Hello my lovely From The Top Family and welcome back to another chat here on the blog! Today we are talking about the classic, the staple, the scary? Petit Allegro! Done in literally every ballet class everywhere, petit allegro is a sequence of small, quick jumps done in center. However, the truth is, petit allegro can present quite the challenge sometimes. It’s fast paced, extremely precise and very intricate. So how do you conquer it, you may ask? Well you’ve come to the right place! Grab a snack and get cozy, because we are about to share five tips that will help make the process of mastering petit allegro that much easier. Let’s go!
- Pay Extra Attention & Dissect
As we mentioned in the introduction above, petit allegro is fast paced and intricate, which in and of itself can be intimidating. My visual learners can definitely attest to this first tip and that is to really pay extra attention to the petit allegro demonstrations during class. Sometimes listening and marking isn’t always enough, even if you are a verbal learner and especially if you are on the journey of bettering your technique in areas such as this one. As I was in the process of bettering my execution of petit allegro, I found that really keying in and watching the feet of my instructor helped me better in areas such as picking up the sequence of each jump and remembering exactly which jump to do next. Sure, we know the names of each jump in petit allegro such as changement, assemble and scissone. However, going the extra step of not just relying on vocabulary knowledge to get us through petit allegro, but rather dissecting each step piece by piece, we’ll begin to gain the skill set of picking up petit allegro combos much quicker. Side note: If you are having trouble breaking down the combo and feel as though your teacher is going just a tad bit fast in explanation, don’t be ashamed to ask questions! It’s much better to be sure footed and give yourself a chance to do the combo correctly than to suffer in silence. Besides, a lot of teachers actually appreciate that quality in students. I know I do. (:
- Use That Plie
Now this, this is one of the holy grail tips of petit allegro! By executing each jump from a nice plie you will single handedly take care of two key points:
- Getting the height you require to execute each jump, and
- Having enough time and space to Point. Those. Feet!
Just because petit allegro is, well petit, that doesn’t mean a nice plie is not necessary. At the core of it all, a jump is a jump, big or small. And in order to execute that jump easily, accurately and safely, we must begin and end with a plie. Plies also give you enough momentum and time to get off of the ground and point your feet. Both of ‘em. I must admit, as long as I have been dancing, this is still an area that I have to be sure I focus on when doing petit allegro because my following foot will go floppy in a New York minute. A part of what makes for a good petit allegro is nice pointed feet as it makes the whole combo look as clean as it should be. So, just take a page out of my book and during petit allegro, say to yourself: No club feet.
3. Engage Your Core (per usual)
In ballet, a core that isn’t engaged is like a city without walls. When you come to think of it, an engaged core is really the “glue” that keeps us together in terms of technique. It distributes our body weight correctly, making it much easier to throw our weight around. It keeps us centered, balanced, poised and secure. All of which is necessary for petit allegro. When dancers make the mistake of not engaging their core during petit allegro, it can result in the combo looking quite clunky and even make the dancer’s upper body shift forward over their feet. One of the main aspects of technique when executing petit allegro is to make sure you’re in correct body alignment, not sinking down into your hips, while keeping your feet directly underneath you. Engaging your core will help you accomplish this goal that much easier.
I always say to my students that one day, just for the humor of it, I’m going to tape a big sign that says “Don’t Forget To Breathe” on the back wall of the classroom. The reason being is because as silly as it may sound, it is so easy to hold your breath unknowingly as you concentrate. Where am I going with this? If there is any part of a ballet class that will make you “forget to breathe”, it’s petit allegro! The counts, the feet, the arms, the PLIE! It can all feel like there is so much going on that you literally forget to relax. But remembering to keep a consistent breathing pattern makes anything and everything that much easier when dancing. So, even though you’re concentrating, don’t lose that breathe. It will actually help you relax and perform the combo much better. Trust me on this one.
5. Practice In Parts
And last but not least, our final tip on this list is to practice, of course. But in this case, when it comes to petit allegro, it is most advantageous to practice in parts. When executing petit allegro, there are two key areas that require the most focus and those areas are your feet and your arms. And sometimes in the endeavor to make these two work together the way that they should, it can really make you feel like you’re in a mass of flailing confusion. However, just like in all other cases, practice makes progress! As you’re practicing your petit allegro, try using the method of focusing on your feet first, for example, practicing the combo by simply keep your arms in first or second position for the time being. After you feel you’ve accomplished this area, then begin to focus on adding the arm movements and go from there. Sometimes it’s not always about doing everything at once. Just like we mentioned about dissecting the combo, taking the time to go home and going over everything piece by piece will result in everything lacing together very well and teach you how to apply everything simultaneously. Rome wasn’t built in a day and petit allegro isn’t mastered in 10 minutes. It’s okay to take your time!
Thank you all so much for stopping by today! We hope this post was able to help you as you endeavor to reach your petit allegro goals! Remember that as dancers, we all have areas that we continue to work on, no matter how long we’ve been training. The beauty of dance is that we are always growing and evolving. And in the midst of your journey, your From The Top Family is always right here in your corner, helping you and cheering you on! As always, we wish you a beautiful weekend and remember…