Friday, 27 December 2013

Ballet Steps: Grand Jeté

Edward Watson in Romeo and Juliet
Photo: Bill Cooper
For this month's ballet steps blog, I look at the wonderful split-leap jump, the grand jeté. One of my favourite steps, it is performed at the end of a ballet class as well as in lots of ballet choreography, and gives the feeling that a dancer is flying through the air. It involves springing off from one leg, reaching a 'split' position in the air (with one leg forward and one back) and then landing on the other leg in arabesque.

Kristina Sharpan in Coppélia
Photo: E Fetisova
The step should be taught only when other smaller jumps have been mastered, as the dancer needs to be able to land confidently in plié. For students, it is a good idea introduce the step as a grand battement (a brush and kick of the leg to the front), followed by a small up and over action to land on the kicked leg (with knee bent) and the other leg extended behind. The student can then try stepping into a grand jeté and eventually running. The stronger the push off the supporting leg before the leap, the greater the height of the jump.
Grand jetés can be performed with a variety of arm lines, including 1st, 2nd and 3rd arabesque, 4th and 5th positions, and hands on hips. Higher arms typically give the illusion of a larger jump.

Here are the Royal Ballet's Dawid Trzensimiech and Akane Takada performing a grand allegro (or large jumping sequence), which includes grand jetés. It's worth noting that Takada uses a developpé (flicking) action and Trzensimiech uses the more traditional straight leg grand battement action:

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