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Split back leg turned in or out?

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diane
Redbookish: "And sitting for 10-12 hours at a stretch "

 

That's an impressive way of getting flexible.

 

Jim.

 

 

:) I thought exactly the same thing when I first read that. :dry:

 

-d-

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Redbookish

Schade, nicht! I meant of course, sitting at my desk not stretching!

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Mimi-wimi

You should NEVER turn your back leg out when doing the splits and I will tell you why.

1) Turning the back leg out during the splits does not provide a deep enough stretch, if you want to increase flexibility as well as muscle strength, your knee and foot should face the floor.

2) The human body was never meant to be in a turned out position. You will put a lot of pressure on the hip sockets if you do turn your back leg out during the splits.

3) With the splits your pelvis is meant to touch the floor, if you turn your leg out, it lifts the pelvis.

P.S. My ballet teacher was a professional ballerina for Vienna Festival Ballet and The Australian Ballet; she keeps her foot and knee facing the floor.

I also do rhythmic gymnastics and the rhythmic-ballet teacher also keeps her knee and foot facing the floor.

Hope this helped!

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Redbookish

Mimi-Wimi, if you read the whole thread, you'll see that several teachers of very long experience have commented directly (this is an old thread) about whether the back leg should be parallel or turned out. They don't give such a strong recommendation as you do, and I think it might be worth re-reading their posts. You'll see Major Mel, Clara, and Diane all say that a) splits aren't ballet; and b ) if we're working on splits, we should be working towards flexibility for either legs in parallel or legs turned out.

The important thing is working out what you aim is in doing the splits - they're not necessary for ballet training, actually, and the kind of combination of flexibility & strength you're aiming for. For example, it's increasingly acknowledged that the deep strong stretching for flexibility shouldn't be done in the middle of a class - that sort of extended hyperstretching that gets us to the splits etc, actually breaks & weakens muscle fibre, whereas ballet class is aimed at strengthening muscles to work effectively. Hyperstretching into the splits etc should be done at the end of one's dancing day.

Your statement 2) re turn out, perhaps suggests that perhaps as you're coming  to ballet from a rhythmic gymnastics background, you have a different approach to ballet. Developing and holding turn out, for the development of the ballet "line" of the body, is a fundamental part of ballet training!

So your absolutely "NEVER" statement is not really accurate or helpful - it may be how you work your body - but you'll see that the teachers' advice upthread is much more moderate and aimed at developing ease with a variety of positions.

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Redbookish

Just to say, I've had to hide a post, as it contained misleading medical advice at second hand. We try to keep the information on this board of high quality and drawn from first-hand experience.

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Victoria Leigh

Referring back to Mimi-wimi's post before the one that was hidden I will explain why I disagree with the poster. 

While outward rotation of the legs is not exactly a "natural" thing, it is definitely an achievable thing, in varying degrees depending on physical structure, and with correct instruction.  Ballet is an art form which requires outward rotation from the hips. (Dancing on pointe is not exactly a "natural" thing either!)  

Splits are used to stretch in ballet. They are not about sitting flat on the floor. They are about stretching the legs for more flexibility.  Doing them with rotation might mean that some people will not achieve a "perfect" split. The weight is supported on the hands, and the degree of split and rotation are controlled.  "Getting a split" is really not the goal, even though most people seem to think it is. The goal is to stretch in the position that will be needed for the lines of ballet. The open hip is not lifted, it's just opened, as it is for arabesques and attitudes and grand jetés!  If done correctly, supported, and controlled, and when one is fully warmed up, they are not damaging.  Oversplits certainly can be dangerous, and I totally disagree with their use in classical ballet training. 

 

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Mimi-wimi
13 hours ago, Victoria Leigh said:

Referring back to Mimi-wimi's post before the one that was hidden I will explain why I disagree with the poster. 

While outward rotation of the legs is not exactly a "natural" thing, it is definitely an achievable thing, in varying degrees depending on physical structure, and with correct instruction.  Ballet is an art form which requires outward rotation from the hips. (Dancing on pointe is not exactly a "natural" thing either!)  

Splits are used to stretch in ballet. They are not about sitting flat on the floor. They are about stretching the legs for more flexibility.  Doing them with rotation might mean that some people will not achieve a "perfect" split. The weight is supported on the hands, and the degree of split and rotation are controlled.  "Getting a split" is really not the goal, even though most people seem to think it is. The goal is to stretch in the position that will be needed for the lines of ballet. The open hip is not lifted, it's just opened, as it is for arabesques and attitudes and grand jetés!  If done correctly, supported, and controlled, and when one is fully warmed up, they are not damaging.  Oversplits certainly can be dangerous, and I totally disagree with their use in classical ballet training. 

 

Arabesques are meant to be turned out, it's part of the art form. That doesn't relate to splits. 

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Victoria Leigh

Actually, it does relate to splits when they are used for that purpose in a ballet class. If you look at a grand jeté, executed by  a professional  who is able to achieve that split in the air, the back leg is just as turned out as the front leg. Not all will achieve the full 180 degrees, but even when they don't the back leg must still be rotated. The line of arabesque must still be there. 

 

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cosjo

My teacher says to keep the legs turned in when doing the splits to stretch more the upper thigh..

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Mimi-wimi

Yep, exactly. I asked my ballet teacher this recently and she said "during the splits, turning the back leg out is cheating as it doesn't provide a deep enough stretch, it should always be turned in and it creates a better line". 

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Mimi-wimi
On 9/21/2017 at 1:12 PM, Victoria Leigh said:

Actually, it does relate to splits when they are used for that purpose in a ballet class. If you look at a grand jeté, executed by  a professional  who is able to achieve that split in the air, the back leg is just as turned out as the front leg. Not all will achieve the full 180 degrees, but even when they don't the back leg must still be rotated. The line of arabesque must still be there. 

 

Ok but I'm talking about the splits stretch, not when the leg is turned out during a grand jete or an arabesque. 

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Victoria Leigh

And I'm talking about the use of splits as a stretch for classical ballet line.  We will just need to agree to disagree. 

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Redbookish

The point has been made by several expert teachers that flexibility needs to be -well, flexible! That dancers need to be able to do the splits as training in whichever position is required for the specific movement (ballet, gymnastics etc).

The differences between ballet training, and other forms of movement have also been explained. So I'm going to close this thread - which was very old anyway. If members have further specific questions about training for flexibility in ballet, then we welcome them in the Adult Ballet Students section of the board 🙂 

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