Female dancers with muscular legs
Posted 04 December 2006 - 02:49 PM
My teacher keeps saying that ballet helps to build muscle in the legs. Most people are happy about that, but it's enough to make me run back out the door crying at the prospect of more muscle. I'm afraid to do jumps, which is sad because they are my strongest point. I'm thinking maybe I should not be doing ballet and should do aerobics or something instead.
For all this talk about muscle and how it's good, I've never seen a single dancer (female) with muscular legs, except for the sinewy, all bone and a bit of muscle types. Does anyone know of any dancers with muscley legs?
Posted 04 December 2006 - 03:16 PM
Posted 04 December 2006 - 04:04 PM
Think like Pilates...
Hmmm, off the top of my head, some dancers.... and some may disagree with me... I agree with Feijoo, Darcey Bussell, Maria K (abbreviated so I don't massacre the last name, but from NYCB), last time I saw Alicia Armatrian (sp? of Stuttgart) I thought she had these nice defined legs, but I've seen pictures of her that vary..... , Leanne Benjamin of the Royal Ballet (so super strong, quick, lyrical... SIGH), Cynthia Gregory.....
Lauranne - the dancers' legs you are envisioning: they don't all have long strong legs because they were born like that. Yes, genetics plays a factor; but so does ballet training.
Posted 04 December 2006 - 05:20 PM
Marianne Joly: http://img.photobuck...klein/joly3.jpg
Can`t find the picture of Saidakova`s legs but they are like a soccer player`s legs! She still looks gorgeous on stage.
Also take Anastasia Volochkova- the russian dancer who was in the news a few years ago- she is *extremely* muscular- really she has shoulders like a female body builder- and still was a soloist with the Bolshoi for years.
Posted 04 December 2006 - 05:54 PM
Too Lazy to Look it Up. (Sylve on the right.)
That always makes me feel a lot better. Then I watch that outrageous clip of her turns from the Sugar Plum Fairy Coda.
Posted 04 December 2006 - 06:15 PM
I have what for a professional dancer would be fat and muscly legs, but they are strong, and they have great muscle definition, and in motion, they carry me and do what I need them to do. So I'm really happy with them overall.
I think Ami's right about how you train, and if I remember rightly, you haven't been learning ballet for long? Give your body time (years actually), and perhaps read up about anatomy and muscle types. Well defined & strong muscles enable you to jump & move quickly (I think it's called "fast twitch" muscles???). You can develop the longer muscles through proper slow careful training, careful alignment, and placenent, with - as Ami suggests - maybe a complementary training such as Pilates (or certain types of yoga perhaps?).
My pro ballet dancing sister had what were known as "soft muscles" in the profession, and it meant that she really had to keep up her training all the time, or she lost muscle tone. So she wouldn't have complained about muscle being defined!!
Posted 04 December 2006 - 06:23 PM
Yes, Dido, to Sylve! Can't believe I forgot her. And SFB's Muriel Maffre.
And, remember, that professional dancers train for HOURS a day for YEARS. The changes take time, but they happen.
Just yesterday, a few of us were talking about how our legs had changed since coming back to dance/starting dance.... and we're mainly a group of recreational dancers taking class just a few times a week.
Posted 04 December 2006 - 08:13 PM
Posted 05 December 2006 - 10:04 PM
My legs have changed a lot in the last year. They have leaned up a lot since I started taking more classes. I'm generally an athletic person who enjoys sports and all, so I also have the bulky legs. It doesn't help that I'm only 5'1!
But then, bear in mind that your muscular legs probably let you jump very well and feel better about that.
Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:30 AM
Speaking of legs and muscles, I saw an old picture of Melissa Hayden posted in our studio the other day. When I first looked at it, all I saw were muscles. I thought it was one of the guys from the Trocs at first, then I saw it was Hayden. I was kind of shocked. This picture made her look very muscular and manly.
Posted 06 December 2006 - 12:31 PM
Drew Jacoby Website
Click on "Dance", then the "Photos" link, and take a look, especially her "LINES" photos.
Patricia Barker (PNB Principal) is another dancer that comes to mind:
Patricia Barker Photo 1
Photo 3 (Scroll down).
Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:14 PM
Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:47 PM
That's great advice, all of it.
Je Danse--really concentrate on working all the way thru the leg and foot. It will give the illusion of longer, defined dancer legs. Plus it's just good technique ; ) Another trick--match the color of your tights to your shoes...Kind of like dressing to look taller/thinner! Also, if you wear a ballet skirt, where the skirt hits your thigh makes a big difference in how your legs look!! I'm sure your legs are just fine. Like Redbookish and Ami have so wisely said, it takes years to develop a dancer. Give yourself a break and be patient.
How about not wearing a skirt or warm-up shorts? The more of your legs that are showing, the better anyway.
Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:58 PM
Je danse, I hope you come back to this thread. I've posted this elsewhere I think, but I wanted to post this here too. I had some bad training for a while, the kind that had me push back into my slight hyper-extension, thus tilting my pelvis and swaying my back. Further, exercises were not constructive to the proper and efficient development of muscle for movement, especially ballet. the tops of my thighs got ugly bulky heavy. It looked horrid since I'm just barely over 5 feet, and am short torsoed. Like the wides/biggest part of my body was my thighs, and my rear.
I began taking more classes with another teacher, and we discussed both my concerns and what she could see in my body, and worked on them very specifically in class. The use of the floor, the alignment of the body, and the use of turnout (plus the lengthening ideas so wonderfully illustrated in words by sunyalila elsewhere) - made a huge difference. (Well, now I'm suffering from dissertation spread, but you know what I mean). To have enough classes I still go to a few 'awful' classes, but I internalise and use my own technical knowledge. Within a few months I noticed a difference, and it just got better. And, my legs were not just strong and long-muscled, but also just looked so much better in lines, etc.
This all isn't to say you are working wrong! Looking back at your question, it's not a technical one per se of how to avoid bulking up, but rather a fear that ballet inherently causes big muscles. But think about it - you've just noted that the dancers you've seen have nice long-looking features. They've trained for hours and hours for years and years and dance for hours and hours a day... are they big and bulky? No.... so, no fear, right?
Just do, go out there and dance your heart out!
Posted 06 December 2006 - 02:07 PM