Rond de jambe

Rond de jambe (French – “round of the leg”; pronounced “rawn-duh-zhamb”) is a circling motion of the leg that can be done in several different ways.

Rond de jambe can be combined with other movements and start from various positions.

Rond de jambe à terre / Rond de jambe par terre (“on the ground”) – The simplest form of rond de jambe is performed while standing on one leg and by “drawing” a half-circle on the ground with the other pointed foot. This can be done starting with a tendu front and circling to the back (en dehors – “outside”) or vice versa (en dedans – “inside”). A grand rond de jambe à terre is performed in the same way, except that the standing leg is in plié. 

A half of a rond de jambe à terre can also be done (demi-rond de jambe), which would only be a quarter of a circle (such as starting in tendu side and circling to tendu front). The standing leg can either be straight or bent in plié (when the standing leg is bent, this is technically known as a demi-grand rond de jambe).

Rond de jambe en l’air (“in the air”) – Typically, rond de jambe en l’air refers to a movement in which one stands on one leg and the other leg is extended to the side off of the ground (but not above 90 degrees). From there, the dancer circles the lower part of the leg (from the knee down) ever so slightly forward (see video) and brings the leg through retiré and back out to a la seconde. This is rond de jambe en l’air en dedans. This can also be performed in a reverse motion, in which the leg comes straight into retiré first and then slightly circles forward and out from the knee, returning to a la seconde. This is rond de jambe en l’air en dehors.

Rond de jambe en l’air can either be a single (as described above) or a double (repeat the described movement twice – bending the lifted leg into retiré, extending to a la seconde, and then repeating this again). These rond de jambes can also be performed while on relevé or with a sauté. The term also refers to double rond de jambe en l’air refers to the double version of this movement (two circles into the knee and back out) performed while either in relevé or with a sauté. A rond de jambe en l’air sauté that ends with an assemblé is also sometimes referred to as rond de jambe fermé (with fermé meaning “closed”), whereas a rond de jambe en l’air that finishes in a la seconde is called a rond de jambe ouvert (“open”).

The Italian technique version of rond de jambe en l’air is slightly different. For this method, the leg does not circle, but rather the leg begins in a la seconde, bends in to retiré devant (front), passes (“passé“) to retiré derrière (back), and then is extended out again.

Grand rond de jambe en l’air – A rond de jambe performed in the same manner as à terre (circling from front to back, back to front, etc.), except the foot is lifted off the ground and the leg is in the air. This large rond de jambe in the air often begins from a développé or a dégagé and can be performed on relevé. This movement can also be performed in a quarter circle as à terre can (from front to side, side to back, etc.), which is referred to as a demi-grand rond de jambe en l’air. A grand rond de jambe sauté is performed in exactly the same manner except with a sauté.

Grand rond de jambe jeté – This movement comes from the Russian technique and refers to a rond de jambe that is “thrown” (jeté). The leg begins either on the ground our in a small attitude, then it is “thrown” up and around to the side and finishes in tendu back or front (whichever is the opposite of where it began). The leg makes a sort of arc from front to side to back or vice versa, with the side position being the highest position of the leg (or the “peak” of the arc) during the movement.

Rond de jambe en l’air en tournant – For this movement, successive rond de jambe en l’air are performed while in promenade.

Rond de jambe double – Not to be confused with double rond de jambe en l’air (described above), this is another term for gargouillade sometimes used in Russian technique.

 


Explanation and Examples:

Rond de jambe à terre: Begin in first position. Tendu to the front with both legs straight and circle the leg to tendu side. Continue this half circle to tendu back and close into first position again. This is rond de jambe à terre en dehors. For en dedans, start with tendu back and circle around through the side and to the front. Both of these (en dehors and en dedans) can also be performed starting to the side and circling to the back (en dehors) or from the side to the front (en dedans), which would be a half of a rond de jambe (demi-rond de jambe – a quarter of a circle). Grand rond de jambe en l’air is done in the same ways, except with the working foot lifted off of the ground (usually 90 degrees and above).

Rond de jambe en l’air: Begin in fifth position. Brush the leg to a la seconde (side). Bend the extended leg at the knee and bring the foot in to touch the standing knee. From there, slightly circle the lower half of the working leg (from the knee down) forward and extend back out to a la seconde. This is an example of rond de jambe en l’air en dehors. The reverse of this would be to extend the leg a la seconde, circle the lower leg slightly forward while bending the knee and bringing the foot in to touch the standing knee, then extending straight out to a la seconde again (en dedans).

VIDEO and PHOTOS coming soon.


Tips for performing a technically correct and safe rond de jambe à terre:
– Keep both legs completely straight when performing rond de jambe, unless it is a grand rond de jambe à terre or a demi-grand rond de jambe.
– Keep the hips still throughout the movement; do not tilt or turn the hips toward or away from the leg that is circling. Tilting, turning, or twisting the hips is most likely a sign that the turnout is not being held correctly and the muscles are not engaged properly.
– Do not overcross the tendu/lifted leg to the front or to the back. The rond de jambe half-circle movement should be done in such a way that there is an imaginary line starting from the heel of the standing foot and extending front and back in a straight line.
– Keep both legs turned out. Pay special attention to the working leg so that you make sure you are keeping the leg turned out in all positions (front, side, back, and first) without twisting the hips.
– When doing rond de jambe en d’hors, think of leading out with the heel so as to maintain turnout. You do not want to start the tendu leading with the toes because it will cause you to turn in. The opposite is true when doing en dedans. You will want to think of pulling the toes back and leading with the toes into the tendu back, so that you remain turned out.

 

Tips for performing a technically correct and safe rond de jambe en l’air:
– Keep both legs completely straight when performing rond de jambe en l’air.
–  Keep the hips still throughout the movement; do not tilt or turn the hips toward or away from the leg that is circling. Tilting, turning, or twisting the hips is most likely a sign that the turnout is not being held correctly and the muscles are not engaged properly.
– A rond de jambe en l’air always begins by extending the leg side at 90 degrees or lower (never higher). However, it may end with an extension back out to the side above 90 degrees if rond de jambe en l’air is not immediately repeated. For example, if they are done successively, such as three in a row without closing the leg back into a standing position, then the first two rond de jambe will start and end at 90 degrees or lower. The third and final rond de jambe en l’air, however, may begin at 90 degrees or lower and finish at or above 90 degrees or higher, depending on what height the leg started from and what the instructor/dancer prefers.
– The working leg only ever circles forward and out or in and forward; it never circles backward as this can cause strain on the knee and is generally considered to be incorrect (see photo).
– Make sure that the hips are directly below the shoulders and are not tipped forward or backward. If the hips are tipped or tucked, the back is usually either curved or arched, and it most likely means that the turnout is not being properly used and the muscles are not engaged correctly.

 



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