Hello From The Top Family and welcome to another blog post! Today we are going to be discussing tips for how to achieve beautiful penches! I like to describe the penches as the (slightly more complicated) big sister to the arabesque. Penches are a gorgeous ballet move that dancers everywhere strive to achieve. However, this move is actually easier said than done. A nice penche is actually achieved by putting smaller critiques in places rather than implementing huge steps. A little goes a long way with this move and today we are going to break down those little steps to help you achieve big results! So without further ado, let’s get right into it!
- Stretch & Strengthen
Now I’m sure that this first tip may be a no-brainer. When we’re talking extensions of any kind, stretching and conditioning is always essential. However, the key is to know the exact areas to stretch and condition to get you the best results. When achieving a beautiful penche, it’s best to focus on building flexibility and strength in your upper and lower back, hamstrings your quads and your hips flexors. All of these muscles mentioned are the muscles that are engaged when executing a penche and thus the better mobility and strength these regions gain, the better your penche will be!
- Keep Your Hips Square
While opening your hips is always a big no-no in ballet, it can really be a bigger no-no when working on your penches. Penches are really all about balance (engage that core, btw) and having your hips open will not only prevent you from achieving a clean penche, but it will also send your balance out the window. Even if you’re executing penches while at the barre, there is still a 90% chance that your open hips will send you backwards to the wall (ouch!) So be sure to keep those hips square at all times!
- Use Your Turn Out
The next tip on our list is to be sure to use your turn out. This will naturally allow your hips to open that much more and when executing a penche, hip mobility is a must. It’s a huge part of what’s going to help you achieve a high penche with beautiful, clean lines. So, be sure to keep your turn out in your standing and working leg at all times.
- Shift Your Hips Back
Now let’s dive into the hidden secret of the penche, shall we? When watching a penche being executed, you may think that it’s best achieved by leaning your upper body forward in order to bring your working leg up higher. However, this is actually not the case. The key to a higher working leg is by actually combining the use of your turn out with shifting your hips back ever so slightly. And while it’s not necessary to completely just push your hips backwards, a little bit goes a long way. Implementing this also helps bring range of motion when executing your penche and actually helps do the work of slightly shifting your upper body forward in a way that keeps you in perfect alignment.
- Lift, Lift, Lift!
And lastly, our final tip for developing a great penche is to lift, lit, lift! Once you’ve executed all of the steps that we have given above, your body should be in perfect alignment and stability to execute your penche correctly. From there, the only thing to do is to use that working leg, lifting it as much as safely possible to achieve those beautiful lines.
Penches are a puzzle, but with the right directions, it isn’t a puzzle that is impossible to solve. All it takes is a little practice! We hope you all enjoyed today’s blog post and were able to find some new tips to help you along your dance journey! As always, we wish you a wonderful weekend filled with love, light and until our next blog post, remember…