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I have been working so hard at my rotation and extensions, and both seem to have gone nowhere! I know it is absolutely necessary to have very high extensions it each direction on both legs to make it professionally. It seems to me like once you get past 90 degrees they would be easier to hold. Mine to the front are 90 and side are a bit higher (without lifting my hip), and back is fine but not exquisite. I keep hoping to wake up one day and suddenly be able to get my leg next to my ear with no effort but this obviously is not going to happen. What would you suggest as they best thing to improve extensions? If it is a flexibility issue, should one stretch every single day for a long time? Would I see an improvement if I did so or am I doomed with 90 degree extensions forever??? :)

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  • Administrators

No way for us to know, balletstar, but since you are still under 16 I think, it may well still change for you. Stretching is helpful, of course, and must always be continued if you do not have natural flexibility. But as you gain technique and strength, and reach your full growth, there well could be a major improvement in your extension.

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It's not even that I am not flexible. I mean, I'm not super flexible, but I can get my legs to around 160 degrees on grand battements, and I can do the splits and when we stretch a la seconde (you know, hand on foot and bring leg up next t ear, I think my teachers call i something else... a la monde or something?) Well I can do that quite well but when it comes time to let go and hold our legs mine drops dramatically! Also, my extension to the side is not directly side, is this a rotation problem?

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Sounds like you have more flexibility than strength right now, which is not terribly unusual. That will come, with patience and more work, of course ;)


(The exercise you described is called pied de la main, or jambe à la main, which means foot in the hand or leg in the hand :D )


Leg not directly to the side, if it is well placed and turned out, is far better, IMO of course, than one that is directly to the side but not rotated. Naturally we work to get it as far side as possible, but not to the point of losing alignment or especially rotation! There are some teachers who insist on 180º, however, I find this is rarely possible with most people unless they let go of the rotation, which just makes no sense to me.

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Guest Peregrin Took

Yes, I agree that having a well-placed developpe, for example, will feel and look much better than an 180 degree to the side developpe where the hips are askew and the body is fighting to stay upright. Make sure, as you work on your extension exercises, that you maintain the rotation because this really provides the foundation of your movement. While doing what you described, what we call leg mounts, keeping the rotation at the level that I was capable of definitely kept me more stable and allowed me to hold my leg up there longer.

I discovered this working in the centre, through......:eek: the name escapes me at the moment. Anyhow, it involved lifting the stretched leg from a terre to a la seconde en l'air. I was falling all over the place trying to maintain the 180 degree angle but, as my teacher pointed out, as soon as I kept that hip down and rotated as far as I could (not as far as I wished to), my balance actually stayed with me :)

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