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sitting into supporting leg


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Hope this is the right place for technique questions. I have a question about placement in the hips. My knees are slightly hyperextended and I have a lot of trouble getting my weight forward and not "sitting" back. For years, I tested my weight distribution by lifting my heels off the ground but this seems to be wrong. In tendu front, I *seem* to have no weight on my heel whatsoever, yet my standing leg still leans back like this: . My teacher is constantly telling me to get my weight forward on the supporting side, yet I still can't seem to do it right. My extensions a la seconde are really low although I seem to have an easier time front and back. I have a feeling that the problem stems from a lack of abdominal strength (which I'm working on) as well as weakness in my turnout. If I try and lift the front of my hips, I think I'm over-doing it and tucking under. When my teacher helps to place me correctly, it feels like I can't even move! Are there any helpful visualizations or excersizes which could help me figure this out? Any suggestions are welcome. I'm getting a bit frustrated.

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Hello lampwick, and welcome to the Adult Ballet Students' forum here on Ballet Alert! Online :rolleyes:


Hyperextension does create placement problems, but this is really something that needs to be corrected by a teacher who understands the problem and can help you to find the right weight placement for your body. It's a "hands on" type of thing. It needs to be corrected by someone who can see you and help you to find and feel the right place. If your teacher is not making this clear, then I think you might need to find another teacher who can help you attain the right placement, as that is of course totally crucial to learning ballet technique. With hyperextension, having the weight forward to prevent sitting in the hips and "giving in" to the hyperextension, is very important. Sometimes it might even feel like your knees are not totally straight, but they should look straight. Sometimes it is necessary to have a space between the heels in first postion, and a very tiny space in the fifth position as well, but this is not something we can correct without seeing you.

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Victoria Leigh,

Thanks for the welcome and the advice. After navigating the open class system in New York for quite some time, I managed to find an amazing teacher who actually gives many hands-on corrections. She is absolutely dedicated to helping dancers achieve what is possible for them. I am getting some help in the classroom for my technical problems. First thing we did was to get my tendu correct.


For many years (about 15) I had been pulling away from my working side and/or sinking back into my hip. Over the past five months of working with this woman, a million lightbulbs have gone on for me. I am learning to work in a totally different manner. I am shocked that for 15 years (with several different teachers) I had never learned how to tendu in a manner that would strengthen my rotation.


I have already noticed a nice loose feeling in my extensions front and my adagio is 100 percent more stable. The wobbles are going away. I know it's a matter of building strength in my core before I am able to fully hold and maintain correct placement.


The problem is muscle memory I guess? I think I still have to be very conscious of how I'm working, and have a tendency to over-compensate. My leg still goes back, and I bring my hips forward, resulting in a slight tuck. I am still trying to find where to "fit" my leg into the hip and hold the entire structure as one piece without feeling like my weight is too far forward. I *suspect* that a greater awareness of my abdominals and back will facilitate this. And some more flexibility. Like you said, a teacher needs to help me find this placement. My teacher does occasionally place me correctly, yet it feels so unnatural (even by ballet standards). There's no doubt in my mind that she is correct, and I simply lack strength. I am working on that diligently and have seen improvement on almost a class-to-class basis. My teacher is always commenting on how much I've improved.


I guess I just want instant results:rolleyes: Really, I'm just very interested in hearing of any mental excercises or visualizations that teachers may know of to help erase bad habits. There's always the split second of working incorrectly before I catch myself. And I'm sure I'm still working incorrectly in fast combinations. I have quite a bit of training under my belt so it's pretty hard to erase bad habits. I'm trying to start from scratch. Intellectually, I'm there, but autonomically, not. Does that make sense?


I understand that you can't correct the technical problem over the internet, without seeing me and without knowing what level I'm at, what my background is, etc... So I guess I'll just open up my question to anything relating to visualization, breathing, etc..for getting rid of bad habits. I know there's no one answer. Just want to see what people say about this. Thanks. And sorry for being so long-winded. Just re-disovering ballet again after a five-year hiatus and I'm obsessed over every little detail. This time around, I want to educate myself as much as possible.

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Oh, I just noticed you ran a school with a James Franklin? Is that the same James Franklin who was at Ballet New England in Portsmouth, NH? I took his class for a a little while after graduating from UNH and enjoyed it quite a bit.

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