Every dancer loves to jump -- it’s the closest we get to flying! However, jumps and leaps are challenging, too. They require strength, flexibility, and control.
Here are some of the most important elements of any jump or leap, and our technique tips to help you master them!
Before you ever take off from the ground, you want to develop the flexibility to create a beautiful line in your leap. Stretching regularly will improve your jumps and leaps by helping you control the shapes you create in the air.
Many dancers get ahead of themselves and start thinking about the jump while they’re still in the preparation. However, the preparation is a key element for a soaring jump. Whether you’re entering your leap from a glissade, chassé, run, or something else entirely, be diligent about your footwork, alignment, and weight distribution. This way, you’ll put yourself in a good place for a successful leap.
Perhaps the most crucial part of any jump or leap is the plié just before you leave the floor. Every single jump and leap must begin and end in a strong, deep, stable plié. Keep your heels down, keep your pelvis grounded toward the floor, your abdominals tight, and your glutes engaged. From there, you are ready to fly!
The transition from the plié into the leap is much more intricate than many dancers realise. Simply pushing with the legs is not enough to achieve the desired height of a jump or leap. You must use your feet, as well! You should think of your feet leaving the floor in the order of heel, ball, toe. This will ensure that you are truly articulating through your feet and ankles, and that you are using the strength of your feet and ankles to improve the height of your jump.
Once you’ve pushed off from the floor, you want to get to the shape of your jump or leap as quickly and cleanly as possible. Practice the pathway of the arms and legs to make sure that you eliminate any extra, inefficient movement. The faster you hit the shape of your jump, the longer you give the audience to see that shape. This creates the illusion that you are in the air longer!
Another important element to any jump or leap is your breath. As you push into the air, take a deep inhale! This will help you achieve a longer suspension in the air and increase your hang time. Breathing deeply will also relax the muscles in your neck, chest, and arms so that you appear effortless in the air.
Your jump or leap doesn’t end in the instant that your feet get back to the floor, so don’t allow yourself to cut your landing short. It is important to enter the floor the same way you left it, with clear foot articulation, grounded plié, calm breathing, and an efficient transition into your next movement. Your jump should be a seamless movement, flowing smoothly into the rest of your choreography.
Let us help you improve your leaps! Contact BoPPA today to schedule a trial class.
Xx Team BoPPA