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Centre: Narrow and wide

Form and/or Function

In Ballet there are standardised narrow, wide, symmetrical and asymmetrical support positions which are practiced in plié, lunges, transfer of weight as transitions, preparations and landings.

In this improvisation game, the dancers play with their possibilities for narrow and wide positions, shifting and transferring weight.

Notes on our approach

In this improvisation, we simply introduced the terms ‘narrow’ and ‘wide’ (for support positions) and let the dancers explore their possibilities. Over a number of classes some of the dancers used different mobility devices, both on the floor and standing for this exploration.

An improvisation like this allows the teacher to observe each dancer’s inherent choices and then discuss some of these options for more specific practice in the centre: narrow and wide – support positions for plié, barre: plié and centre:  transfer of weight, catalogue of four elements in unison.

Exploration and Setting

The notion of wide and narrow stances were introduced, demonstrated and practised by the instructor through verbal prompts. The dancers then explored their possibilities to music through an unscored improvisation.

Score Elements

Open improvisation


  • Explore different directions and facings
  • Instead of alternating between narrow and wide, challenge the dancers to also move from wide to wide, or narrow to narrow
  • Ask dancers to observe their peers in groups to discover different ways of performing this task
  • Play with irregular tempo
  • Ask dancers to use different levels and/or mobility devices
  • Introduce a/symmetry, turned out, parallel and balances to extend score elements

Observation Tasks

  • What options do the dancers use?
  • Do they use the same options throughout, or are they expanding their possibilities and making discoveries?
  • What other possibilities would you like the dancers to explore?
  • What information do they need to do that?