Mel Johnson

Extension

40 posts in this topic

Hello GetThePointe?, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :)

 

Your question has been asked many, many times here on Ballet Talk, and the answer is always the same....patience and more work! The flexibility comes before the strength, generally, and it just takes more time, physical maturity, and a lot of work, but it will get there! :yes:

 

 

Thanks Victoria Leigh!! I'll try to improve on my left leg strength.

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hi everybody-

I have been having trouble with my extensions since I was pretty little, and it seems like no matter what excercizes I do, I can never really get my leg up to par with the rest of my class. :) Does anyone have any tips on other excercizes I could do to help this problem???

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TechniqueFreak, have you read this thread? There is so much advice on extension here. If you do not understand it might help to ask a more specific question stating your particular problem.

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sorry vrsfanatic, I will go back and read the start of the thread again before I ask another question.

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I have hyperextended knees, it's very nice to have in some ways, but I can't even put my feet together with them touching. I enjoy it though because of the nice extension factor though, but it's very annoying at the barre when we travel into the first possion. :thumbsup:

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I'm a little bit confused because I have a friend in my class who is my age whos extension 1 year was about 90 degrees in class always even at the end of the year. After the summer, we came back and her extension is right up against her body (to the side), and it looks just about perfectly turned out and everything. It was very odd because usually it takes a long time for extension to build... not just one summer right?

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It depends entirely on the individual. Some people make slow, steady gains to full extension, other have it happen all of a sudden. I know not how to predict which one any particular student is. And then of course, there are the ones who will never get there at all. :)

 

If it's any comfort, I was one of those people who had it happen all of a sudden. From 12-16, nothing out of the ordinary, but correct. Then I turned 17, and I was sticking my kneecap into my ear.

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There seems to be some sort of general confusion when the term "extension" is used, as to just what is meant. When the term is used anatomically, it means one thing, when it's used to describe ballet technique, it means another.

 

Anatomically, the term "extension" means the degree of travel of a joint. In legs, HYPERextension (hyper=too much) usually refers to the knee joint coming to full travel in back of straight. HYPOextension (hypo=not enough) usually refers to the knee joint coming to full travel in front of straight. Viewed from straight ahead, in sixth position, first neutral, feet side-by-side and touching, you can't tell hyperextension from hypoextension from a straight leg unless there are lots of shadows!

 

In ballet technique, when we talk about extension, we talk about how high and how well you can stick your leg up in the air!

 

Confusion comes about when you consider that an anatomically hyperextended dancer will usually have good balletic extension, but anatomical hyperextension is not necessary for good developpés! Nor does having knees that "lock in back of themselves" guarantee that you can automatically stick your leg 'way up in the air!:yes:

 

Responses or questions to this topic need not be limited to teens.

 

Is there a way to "fix" hypo extended knees? mine are and my ballet teachers always say to make sure that our knees toutch in first position but i can't. it really bugs me.

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If the knees don't meet in first, that is a structural thing, and the only thing you can do about it is to work very hard on your rotation, and on exercises to straighten the knees. The better use of rotation that you have, the less hypo extended they will look. Whether you can make them straighten or not is very individual. In some cases, with enough work, it can be done. In others, it cannot be done. No way to know until you work at it long enough.

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Another thing to think about is that actual skeletal hypoextension is relatively rare! Most "hypoextension" is actually caused by soft structures like the lower hamstrings and their tendons not being stretched enough! See the above thread for the "tennis ball option".

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