Updated: Apr 7
We have already said that dance is a succession of movements composed of the sequence of poses formed by the combination of positions of the various parts of the human body. We will begin by studying the positions that the components can take of the human body: legs, trunk or body, arms, head; feet are studied with legs, hands with arms. Then we will analyze two complicated poses forming an entity and used as such in dance steps. Before that, we need to define two fundamental concepts, the foot base, and the en dehors Pied plat is the way the footrests on the ground we distinguish three plates determined by the surface of the foot in contact with the ground 1 Flat - the entire surface of the footrests on the ground. 2 On the demi-pointe: the phalanxes of the toes rest on the ground. 3 On the pointe - the tip of a few fingers (three in general) rests on the ground. The fourth plate of the foot, the heel, in which only the heel rests on the ground, does not exist in pure classical dance but is used in character dances. The pied a plat is widespread. It is the largest polygon of possible foot sustentation. Typical in a motionless person, these are the starting position steps and are frequently found in these. The demi-pointe represents a relief from the base
Classical dance, seeking the effect of lightness. Tends to reduce contact with the floor. Widely used in the XVII and XVIII Century the demi-pointe is now replaced by the pointe. The pointe continues to be used by dancers in exercises, and during some steps supplanted by La pointe. The pointe is the smallest possible footplate. The Pointe acquired in ballet, and it seems that it was born from a binary search for reduction by reducing the sustenance polygon; disappearing angles. Notice that, in fact, in the demi-pointe, especially when it is very high, the toes make a right angle with the neck-of-foot (metatarsal). Our classical dance linear aesthetics, not angular, tends to abolish all aspects of replacing with flexible lines. When the foot climbs on the pointe, it no longer has an angle. Tradition attributes the discovery of the pointes to Marie TAGLIONI (1804-1884) circa1826; other dancers, Avdotia ISTOMINA (1799-1848), and Amalia BRUGNOLI (danced Vienna in 1823), etc., would also have climbed on the pointes at the same time, or a little earlier. It is possible the trend towards pointes caused its discovery simultaneously in several places. The first oblique, as evidenced by the padding of the slippers at the time, tip gradually straightened up to become vertical. It is impossible to stay on an oblique tip: the dancer pique and descended right away. Only the vertical tip can acquire sufficient strength to raise, stay, jump, etc. The pointes are now inseparable from the picture we have of a dancer. Neo-classical reform makes the pointes protrude (Fig. I d) and rests the toes on nails.
Le Dehors One of the essential principles of classical dance is le dehors. The leg and foot must present their inner face to the viewer, i.e. That the leg should rotate 90% outwards, compared to normal, the position of the leg en dehors is unnatural. It requires constant training started at a very young age and painful forcing exercises. If we raise the leg sideways in a normal position, the hip rises at the same time, producing an unsightly bump. If, on the contrary, the leg is en dehors, the hip lowers, and the body line is perfect. When the dancer's leg goes down and stays in its position, we get, when the foot has landed, a position that is defined later as a seconde en dehors. Starting from the second, the en dehors is gradually taking hold in all positions and is becoming more and more rigorous. It is now part of the ballet, and it has been possible to reintroduce it, with the neo-classical, regular positions, even within, in a contemporary vocabulary. Ballet is not the only one to impose the en dehors on its performers: some Eastern or Far Eastern dances make constant use of it, especially in Cambodia, China, Japan, etc.
Source: Grammaire de la danse, Germaine Prudhommeau, Georgette Bordierq²