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I have a problem with symmetry between my left and right sides. To some extent, this is quite normal : one cannot expect to do things with equal facility from one side to the other. But to what extent should one expect the end results to be the same from one side to the other?


My problem arises from the fact that the gap between what I can do on one side and what I can do on the other side is increasing rapidly despite all my efforts to perform more or less equaly on both sides. Examples:


I can do a fairly good triple pirouette en dehors, with decent landing, on my right side, but would'nt even dream of doing it on my left side. Same for arabesque en tournant, pirouette en dedans, tour en l'air, and so on. Seams that on one side, everything just comes out easy while on the other side, there is always some struggling involved.


What should be one's realistic attitude towards symmetry, apart from trying to reach perfection as much as possible? Is there a technical level of dificulty past which achieving decent symmetry is no more a goal or a problem?


To express it in some other way, in my mind right now, my right side is setting the standard and my left side is trying to catch up. Should I just relax, and work both sides equally and let the results be what they be? Or maintain the tension and push hard on my left side?


Tanks for the help,



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Guest grace



my initial advice would be to commence all (or most) exercises on your NON-dominant side. you'll have to have an understanding teacher and classmates - and enough room in the studio not to have collisions! - but there IS some evidence that this strategy has beneficial effects.


good luck! :)

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Uh...grace, you've just walked in unannounced on the Men's Lounge. Not the best form.


Nonetheless, Richard, that strategy is a workable one. If you attack the combinations from the less-cooperative side first, you will first, be fresher to work on the technique, and then just toss off the material when it goes to the other side. If circumstances do not permit this arrangement, Still, just relax on the side to which you have security, and then go after the other side "with great vigor" as Muriel Stuart used to say. Funny how one little phrase made such a difference to me in balancing out the sides and handling tours en l'air and such. You do mention "tension" - I might dismiss that thought when dancing, whatever side the combination goes toward. (Oh, and one more thing, sometimes teachers give a really difficult combination to one side only. Ask that it be repeated to the other if that happens.):)

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Guest grace

oops - sorry, mel - i knew it was for men, but didn't think it was men ONLY.


i'd delete my post - but that might not make sense, now.


humble apologies. :)

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Personally, I think all movement to the left should be banned in dance.


Seriously, beginning on the left side might help some. So too might repeating left side combinations more frequently than right side combinations. The risk you run in doing that is that you might just heighten your frustration if all that effort doesn’t close the gap between right and left sides. There is a conventional wisdom in development that says you should always work your weaknesses, but I am not convinced that is true. All you can do is experiment and find out.


Though an ideal, I think perfect symmetry is impossible for at least 80% of the world. It is like throwing a baseball or writing. Most of us have a preferred arm no matter how much we might try to use the other. When I was very young, parents of left handed children often tried to make their kids right handed, especially when it came to things like writing. But despite things like practicing right handed and avoiding using the left hand, kids still preferred their left hands.


One side is better than the other. So what? God made most of us that way. The world is asymmetric. If you must create a standard for performance, why not create the standard on your weak side and soak up the pleasure of being extra good when you do something on your strong side. It seems to me by doing that you can avoid feeling bad about your weak side. Easier said than done, I know.

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(just kidding Grace)


I would spend some time after class working on your submissive side. My left releve is truly bad, I practice them while brushing my teeth and whenever I have to stand. My right arch is perfect, releve is easy. 10 times harder on left.



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You've got a submissive side? You're lucky. Both of mine had minds of their own and had to be beaten into insensibility before I could do anything with either of them!;)

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Isn't submissive the opposite of dominant?

I'm going to try starting on my left side.



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In cases like these, it's like right-handedness or left-handedness. We don't say that a rightie has a submissive left hand, just a non-dominant one. I've known people, calligraphers, mostly, who have trained themselves to be ambidextrous, so even -handedness can be trained over!

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Hi guys,


Back to the board again...I've been quite busy lately.


It seams that my asymmetry problem has been solving itself "by itself" during the past few days, but not at all the way I would have liked it to : I'm leveling by the bottom. My dominant side is now the one which is reaching the non-dominant one.


Back to normal business I would say. I don't know how to explain this; it seems that for some period of time, almost anything that I would try to do on my dominant side would just come out good : triple pirouette en dehors (almost quad at one time), double tour en arabesque, double pirouette en dedans. etc... Every technical aspect of the movements seemed to fall in place the proper way, at the proper moment, without even having to think about it. All I had to do was to concentrate on spotting and throw myself into the move, and that was it.


But this has all vanished lately so I'm back to basics, building things from bottom up. One thing this has enabled me to pin however is that my dificulties on one side were not that much due to "natural asymmetry" but to a technical defect that was installing itself almost without being noticed. This has to do with the proper placement of my left ankle on relevés causing a problem with anything that required a strong supporting leg. So I'm also working on this now.


But most important however : I now know for sure that some day, I will be able to do a quad pirouette en dehors, and a double arabesque en tournant, and all these beautyfull moves I had a taste at. Because I've done them...



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You're reporting a very familiar phenomenon. Sometimes when you make a correction fo something, it can throw everything off! But it's not unbeatable - you find your new "center" and things start to work on both sides again. Congratulations, this is a major step in the right direction!

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