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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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My daughter mentioned to me last night that her AD told her she was getting bowlegged. I was pretty surprised cause she always was so knock-kneed when she was younger. So I said, stand with your feet touching & let me see. Sure enough, her legs only touch at the very tip top of the thighs and at the ankles. The knees only have a small gap between them with a larger gap between the thighs & the calves. She also has mildly hyperextended knees. She is 12, is 5'3" and has very long limbs.


Is this something that is caused by working wrong or is is just her natural skeletal structure coming out? I haven't had a chance to talk to her instructor yet to see what she thinks.

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Hello Cricket,

As your daughter is just 12, I'm guessing that puberty hasn't quite hit and it's about to?? It sounds like she's not done growing and her body will still undergo some more changes. Being bowlegged is not really an issue, as long as she becomes very knowledgeable about how to treat her body to prevent injuries, and present the best line at the same time. I'd be more concerned about teaching her how to handle her hyperextended knees to avoid injury. You may want to check with her teacher to see what excercises they recommend for strengthening the quadriceps to protect her knees. If you're worried, a visit to the pediatrition will put your mind at ease I'm sure!! Just sounds like she may end up a bit bowlegged-won't hurt her at all. Nobody's perfect and we all have something that we have to work around to get the best end result!

Good Luck!

Clara :)

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What a nice combination, though. The proficiency in jumping and allegro generally found in bowlegged dancers, and the tendency toward good extension and balance found in the hyperextended.

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Is this something that is caused by working wrong or is is just her natural skeletal structure coming out?

In addition to the fine advice given above, I would add that yes, this her genetics. Of all the configurations possible, knock-kneed is the most difficult to work with, long-term and carries the possibilities of stress injuries in a classical dancer, so be glad :rolleyes:

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Cricket, My 11 year old daughter also has hyperextended knees along with other joint hyperextension and I noticed lately that she is looking a little bowlegged. I didn't say anything to her regarding her "crooked" legs but I thought to myself, I hope she doesn't have her heart set on being a ballet dancer, because I figured ballet dancers needed to have perfectly straight legs! Thankfully, I've read enough on this forum to now know that this is not the case. My daughter's evaluations have noted that she is a natural jumper and her strengths include extensions and proportions. This would go along with what Mr. Johnson stated.


On the other side, however, could these attributes have anything to do with strength? My daughter is not as physically strong as her classmates.

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