Sissonne – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dance Techniques Glossary

I. What is Sissonne?

Sissonne is a classical ballet term that refers to a jump where a dancer springs from two feet onto one foot in any position. It is a fundamental movement in ballet that requires strength, control, and precision. The word “sissonne” comes from the French word for “scissors,” which describes the action of the legs during the jump. Sissonnes can be performed in various directions, positions, and tempos, making them a versatile and essential element of ballet choreography.

II. History of Sissonne

The sissonne jump was first introduced by the Italian ballet master Carlo Blasis in the 19th century. Blasis was known for his innovative approach to ballet technique, and he developed the sissonne as a way to showcase the agility and athleticism of dancers. The jump quickly became popular in classical ballet repertoire and is now a staple in many ballet variations and choreographies.

Over the years, choreographers and dancers have continued to explore and expand upon the sissonne, creating new variations and incorporating it into contemporary ballet works. Today, the sissonne remains a fundamental movement in ballet training and performance, showcasing the strength, flexibility, and artistry of dancers.

III. Technique of Sissonne

The technique of sissonne requires a strong foundation in ballet technique, including proper alignment, turnout, and coordination. To perform a sissonne, a dancer must start in a preparatory position with both feet together and arms in a rounded position. The dancer then pushes off the floor with both feet, extending one leg in the air and landing on the other foot in a controlled manner.

Key elements of sissonne technique include maintaining a straight back, engaging the core muscles, and pointing the toes. The arms should also be used to help propel the jump and create a sense of lightness and lift. Proper alignment and placement are crucial to executing a sissonne with grace and precision.

IV. Variations of Sissonne

There are many variations of sissonne that dancers can incorporate into their choreography. Some common variations include sissonne fermée, where the legs come together in the air before landing, sissonne ouverte, where the legs remain apart in the air, and sissonne battue, where the legs beat together before landing.

Other variations of sissonne include sissonne en avant, where the jump travels forward, sissonne en arrière, where the jump travels backward, and sissonne en tournant, where the jump turns in the air. Each variation of sissonne offers a unique challenge and opportunity for dancers to showcase their technical skill and artistry.

V. Common Mistakes in Sissonne

One common mistake in sissonne is failing to fully extend the legs in the air, resulting in a lack of height and clarity in the jump. Another common mistake is collapsing the upper body or arching the back during the jump, which can compromise alignment and stability. Additionally, failing to engage the core muscles and turnout the legs can lead to a lack of control and precision in the landing.

To avoid these common mistakes, dancers should focus on maintaining proper alignment, engaging the core muscles, and fully extending the legs in the air. It is also important to practice sissonnes regularly and seek feedback from teachers or coaches to improve technique and execution.

VI. Tips for Mastering Sissonne

To master sissonne, dancers should focus on building strength, flexibility, and control in the legs and core muscles. Regular conditioning exercises such as pliés, relevés, and jumps can help improve the power and precision of sissonnes. Stretching exercises such as développés and grand battements can also help improve flexibility and range of motion in the legs.

In addition to physical conditioning, dancers should also focus on mental preparation and visualization techniques to enhance performance. Visualizing a successful sissonne jump before executing it can help build confidence and focus. Practicing sissonnes with musicality and artistry can also help elevate the performance and expression of the movement.

By incorporating these tips and techniques into their training, dancers can improve their sissonne technique and performance, showcasing the beauty and athleticism of this classic ballet movement.