A Grand Jeté is a term that stems from classical ballet. However, it is a type of leap utilized and modified by many dance forms today. In grand jeté the initiating leg is thrown to 90º angle and is immediately followed by a similar throwing of the supporting leg, creating the image of an arabesque or attitude suspended in mid-air. A preparatory movement like glissade or couru (running) precedes the grand jeté, propelling the dancer upward and typically forward, although grand jeté can also be executed backward. Either way, the ultimate goal of a grand jeté is hitting a beautiful full split in the air with the perfect combination of stretch and strength.
Grand jeté’s are the human bodies chance to fly. No other step gives dancers such magnificent hang time in the air. While a grand jeté appears effortless, this high leap requires expert coordination and a strong technical foundation. Therefore, once you gain more muscle strength, you’ll be able to achieve a bigger and higher grand jeté. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of strength to stick this position high in the air and with correct alignment but don’t fear, we have the tips and training aids to make achieving a grand jeté safer, quicker and with greater ease than ever before.
Grand jetés can be executed very differently given the context of it. You can grand jeté in a soaring fashion, or in a darting fashion, depending on the choreography and the amount of time you have. “Soaring” grand jetés are all about height and tend to take up at least a few counts of the music. “Darting” grand jetés, on the other hand, are quicker and lower to the ground.
Either way, you will start out by doing a sache then go down into a demi plie. From there, you’re going to developpe the back leg, bend at the knee and stretch it straight out while at the same time quickly brushing back the supporting leg and lifting arms into either a third position arabesque, lengthened into fourth position or high up into fifth position. Make sure you are pointing your feet fully and your legs are fully extended when you are in this position in the air.
Allow the legs to split further by achieving greater range of motion with increased flexibility by taking advantage of training with the Myosource Kinetic Bands. Safety while stretching is crucial and can be achieved by utilizing the resistance bands, especially to warm up the muscles in the back, legs, the hip flexors (the muscles in front of the hip that lengthen when your leg is extended behind) as well as the inner thigh, and hamstrings. We recommend doing the following stretch while wearing the Myosource Kinetic Bands in order to achieve greater flexibility. Learn more stretches utilizing the resistance bands by purchasing our DVD, Body Conditioning for Dancers with Kinetic Bands.
Used to help deepen the flexibility of your quads and your hamstrings
-Stand in first position with hips turned out
-Draw one leg back and go into a nice deep lunge position (always making sure that your front knee is directly above your ankle)
-Keeping your back leg straight, grab the resistance band and pull it behind you (this will add increased resistance to help you really deepen that stretch)
Minimum of 1 minute
Adding the resistance bands to your dance training will aid to improve the strength in your hamstrings and gluts. Many dancers experience a difficult time when trying to get the back leg to lift off the ground into a grand jeté. The resistance will help by targeting and activating the muscles down the back of the leg, also known as the hip extensors, firing them strongly and quickly for an explosive leap. Using the resistance bands while practicing your dégagé and grand battement to the back with a sharp accent will greatly enhance the facilitation of this firing action. We recommend doing the following strengthening exercise while wearing the Myosource Kinetic Bands in order to achieve increased strength. Gain access to more of our prescribed exercises for strength building with resistance bands by purchasing our DVD, Body Conditioning for Dancers with Kinetic Bands.
Reinforce straight leg and a pointed foot on your back leg to help in jumps
Strengthen gluts and hamstrings to get that back leg way up into the sky
-Start in 1st position with both hips turned out
-Reach for the floor
-Take one leg and bring it out to a tendu position, pointing and straightening
-Walk your hands as close to your standing leg as you can
-Battement up and down
-After a few reps, hold up in air and pulse it
-Hold in panche
-Tendu down and stand up
2 sets of 8
pulse for 1 count of 8
Hold penche 1 count of 8
Repeat on other side
In addition to powerful legs, you need a strong, supported core to help you stay pulled together throughout the jump. A weak core puts you at risk for collapsing into your lower back. Also, try not to resist letting the torso lag behind your legs, which makes it look like you’re “bucking” the jump. Working on your core strength and alignment will allow the body to move through the air in one piece so that energy can be directed exclusively to powering the leap and not used on trying to hold things together. In order to free the limbs for movement and safely execute jumps and leaps, build up a strong core through training with the Myosource Kinetic Bands. We recommend doing the following core strengthening exercise while wearing the resistance bands in order to achieve greater core strength. Discover more exercises for increasing core strength with the resistance bands by purchasing our DVD, Body Conditioning for Dancers with Kinetic Bands.
Works the quads, abs and core
-Lying flat on your back, lift the shoulders and the head up off the floor (while executing this movement, please make sure the lower spine always stays on the floor)
-Kick one leg up and grab it (make sure hips are turned out and knees are straight) to really stretch those hamstrings)
-Release it and switch legs (always make sure that when the leg comes down, it doesn’t hit the floor)
-Take a set grabbing the leg
-Take the next set reaching hands towards the floor (lifting shoulders even higher off the floor)
-Set grabbing again
-Set with hands reaching towards the floor
-Continue alternating sets from grabbing the leg to reaching towards the floor
8 counts with hands
8 counts without hands
rest and repeat
As a final tip, we recommend the dancer perform with breathe to movement. As the dancer reaches the height of their grand jeté, they should take a deep breath, embracing the present moment and the special feeling of just being in the air.