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How do u teach a really good arabesque

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ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
My terminology is a little weak.. but Im assuming you mean one of those neat scales where their legs make a 180* angle.

If so.. then it's a flexibility skill. Start by learning splits on floor both legs in front. Then, you can use a towel, or any strong cloth that you can tie to their leg/ankle that leaves enough cloth to hold on to. Then, they simply stand near a wall and use one hand for support, and the other to pull their leg until it stretches over head. Their body will figure it out.

It will be slow going, but it will be done right, and with very little pain because it will be self paced.


If you mean a regular scale, you also need to focus on flexibility, and work on keeping tight toe point to keep the body stretched. The tighter their body, the easier the scale will be.


If Im way off.. well then.. sorry!

Good luck!
 
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BlairBob

Guest
Ryan, I can't quite remember what a scale is called with the legs in a split at 180. I first though needle scale, but the torso is typically leaning over and is down with the legs at split.

An arabesque is just the beginning of scale. In gymnastics, basically the torso is kept upright with the arms being held different ways. In the L4 routine for boys, the back leg is supposed to be at 45 degrees, but many dance arabesques call for just below horizontal. In artistic gymnastics, in the US, the back leg is generally off the floor.

arabesque



In the second position, they call it an arabesque, but the leg is above horizontal. One could almost call this a scale in a sense.

I teach the arabesque for girls or boys the same.

Stand on one leg and or hop. Bend one leg at the knee 45 or at 90 degrees.

Long neck, top of head pushing as tall as possible, roll shoulders back. Arms at side middle, generally not in opposition.

It is okay to teach this with the base knee being bent since they have to land their leaps with a bent knee per the compulsory routines.

I often teach on beam, step forward, 4th position and as the front leg goes from bent to straight, the back leg extends backwards and they hold the arabesque. Back leg then steps forwards and they repeat the movement. Sometimes I do lunge instead, but that is problematic as I do not want an upright lunge ( and prefer they lunge with their torso diagonal making a line from wrist to heel diagonally ).

Another is as they step and walk forward, they swing one leg back ( rear leg lift ) and this is basically an arabesque.

They can also do stand in passe ( one leg bent placed alongside the other on the side of the knee ) and extend backwards till it is straight.

Coupe-passe-arabesque. Step, coupe, passe, arabesque. Or flamingo kick or leg swing, etc.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
It is okay to teach this with the base knee being bent since they have to land their leaps with a bent knee per the compulsory routines.

However the USAG compulsory beam has arabesque with a straight base leg as well. But I'm not sure this is a concern for the OP, don't know if she's in the US. I start with knee scale though (easy skill, make sure head is up, back knee straight and higher than horizontal). Then I just have them do arabesque holds. I rarely have significant problems though. I have them do it on top of a mushroom with something to look forward and aim their chest at as part of a circuit then I add stuff (like leg kick forward and hold, rise up on toe as leg swings back to arabesque hold).

Is it their arms, legs? If they aren't holding their arms back they can hold a rope or stick on each end (running behind their back parallel to the floor) and work on various walks with that to build the strength and presentation skill. Make sure they can forward and backward kick to about hip height with straight legs, if not, work on those.
 
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LasswadeCoach

Guest
I disagree that an arabesque is soley a flexibility skill, it requires tremendous strength in the lower back and butt too!

Its all about the ballet bar work, An exercise I like is to have the kids stand in first position facing the ballet bar with their chest against it, point their foot behind them and keeping their hips down and square slowly lift the leg up the back untill they feel a 'pinch' in their butt. You can also do this exercise lying down

My top gymnast has one of the best arabesques I have ever seen, Here's a picture!

P101208_19.07.JPG

You see how the chest is up and the back is arched? This is correct, a lot of kids dip their chests to lift their leg higher, try to prevent them from doing so, as it does not strengthen the muscle
 

zooky41216

New Member
Dec 21, 2008
20
30
Tamworth, Midlands, England
I disagree that an arabesque is soley a flexibility skill, it requires tremendous strength in the lower back and butt too!

Its all about the ballet bar work, An exercise I like is to have the kids stand in first position facing the ballet bar with their chest against it, point their foot behind them and keeping their hips down and square slowly lift the leg up the back untill they feel a 'pinch' in their butt. You can also do this exercise lying down

My top gymnast has one of the best arabesques I have ever seen, Here's a picture!

View attachment 136

You see how the chest is up and the back is arched? This is correct, a lot of kids dip their chests to lift their leg higher, try to prevent them from doing so, as it does not strengthen the muscle

That is exactly the picture i have in my head when i want them to do it lol but none of them are strong enough i was wondering if there were any specific sort of back exercise that might help or whether it was all jst repition.
 
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BlairBob

Guest
Here in the states, we would call that a scale, Coach Lasswade.

Mostly flexibility coupled with dynamic strength to hold it. Move to the top ROM, hold for 2-5s.
 

ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
Thanks for the clarification... I guess I need to start reading up on Ballet to be a better gymnastics coach... *sigh* so much to do, so little time...


As for the post about strength and flexibility, yes - it requires both, however, the dominanit issue preventing any gymnast from doing this skill is flexibility (and further, coordination!), and the method I posted would allow for this position to be attained, since the natural "self spot" that it enforces pushes for this exact position. After the position is attained, then reps and holds as Blair suggested would be the next step.


I remember there is a cheerleader equipment website that has trainers for this. Ill have to dig, or you can google it too, and you may find some great teaching methods from looking into cheer strategies too...

Best wishes, and good luck!
 
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LasswadeCoach

Guest
I disagree. The flexibility part of this skill is the easiest to achieve. Most gymnasts can swing their legs front, back and side to a reasonably high height - this shows they have the range of flexibility to do this skill, ask them to hold it, and they cant, because the muscle is not strong enough.

As for the coordination on balance, that is part of strength too, the balance must come from ankle and calf strength

And yes, ballet training is very very important for gymnastics!!
 

ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
Might be a disagreement in how we do conditioning, then.. were this a required skill for our gym (which, admittedly, it's not), then it would be part of our conditioning, and I would work on a developmental approach that would train the muscles to be strong enough for when they are capable of performing the pose.

Really.. it looks like leg lifts and hamstring (and the good old glute) strength is needed for the hold, and yes - ankle and calf strength for the posting leg. All of which are part of the conditioning strength my gym does anyway, just not necessarily geared towards the pose.

Whatever the case, I hope that the answers helped you. I know I learned a lot!

Ryan
 

gymch34

Member
Aug 2, 2008
322
east coast
Do you have stall bars in your gym?

A great drill/ exercise is to have the gymnast do a full needle split against the stall bars- so they can grab the bars with their hands while in the split. (One floor on floor, one up on the bars.)

When the gymnasts can "pull" themselves back into a full split, have them walk their hands up the rungs. (If they are young, I have them move up one rung at a time. If they are older, they can walk up 2 or 3 rungs.) Then they lift their chest & hold it up as they hold the rung! You will probably have to lift them up the 1st few times as its difficult.

You have to make sure you have agood cond & flex program to do this drill- start slowly and have them improve it until they are doing a full scale against the rack. They feel it in their backs, so limit the numbers and length of hold.
 

ShootingStaRr

Member
Oct 5, 2008
83
New Zealand
you could try getting them into splits on the floor and getting to lean back as far as they can, as this will help strengthen the muscles to help hold their leg in arabesque. but make sure the have square hips so the arent strengthening the wrong muscles! and it will also do wonders to their splits with regular stretching
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
I think the top part is meant to be quoting Lasswade's post; the second line is the response.
 
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LasswadeCoach

Guest
LOL, thank you very much :) She worked very hard to achieve her range of flexibility
 
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