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Ballerinas: Arabesque

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The arabesque (air-uh-BESK) is one of the most beautiful and graceful positions a ballerina can create in ballet. The dancer makes straight lines with her legs and arms. Her body is supported on one leg while the other leg is extended horizontally backward. The standing leg can be either straight or bent, but the back leg must always be straight, either on the ground or raised in the air.

There are several different versions of arabesque that are defined by the position of the dancer’s arms. In first arabesque, the arm that is on the same side as the supporting leg is extended out in front of her body with the other arm extended on the side or towards the diagonal back. In second arabesque, the arm that is on the same side as the back leg is extended out in front of her body and the arm on the side of the supporting leg is to the side or diagonal back. In third arabesque, a dancer has both arms extended in front of her body with the arm on the same side as the supporting leg slightly higher than the other so that the hand is anywhere between the top of her head to a foot above her head.

The ballerina can always achieve a good arabesque by remembering to turn out her legs and feet, stretch her legs, point her toes, and keep her stomach muscles strong. Beverly

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