Grand battement en cloche is an exercise we use frequently at the barre. The swinging action of the leg mimics that of a bell which is where the name ‘cloche’ is derived from. Usually starting sideways to the barre from a tendu derriere position the leg moves through a demi pointe to first position then demi point to tendu devant performing a grand battement and then reversing. Below I will give five ways to improve your grand battement en cloche;
1. Use The Floor
When performing this step you need to use the floor in the same way you would a tendu. As it gets to a fully pointed position the leg is then lifted. As mentioned in previous blog posts imagine you have glue on the bottom of your shoe and that you are trying to wipe this off.
2. Pointe Your Feet
A good way to do this is to point your toes from the ankle joint. Stretch the foot using the metatarsals and try to avoid having relaxed feet as you reach the height of your grand battement.
3. A Strong Torso
Another important thing to note is the position of the hips. The hips should remain square facing forward. Imagine you have headlights on the front of the hips, the lights need to stay forward as you perform the exercise. A common error tends to be that the hips spiral to the side as the leg reaches the grand battement derrière.
4. Square Hips
The torso needs to be strong using the oblique muscles to hold the upper body in place. This prevents the back from twisting as the leg swings front and back.
5. Keep it at 45 Degrees
If you are new to ballet keep the leg low, a 45 degree angle is more than adequate at beginner level. Once you have gained strength in your legs particularly your hamstrings you can start to take the legs higher. If not you run the risk of building muscles not desired in ballet particularly the quadriceps which will limit the range of motion you can achieve.