The Beast Fouette

7 Aug

I’m writing this entry as I watch TV, because one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, Clue is on.  Of course I own the DVD and could pop it in and watch it sans commercials, but it’s exciting to me that someone decided to broadcast it.  Just goes to show that a true classic never dies…and how can anyone forget one of the most memorable moments in the history of tap dance:

Anyway, do other dancers out there have a certain move that they’ve always wanted to learn?  I always say that there’s the big two that ballet dancers aspire to, which is thirty-two-fouettes and a six o’clock penchée (maybe two and a half…temps ciseaux is a popular one too).  Incidentally, I am not one of those people.  As much as I would love to have those things and I still aspire for bigger and better, but I don’t obsess over numbers like thirty-two, six o’clock, triple, etc. because it’s more important to me how a movement feels and how it’s executed.  This is one of the reasons why competitive swimming was such a bore for me as a young lad…shaving off milliseconds gave me no fulfillment in life (which is a pretty depressing conclusion for a ten year old.  Dark times).  Not to mention swimming is sooooo repetitive…can you imagine just doing tendus for eternity just so you could say you had the best tendu of all time?  Thankfully, ballet has much to offer and satisfies the appetites of those of us who can’t stand monotony.

People who get too caught up in quantities and big tricks can’t truly enjoy being in the present, and to me, the best way to improve technique is to really live in the present.  But I’m about to sell out because I have found my MOVE.  I have never, in my entire life wanted to be able to do something as badly as I want to do this:

The extraordinary, the unthinkable, fouette en relevé/pointe.  I’m crazy about it.  It’s beautiful to me how lifted and supported Viengsay is through her back and torso, and how free her leg is and lifted from underneath to rond de jambe and fouette around.  It has this unbound and soaring quality to it that has me all starry eyed and wistful.  The effect is subtle since the only thing that really changes is the omission of the plié but the result is like cheesecake.  Smooth, yet firm and holds its shape.

I have played around with this fouette, and not surprisingly it’s not going well.  For one thing, my body is a hot mess.  I am a lefty, and normally I do turns a la seconde to the left, because my right leg is the stronger supporting leg and can get a solid plié.  However, my right leg is also the more articulate, so it’s better at the fouette motion.  The drawback is, it has a weaker supporting leg to work with, and if I tried to do them to the left my left leg can’t seem to repeat the rond de jambe multiple times without folding into parallel.  So I do turns in second to the left, fouettes to the right.  One could call it ambidextrous, but it’s more like survival of the fittest.  So I work fouettes to the right but it’s not as comfortable so I can only get maybe between eight to twelve or so on a good day, which tells you that I shouldn’t be trying them on relevé, but there’s no harm in playing around.  But playing has resulted only in failure.  I can almost get it from a regular preparation and not from a series of fouettes since the opportunity for a bigger push presents itself, but still the result is the leg flails about as it wants to and takes you down with the ship.  As Jessica said, it’s a beast…and you’d be a fool not to believe it, but in regards to the beast fouette, I have only this to say:

Meanwhile, here’s a video of everyone’s favorite Carlos Acosta and Viengsay Valdes doing the entire Le Corsaire pas de deux, because you (I) can never get enough of his dancing and she also does the beast fouette again here (Jessica too said Carlos made her gasp, and she doesn’t gasp for Corsaire anymore).  Unfortunately the orchestra is kind of sort of heinously not good, but the dancing is of course sublime.  Viengsay also does some nifty double (and a triple) soutenous at the very end.  She’s just a cool ballerina.

So I shall conclude today’s entry with a Karen-ism to help you with your piques:

You inherently know how long your leg is…I just have to remind you to go to it.”

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