Can you give me any tips on sustaining my leaps? I notice when watching ballet dancers and some of the dancers at my studio, that its almost like they float a bit after they are up in the air. Where others seem to leap up and come back down. Are there any exercises that can help with this?
Sustaining leaps is essential if you want to look like a strong, powerful, technical dancer. It shows that you are using your plie before executing the leap, it shows that you are mentally thinking about height and attack, and it is impressive to an audience member.
Here are some tips to acquiring more height and holding on to it!
1) Visualize a photographer capturing this leap or jump. Do you want the shot to be blurred? Or do you want the photo to look crystal clear so you can post that moment all over social media? Of course you want the clear, crisp shot. If you mentally visualize a camera trying to capture your skill, I promise you will hold the jump/leap longer.
2) PLIE- Plie is the answer to almost any dance related question! In this case, your plie is your spring board, your gas pedal, your extra push. To get higher in any jump and get the power needed to sustain it, you have to use plie before going into it. Whether it be in a run, a step, a chasse, or pushing off from a pique or chaine turn, the plie has to be there for your skill to take off the ground.
3) Think about having to clear a mountain or a giant obstacle that is in your way. To get over it, you must defy gravity for a bit and float over whatever is blocking your path. So much of sustaining leaps is mental!
4) Core strength and upper body! If you really think about pulling your upper body up out of your leap, you will sustain longer. Shoulders down, arms strong, chin up, torso tight and in control- I promise you won’t flop! You will soar by just engaging your upper body and core.
5) Squat jumps! Plie in a parallel second position and jump as high as you can, doing 15-20 reps! Each time you do it (your quads will get super tired by the way, totally normal), think of holding onto your height for longer with every jump!
There are many things you can do to work on sustaining your leaps.
* Make sure you are working on your splits daily. Even if you can already do them it’s important to continue doing them.
* Work on strengthening your core. This will help you control your body and have control of your leap. There are many exercises for your core. You should alternate among them and not do the same ones everyday. This way your body is working all muscles.
Now, when doing your leap there are many things to keep in mind.
* First, think about your preparation. Make sure you are starting off your leap in a deep plié. Push off of both feet. A common mistake dancers make is using their arms to get their height. Where the height should actually be coming from is the deep plié.
* Once you are in the air, it is important to keep proper posture so you are not being pulled down. This will help improve your air time as well. Keep your back up straight and shoulders back; don’t lean forward and keep your head up! Looking down will bring your body down.
* Lastly, do not land with locked knees, but in a gentle plié. Continue to practice these stretches and techniques and you will be flying high!