En dehors – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Techniques Glossary

I. What is En dehors?

En dehors is a ballet term that refers to a movement in which a dancer rotates their leg outward from the hip joint. This rotation is typically done while the dancer is standing on one leg, with the other leg lifted off the ground. En dehors is a fundamental movement in ballet and is used in various steps and positions, such as pirouettes, arabesques, and développés.

The term “en dehors” is French for “outward,” which accurately describes the direction in which the leg is rotated. This movement requires strength, flexibility, and control in the hip joint, as well as proper alignment and turnout of the supporting leg. En dehors is essential for achieving clean lines, balance, and fluidity in ballet technique.

II. How is En dehors executed?

To execute en dehors correctly, a dancer must engage the muscles of the supporting leg, particularly the rotator muscles in the hip, to initiate the outward rotation of the working leg. The turnout should come from the hip joint, not the knee, to maintain proper alignment and avoid injury. The foot of the working leg should be pointed and the toes should be stretched to create a long, elegant line.

As the working leg rotates outward, the dancer must also maintain stability and control in the supporting leg to prevent wobbling or collapsing. The core muscles should be engaged to help with balance, and the upper body should remain lifted and elongated. The arms can be held in various positions depending on the specific step or combination being performed.

III. What are the key principles of En dehors?

The key principles of en dehors include proper alignment, turnout, strength, flexibility, and control. Alignment refers to the positioning of the body in relation to the supporting leg, with the hips, shoulders, and head all stacked vertically. Turnout is the rotation of the legs from the hips, which creates the desired outward rotation in en dehors.

Strength and flexibility are essential for executing en dehors with ease and grace. Strong rotator muscles in the hip joint are necessary to initiate and maintain the outward rotation of the working leg. Flexibility in the hamstrings, hips, and lower back allows for a greater range of motion and helps prevent injury. Control is also crucial for executing en dehors smoothly and with precision.

IV. What are common mistakes to avoid when performing En dehors?

Some common mistakes to avoid when performing en dehors include forcing the turnout from the knee instead of the hip, collapsing or sinking into the supporting leg, and gripping the floor with the toes. These errors can lead to poor alignment, instability, and potential injury.

Another common mistake is over-rotating the working leg, which can result in a twisted or strained position. It is important to maintain control and only rotate the leg as far as the hip allows. Additionally, rushing through the movement or neglecting proper preparation can lead to sloppy execution and compromised technique.

V. How can dancers improve their En dehors technique?

Dancers can improve their en dehors technique by focusing on strengthening the muscles involved in the movement, such as the rotators in the hip, quadriceps, and core. Pilates, yoga, and resistance training can help build strength and stability in these areas. Stretching exercises can also improve flexibility and range of motion in the hips and hamstrings.

Practicing en dehors at the barre and in center work can help dancers refine their technique and develop muscle memory. Breaking down the movement into smaller components and focusing on proper alignment and turnout can help dancers understand the mechanics of en dehors and improve their execution.

Working with a knowledgeable ballet teacher or coach can provide valuable feedback and guidance on how to improve en dehors technique. They can offer corrections, drills, and exercises tailored to the individual dancer’s needs and goals.

VI. What are some exercises to help strengthen En dehors?

There are several exercises that can help strengthen the muscles involved in en dehors and improve technique. Some examples include:

1. Rotator muscle exercises: Perform exercises that target the rotator muscles in the hip, such as clamshells, side leg lifts, and hip rotations. These exercises can help build strength and stability in the hip joint.

2. Plies and releves: Practice plies and releves in first, second, and fifth positions to strengthen the legs, feet, and ankles. Focus on maintaining proper alignment and turnout throughout the movement.

3. Developpes: Practice developpes at the barre and in center work to improve flexibility, strength, and control in the working leg. Focus on maintaining turnout and lengthening the leg as it moves through space.

4. Passe releves: Perform passe releves on demi-pointe to strengthen the supporting leg and improve balance and control. Focus on maintaining proper alignment and engaging the core muscles.

By incorporating these exercises into their regular ballet training, dancers can strengthen their en dehors technique and improve their overall performance quality. Consistent practice, attention to detail, and dedication to proper technique are key to mastering en dehors and achieving success in ballet.