As in rond de jambe a terre, in grand rond de jambe the foot describes an arc from the front to the back or the back to the front, but now your foot is lifted off of the floor. The working leg could be anywhere from 45 to 90 degrees or higher, as long as the dancer can maintain her alignment.
Grand rond de jambe normally starts with a developpe and then instead of taking the leg down to the floor again, the dancer carries the leg around in whichever direction is called for.
Here is a video of a dancer doing a demi grand rond de jambe, which is only taking the leg half way around before putting the foot on the floor. The video isn’t in english, but the dancer gives a good demonstration.
In the video below this male dancer shows off his strength when he does a grand rond de jambe from the front to the back, and then the back to the front without putting his foot onto the floor in between.
What is the Purpose of a Grand Rond de Jambe?
The grand rond de jambe is often performed on stage, mainly by female dancers when they do pas de deux (dancing with a partner). The grand rond de jambe is not only a spectacular looking step but also a great exercise. It builds and requires great strength and control of the hip joints. You are trained to realign yourself correctly and challenges your balance during the big movements of the fully extended working leg.
Tips for doing a Great Grand Rond de Jambe
- Start the leg low and work for height only when you have full control of the movement.
- Focus on maintaining a strong, pulled-up supporting side.
- Maintain proper placement of the hips.
- Move your upper body slightly forward when your leg moves behind you.
- Let the hand slide along the bar when the leg goes behind you.
- Feel the length of the leg, and feel as if it is growing longer out of your hip socket. You should feel this the whole time as the leg goes around.
- The working leg needs to stay at a consistent height, especially from the side to the back and vice versa.
- Engage your core muscles throughout.
- Don’t let your pelvis move too much, only to accommodate the leg.
- Make sure to stretch often so that you can work towards a greater height of the leg eventually.
- Work the turnout of the working leg. This is especially difficult when bringing the foot from the back to the side. Keep the heel of the working foot pushed towards the front at all times.
And let me leave you with this quote from August Bournonville
“It is not so much upon the number of exercises, as the care with which they are done, that progress and skill depend. ”