Learn to Jump High
The September 2017 issue of Dance Spirit includes an article titled “Reach New Heights” by writer and dancer Kathryn Holmes.
Image: Nathalia Arja in George Balanchine’s Serenade
The article provides an interview with principal soloist of the Miami City Ballet – Nathalia Arja who is known for her powerful jump. At 15 years old she changed from classical dance to Balanchine training. Nathalia says:
I learned how to push off the floor with my toes, rather than jumping from my entire foot.
Wikipedia defines the Balanchine technique as training that allows dancers to utilise more space in less time, so that speed, spatial expansion and a syncopated musicality are enhanced. Specific characteristics include:
- Extreme speed and very deep plié
- Emphasis on line, with use of unconventional, asymmetrical, abstract arm and hand placement
- Pirouettes en dehors taken from a lunge in fourth position rather than the conventional plié in fourth
- Distinctive arabesque line with the hip open to the audience and the side arm pressed back
- Athletic dance quality
Advice on Achieving High Jumps
Go Back to Basics
Don’t take pliés for granted. They’re the preparation for everything.
- Instead of always doing slow, even demi-pliés, try rising faster than you descend
- try pushing up to relevé at the top of thepliés
- don’t sink into pliés, instead, make them an active movement.
Create an Air-Time Illusion
Nathalia suggests aiming to hit the desired midair position as quickly as possible.
Ginger Cox, who teaches Jumps and Turns classes, says:
You can train your body not just to rebound, but to really push the floor away. And over time, that’ll increase your overall strength and power.
Michelle Rodriguez, a physical therapist and owner of Manhattan Physio Group, says
Try to relax one muscle at a time. Let go of your fingers, elbows, neck, and chest. Make sure it’s your legs and core doing the hard work.
Stick the Landing
Faulty landings are where the majority of jump-related injuries happen
Michelle suggests practicing jumps whilst holding on to a barre to allow your arms to help control the descent. This will allow you to know how a correct landing feels in your feet, knees, and hips. Then progress to the centre.