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Centre: Jump Preparation

Form and/or Function

Jumps: leaving the floor in flight. They are used in travelling sequences from fast (petit allegro) to big and roaming (grand allegro).

Notes on our approach

Ballet has a strong focus on jumps and has accumulated a rich and detailed vocabulary over the centuries. Jumps (leaving the floor in flight) was not part of the movement possibilities for all the dancers in the group. Related movement possibilities we could work on however were: bouncing and rebounding quality, fast shifts and spatial patterns.

This jump preparation was taught and added later in the research week. Having explored and identified narrow and wide support positions previously at the barre, we were able to apply this knowledge directly to this exercise.

The dancers were asked to shift with a bouncing quality between the different support positions. As common in jumping exercises, the tempo needs to be set at a pace that allows for the bouncing quality to be fully performed.

Where necessary, create multiple groups and adjust the tempo so individual dancers can work to the appropriate tempo for them. Also, the amount of actual take off can be adjusted and set depending on the overall goals and the range of the dancers.

Exploration and Setting:

The exploration of support positions and the pliés served as a preparation. We took some time to explore the bouncing quality gesturally in different body parts as well as shifting between narrow and wide positions.  Also see Glossary notes on setting.

Score Elements:

Four bounces narrow, four wide,  four changes between narrow and wide.


This is a first exploration with set jump material. (It developed into the glissade exercise and the allegro exploration, which were introduced later in the research week).

  • The tempo can be adjusted for different dancers
  • Add arm movements and changes in direction as a next step
  • Once you have a shared version, there can be further development through simultaneous or successive adding.

Observation Tasks

  • What tempo would you set for each dancer, so they can perform this exercise to their best ability?
  • The dancers closely share the form. How would you develop the material if you wanted them to share functional aspects of the jump preparation (e.g. prepare for bigger, more vigorous travel material)?