Grand Allegro is without a doubt one of the most impressive series of exercises to perform and there’s nothing quite like watching a dancer glide through the air with a strong sense of poise and power. While it may look effortless to the audience (a dancer's gift after all is being able to make difficult things look easy) there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes to get us to that point. So if you want to learn more about how you can gain more strength, height and coordination for things like Grande Jetes, Assembles and Sissones, here are 3 ways to improve your Grand Allegro.
Contrary to popular belief, the barre isn’t just a place to warm up - it’s in fact where the fundamentals for every move we perform are learnt. When it comes to Grand Allegro, a lot of people don’t actually realise that Plies are the most important part of our jumps as it’s where we prepare to take off, gather momentum and most importantly ensure we land safely. Our Claudia Dean World App contains a whole host of invaluable exercises you can perform at the barre including things like back leg kicks, grande jetes with the powerband and high knee jumps, that will each help equip you with the fundamentals you need to see height, power, flexibility and strength in your grand allegro. Using power equipment like a Power Band in these exercises will add that extra layer of resistance that will improve your ability to perform explosive movements. I guarantee when you take it off you’ll amaze yourself at the height and control you get! Try it and see for yourself!
While your legs do play an undeniably important role in grand allegro, particularly through your calves, quads and deep hip rotator muscles, don’t underestimate your core and upper body. Core strength and stability is so essential for dancers, as it promotes balance, stability and correct alignment - which are crucial when we perform big exercises like those in grand allegro, particularly when it comes to safely landing. Our arms will also not only help propel us, but if they’re strong and correctly aligned, they will create a beautiful long line that will make our jumps look even longer and more effortless. I love focusing on my upper body as it’s one of those areas you can easily tend to neglect, which is why I’ve included so many upper body exercises on the Claudia Dean App including Fouette arms with the powerband and Fouettes with the power ring.
While each exercise we perform as dancers demands different things from different muscle groups, one of the most important things you can do, no matter which exercise you’re performing, is to always ensure you’re moving mindfully. I’m a huge fan of mindfulness (it’s one of the reasons I love starting my day with a headspace meditation - read more about that here) and it’s something I make a conscious effort to do when I dance. While it’s easy for Grand Allegro to get caught up on our legs, don’t forget to pay close attention to what your whole body is doing. For example, focus on feeling every movement through your feet and ankles in tendu’s and battement jetes, feel every muscle working through your back and and arms in port de bra and remember that everything we perform in a ballet class has a purpose and the sooner you achieve mind/body connection and coordination, the quicker your dancing will improve.
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to download the Claudia Dean World App to access hundreds of exercises (that I have personally tried and tested so I know they work) that will help you improve your ballet technique!
Love CD xxxx