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Calypso Leap

Leaps are one of the greatest thrills in dance. Dancers appear to defy gravity as they soar through the air. Some people come equipped with a natural ability for jumping, whereas some have to work at it a little harder. Most leaps in dance require remarkable strength, coordination and an amplified range of motion to execute correctly, and a calypso leap is no exception to this rule. A calypso is a turning dance leap in which the working leg is brushed and held straight, while the back leg is held in the attitude position. Although the description alone may intimidate dancers, we are strong believers that practice makes perfect. We will provide you with our step-by-step approach on how to perform this dance leap, as well as enlighten you on how you can make your calypso more vibrant in no time by utilizing the Myosource Kinetic Bands.

How To Do a Calypso

Dancers must stretch before practicing or performing a calypso leap. Failing to stretch can easily result in a muscle strain or other types of injury. If you’re a newbie to the calypso leap, practice sitting in a calypso on the ground. This will allow you master the form of a calypso while also allowing you to acquire flexibility for the leap. You can also practice in front of a mirror to visually see what needs to be corrected or tweaked in order to achieve a flawless calypso leap from start to finish. For even greater improvement, seek feedback from an instructor or other dance critique and whole-heartedly put their knowledgeable advice into action. It may take a lot of practice to perfect your calypso leap, but it will come with time and persistence. Be patient with yourself as you follow the steps below.

  • Prepare your body by adequately stretching to aid in the deterrence of injuries
  • Initiate a calypso leap by starting in first position
  • Tendu the right leg (brush the foot along the floor with the leg straight without lifting the toe. This is done to warm up and stretch the muscles of the foot as a preparation for larger leg movements)
    Fondu the left leg (gradually bend the knee of this supporting leg. It is the same as a plie, but fondu means you do the plie on only one leg)
  • Tombe (fall from one leg to the other, landing with all the weight on the foot that has just moved, while flexing the knee) into a nice parallel chaine turn (a two-step turn where the body rotates 180 degrees on each step) in releve followed by a second chaine turn in deep plie. Weight should be in your left foot when you end the turn because that is what will give you the lift to come up off the floor
  • All at once your…
    • Right leg kicks up, fanning up and around to extend out to the side with your toes pointed
    • Left leg comes up arching back into an attitude (knee bent at an angle of 90 degrees and well turned out so that the knee is higher than the foot)
    Cambre (body is bent from the waist and stretching backward or sideways with the head following the movement of the upper body and arms). Keep body square to the audience with your chest open while suspended in the air.
    • The arm on the side of the raised leg is held over the head in a curved position while the other arm is extended to the side

    How to Improve Your Calypso Leap

    A deep plie is important for achieving the height a dancer needs to properly carry out a leap. A plie is simply a deep knee bend, and the last step dancers take before leaving the ground. The deeper the plie, the more power dancers will have in their legs to push off of the ground. No matter how many steps a dancer takes to prepare for the leap, it is most important that they really bend the knees to get as much power as they need to get high into the air. If dancers are new to this skill, they should try backing off the extension and concentrate on height and proper placement (including turnout) first. Once they get that, dancers can start to slowly increase their extension. The goal is for height, upper body projection and extension to all hit their maximum at the same time. Once a dancer can do an incredible leap with miraculous height and attractive projection, only then should they start to increase their extension gradually. If dancers find themselves sacrificing good technique in order to get more leg extension, they should back off. With practice, dancers will get there, but it will take time.

    Dancers should be sure to look up as they go into their leap. If dancers look up, the rest of their body will follow. Looking down will keep a dancer low to the ground. As dancers approach their leap, they should fixate on a high spot in the distance and then aim to reach that spot. Our bodies naturally strive to meet the goals we set, so dancers need to set their goals high. Looking up will not only allow dancers to jump higher, but will also make for a prettier leap. Also, dancers need to practice exhaling on the leap instead of holding their breath.

    What goes up must come down, so landing cannot be avoided. A leap is not complete until it is landed safely. Once again, a deep plie will be helpful. The goal for the landing will be to hit the floor as softly, and quietly, as possible. Dancers should never come out of a leap with straight knees, as doing so will almost always result in an injury. Dancers should roll through their feet-toe, ball, and heel, as landings should also never be done with a flat foot. Dancers should begin thinking about their landing as soon as their feet leave the ground. Mentally preparing the legs to absorb the weight during the landing will really make a difference.

    Body Conditioning for a Colorful Calypso

    In order to master the execution of innovative leaps, dancers must work to physically condition their body for such a talent. Besides learning and mastering the proper form for each type of dance leap, dancers can take their skills, scores and confidence to a new level by training the body to create higher leaps. Increasing dancers functional ability to powerfully explode off of the ground for higher leaps and therefore longer air time should be a goal for all dancers who strive to be the best they can possibly be. Strong legs, hip flexors and glutes are what allow dancers to blast off the ground and soar to new heights with elegance and poise. Dancers can train with the Myosource Kinetic Bands to aid in the development of leg and core strength while instantaneously perfecting their leap technique. Because the Myosource Kinetic Bands fit just above the knees, dancers can perform leaps and other dance specific skills with full range of motion while resistance is enforced on every movement. The resistance aids to fire and evenly build up the specific muscles used for each dance leap while also forming muscle memory.

    Flexibility is another important aspect of a dancers success during leaps. It’s vitally important that muscles are properly stretched and supple before practicing or performing leaps or other dance movements. As we discussed, different leaps utilize different muscles, so it is crucial to dedicate time for stretching during warm up and after any activity to relax the specific muscle groups. Resistance training with Myosource Kinetic Bands is an effective way to warm up the muscles and increase flexibility faster. Increasing flexibility will help reduce the stress imposed on dancers muscles and tendons, prevent injuries and improve overall performance. In a controlled and safe manner, dancers will improve their range of motion by lengthening the muscle and connective tissue around each joint with the support and guidance of the resistance bands.

    There is no shortcut to become skilled in the areas of flexibility, strength and body control- it takes hard work! - And this turning leap is impossible without each of these. For unlimited access to strength exercises, core exercises, center floor exercises and stretches, purchase our DVD Body Conditioning for Dancers with Kinetic Bands.

    Link back to dance main page for resistance training information, tips, aids, and videos

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