Because her own training is a mix of styles, SLK Ballet School founder Sara Knight refers to what Cecchetti students call “grand jeté en tournant en arrière”—a grand jeté, turning and moving backward—as “entrelacé,” as it’s known in the Russian school (and “grand jeté dessus en tournant” by the French).
Whether you are introducing a jump like this to young students or taking advanced dancers back to basics, simple relevé-and-jump exercises at the barre will reinforce proper mechanics. Hilda Morales of The Hartt School at the University of Hartford teaches that weight should be on the balls of the feet, knees pressed back toward the little toes in plié and chests lifted, not concave (see photo 1). “Placement is the key to jumping correctly,” she says. “Repetition with good alignment helps develop the muscles correctly.”
Morales gives slow relevés in each position, then faster relevés that dancers hold for a few counts at a time. In relevé, “students have to engage the seat muscles, bring the heels forward and lift the muscles above the knees,” she says (see photo 2). Then Morales will introduce jumps, such as sautés, changements and échappés, making sure students don’t press down too much on the barre and pike their lower halves (see photo 3).
Photos courtesy of Julie Diana