If you have observed your dancer’s classes recently, you may have noticed that our entire studio has been focusing on jumps this month! Especially in our ballet classes, our teachers have been incorporating lots of jumps, or sautés into their lessons during September.
What are sautés?
Sauté means JUMP (like sautéed vegetables “jumping” in the pan!) It’s one of the first jumps you learn in ballet class and needs attention to be done properly.
How do you execute a proper sauté?
There are 3 main rules for sautés:
1. You must plié (bend your knees) before AND after the jump, landing quietly.
2. You must strongly stretch/point your legs and feet in the air.
3. You must hold your body properly with good posture while you prepare, in the air, and as you land.
Students must master the proper technique of these smaller jumps before they move on to bigger and more difficult jumps like assemblé, jeté, grand jeté, and saut de chat. Once they have perfected sautés, they will be able to accurately and safely try those more advanced allegro steps!
So what did our teachers do to teach sautés this month?
Showing pictures of sautés (also called temps levés) to our dancers helped our visual learners understand the mechanics of the step.
Additionally, we practiced an exercise called “Jumping Off the Wall.” In this exercise, our students used their plié and the strength of their legs and feet to push themselves backwards away from the wall. While they “jumped” off the wall, they were able to see if they fully pointed their feet and fully straightened their legs. If they pointed and straightened fully, they will be able to see and feel themselves travel far backwards away from the wall! The dancers then stood up and practiced the same movements while jumping off the floor. We were impressed with our dancer’s improvement with this exercise!
We also used a ball to demonstrate the dynamics of the jump. Dropping the ball softly leads to a smaller bounce than pushing/throwing the ball strongly towards the ground. The older dancers were able to use this visual to understand that a dynamic plié (bend) before the jump helped with the height of their sautés.
Why are jumps important in dance?
A whole category of dance technique consists of jumps or allegro steps, so jumps are important in their own right. Jumps are also used to determine the strength and readiness for pointe work. Fast, small, big, and exciting jumps are also numerous in performance choreography for beginners as well as professional dancers.
Quality jumps = quality dance technique!
Check out the resources below to improve your dancer’s sautés even more. These two quick videos will enable your dancer to practice at home. If you do practice at home, make sure to send us a pic of your dancer!
It’s been a fun Sauté September!