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Alison Stroming, April Giangeruso, Tiffany Hedman, Adam Di Loreto
Alison Stroming, April Giangeruso, Tiffany Hedman, Adam Di Loreto
Ballet Blog Interviews Jazz Tips & Advice

Leap for the Leap Year!

  • February 21, 2016
  • by Allison Gupton of Dance Informa.

Capezio Athletes share their love of leaps.

This year is a leap year! So, naturally, we asked several Capezio Athletes about their favorite leaps and jumps. Here they share how they attain maximum height in jumps, some common corrections they’ve been given in class, and how leaping and jumping make them feel.

What is your favorite type of jump or leap to execute and why?

April Giangeruso
“My favorite jump is a grand saut de chat. It was the first grand allegro jump I learned when I was a young ballerina.”

Adam Di Loreto
“My favorite is a grand jeté en tournant. I feel that I can achieve my maximum height with this jump.” 

Tiffany Hedman
“An entrechat six! Sounds funny but I like hearing the legs and feet beat as you execute this step.”

Alison Stroming
“My favorite type of leap is a grand jeté or saut de chat which means ‘big jump’ in French. It’s a lot of fun to do because I feel like it’s a jump where I can achieve my maximum height and fly through the air!”

What is some advice for attaining maximum height in leaps?

Alison Stroming
“There are many factors that play a part in attaining maximum height for big jumps. It’s a matter of strength of feet and legs, good preparation, flexibility as well as coordination. It’s all about timing and coordination of your preparation (plié), arms, and getting your legs into a full split. Another piece of advice is to always look up using your head and eyes when jumping to add height. Always remember to keep your eyes off the ground!”

Adam Di Loreto
“My advice would be to always use your arms. It’s important that your arms are hitting their final position when you reach the top because it gives you that little extra lift.”

April Giangeruso
“In a grand saut de chat, I think about lifting my front knee up as far as I can and then extending my leg out and up. I then also like to think about stretching my knees as quickly as I can.”

Tiffany Hedman
“Using not just your thighs but your bum as well. Doing exercises outside of classes and rehearsals. Put a chair or anything that sort of height in front of you and step up briefly and then come back down on the same leg and repeat several times. This helps your muscles maintain muscle memory as well as strengthens them for when you need to lift your beautiful ballerina bum into the air!” 

What are some visuals or metaphors you think of when taking flight?

Adam Di Loreto
“I like to think of myself as a marionette. With the image of a string attached to the top of my head and being lifted straight up.”

Tiffany Hedman
“I actually like to watch and learn from my fellow colleagues. So I’d have to say it differs each day depending on what and whom I am watching. We all have been given different strengths and weaknesses and that’s what makes being in a company so rewarding, you have about 65 people you can take things from and try to incorporate them into your own dancing.”

April Giangeruso
“I try sometimes to imagine I’m jumping over a hurdle or a chair. It makes me stay in the air a bit longer because who would want to land their jump on a chair?”

Alison Stroming
“I try to think of jumping over a large pool of fire because you want to jump high into the air. This is a visual I was given at a very young age by one of my first ballet teachers and it’s something that has stayed with me since and now I pass it onto my younger students. Having visuals were very helpful for me in dance.”

What is a common correction you’ve been given in class when leaping?

April Giangeruso
“One of the best corrections I’ve ever been given for jumping is to hold the position of the arms while landing. If the arms drop too fast, it makes the jump appear less impressive. Maintaining the arms in their position gives the illusion that you have jumped higher.”

Tiffany Hedman
“To throw my front leg into the air! To battement my leg and go to it, rather then bring it back for example in an assemblé, this would give me more power and a higher jump.”

Adam Di Loreto
“I am told to keep focus on my landings. It’s great to execute a big jump, but the landing is equally important!”

Alison Stroming
“A common correction that I am given in class is to keep my shoulders down when leaping. I tend to lift my shoulders thinking it would help propel me into the air but it doesn’t because the power of jumps comes from your legs. There are so many things to remember when leaping, so it’s sometimes a little tricky to remember to keep my shoulders down!”

How do leaps and jumps make you feel?

Tiffany Hedman
“We have a complicated relationship, jumps and I. When my body is feeling tip top, I love the feeling of being able to cover space and let go and be free. When I’m a bit worn down from a long run of shows or getting over an injury, then jumps and I are not best friends!”

April Giangeruso
“Jumps are so incredibly fun! It is the closest to flying a person can attain without assistance.”

Alison Stroming
“I love jumping and it is a part of class I always looks forward to. All jumps are challenging- beats, petite allegro, grand allegro, but it’s fun and exciting. I love a challenge and pushing myself every day in jumps in class. Leaping requires much stamina and precision. There’s so much to think of when jumping from your arms, épaulement, feet, and legs so it’s challenging for your body and mind.”

Adam Di Loreto
“Amazing!  I have to say, grand allegro is my favorite part of ballet class.”

Photo: April Giangeruso, Tiffany Hedman, Alison Stroming and Adam Di Loreto. Giangeruso and Hedman photos by Gene Schiavone. Stroming photo by Aaron Pegg.

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