kattnosipp

Back flexibility

21 posts in this topic

Do you have any tips on how to increase the flexibilty of the back?

 

Thanks

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Hello, kattnosip, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :unsure:

 

"Back flexibility" is kind of a global subject. Can you narrow down the field a little? What are you having trouble doing?

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I would like to know what I can do to increase the flexibility in my upper back so that I can do better placed port de bras back at the barre. My lower back is hyper mobile and I tend to bend from there rather than beginning the back bend from the upper back.

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I have that problem too - I'm always bending from too far down. :angry: So I'm really interested in the answers given.

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As far as bending back from the top and not from the lower back, that is just a matter of going up and over instead of just back. Lift your head and look up at your arm and follow it back. Hold the middle of your body and take your arm, head and chest back. Feel like you are taking your chest back. The bending starts at the top of the head. The lower back should not collapse and the pelvis does not move.

 

It's not a matter of flexibility, but of doing it correctly.

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I'm having the same sort of issues... I am trying to improve my back flexibility seriously since last year. If I do a seal, I get to about 90degrees, but all the bending is done by the most extreme lower back, whilst my upper back is almost perfectly straight. My ultimate goal is to do a needle, however, I can't see this happening in the near future. I don't think I have any back problems, but I do have a fairly sway back, but most of the time I can straighten my back. Is anyone able to help me here with some advice or stretches?? Thanks and good luck to everyone :)

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xomistyxo welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. I apologize, but I am unfamiliar with the names of the stretches you are discussing, therefore it is a bit difficult to understand what you are able to accomplish. As for increasing the flexibility in your back please also remember you must strengthen you back. Working on flexibility must also include a program to ensure strengthening your back.

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I was just typing exactly the same thing about not knowing what seals and needles are, and how they relate to ballet, when vrsfanatic said it for me! :) And of course she is very right about the strengthening, too.

 

Misty, working correctly, from alignment to knowing HOW to bend backwards is key. Check out my old post, above. And alignment is key to correcting a sway back, and if it can be done 'most of the time', it can be done all of the time. It's a matter of focus and habit, and to correct a bad habit, you create a new one, which would be not giving in to the sway at all! :)

 

Since you are new here, I'm going to ask you to please read the descriptions of the forums, and the topics about how we work here. They can be found in the "Pinned" topic at the top of all of the forums. Age category for young dancers is specific to those ages, so, for instance, if you are not a parent or a teacher, you can't post in those forums, and if you are not 17, you need to check out the YD 13-16 forum. If you are 17 or above, but maybe a beginning dancer, check out the Adult Ballet Students forum, as there is a lot of help and many more topics for dancers newer to ballet available there.

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Pretty sure the seal is just laying on the floor on your stomach and using your hands to push your back up. I actually would like to hear the answer to her question because I bend from the lower back whilst doing it, too.

 

I just ran a search on the forums for the needle stretch and came up with an ancient topic describing it, which confirmed what I thought (funnily enough, it didn't turn up the actual topic I remember describing it, which I believe was from about a year ago). The needle is basically this....ouch! :ermm:

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Yuck! Check out the lower back position. I think it is similar, though not as extreme, in the seal. I don't like either one of those things for ballet. :(

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I can't believe you didn't mention the oversplit.

 

I do have to do the seal in jazz, though. (I don't like that name, I prefer to just call it a back stretch, but whatever) Is it dangerous? My body forms an L shape; it doesn't go any farther than that when I do it.

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Well, I have talked about oversplits a whole lot on this board. That particular stretch is worse because of what it is does to the lower back. :(

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So much that I take it for granted you'll mention them, apparently. I cringed when I found that picture because I knew you'd hate it, but it was one of the only *good* ones I could find that showed the position well.

 

By pinching the lower back? In academic terms only (no way I'd ever do this even if I were flexible enough, but inquiring minds...and also, if I end up teaching, I'm going to need a reason if I ever have to tell a student to stop), how exactly does it hurt you, and what long-term effects would it have?

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As for long term effects, that is a difficult one to answer. Everyone is different. The problem with the photo is that it is not balletic at all. Outside of perhaps choreographically someone might use is in Arabian in Nutcracker without the over split ( I have seen it is quite a few), it is not something one really needs. The other side of it is that if one does end up needing it, without the oversplit, if one practices arabesques correctly over a long period of time, the stretch in the photo is not something one needs to practice in order to achieve it.

 

If I am picturing the seal correctly in my mind, done correctly, it is not a bad thing to do to help to increase upper and middle back flexibility.

Edited by vrsfanatic
wrong wording

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Ok, thanks, Ms Schneider. That does make sense.

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