “kick”. Instead, really push your foot through, dragging it across the floor until it is finally off the ground and up into a kick. This motion allows you to muster up the power that you’ll need to achieve not only a STRONG battement but a HIGH battement as well!
The second tip is to lift your leg using your HAMSTRINGS (the back of your thigh) rather than lifting with your QUADS (the front of your thigh). Your hamstrings are naturally more flexible than your quads, which is why we use these muscles to obtain more height and the reason why we focus on stretches for our hamstrings to aid in improvement. So, the next time you execute a battement, focus on pushing your leg forward from the back instead of simply lifting it from the front. This combined with the power you will conjure up by using the floor will give you a battement with even greater height.
Now, let’s change directions (literally and figuratively) with battements to the side and back. Side battements are executed at their best by really using your turnout. This allows your hips to be fully opened, which will give you great height! For back battements used in any genre of dance, focus on keeping the supporting leg straight and really use the hamstrings in the back of the supporting leg. This will subtly push your hips back and give you a nice kick. Increasing your back flexibility along with lifting and opening your chest will also aid in giving you a higher back battement as well.
This brings us to our final tip which is exactly how to use your supporting leg during battements. The way you’re required to use your supporting leg all depends on what kind of technique that is being used for the style of dance you are doing. If you are doing a ballet battement, your supporting leg must always be straight. However, keeping your supporting leg straight can be one of the more difficult things to master because sometimes we can be so focused on getting our working leg high in the air that we forget all about the supporting leg and that can get just a little sloppy. So next time you do a battement in your ballet class, try putting your focus on your supporting leg versus your working leg and evenly distributing your body weight between both legs so that you don’t sink into your lower body. By putting your focus on your supporting leg, you will free up your working leg, which will also result in a higher battement with a nice straight supporting leg! If you are doing a jazz battement, you have the luxury of being able bend your supporting leg during your kick! A big tip for this type of battement is to make sure when you step forward into your prep, really step into a good, deep plie. This, along with gaining power from the floor, will give you crazy momentum to really get your leg up there!
And that concludes our battement segment, everyone! I hope this post, along with all of others that you have read here, help you in your journey to becoming a better and stronger dancer! Thank you all so much for choosing From the Top as another source of learning this wonderful art that we call dance. As always, I wish you all the best and I will see you next week for another post!