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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Splits


JennyKaye

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Hi all!

 

I have a real problem going into both straddle splits and side splits (I think that's what they are called). My physiotherapist said my hip rotation isn't great, could this be why I cant do them?

 

Are there any exercises that I can do to improve my ability to do the splits as my dance teacher says it would help me improve my leg movement.

 

Jen

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Just carry them out to the side as far as you can without forcing. Eventually, the hip rotation will release and you will be able to get more of a side split than you currently have. Bear in mind though, that splits of any kind, while useful, are not the be-all and end-all of ballet. They're just one more kind of stretch.

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I have been practising them for years, I guess it takes time! I've been led to believe I need them to help with my grand jete's as I don't seem to be able to get both my legs to be straight in the air! Are splits going to help with this?

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Splits help with flexibility. They are simply an exercise to increase your flexibility, and that of course helps with everything which requires extension, including grand jetés. They should be practiced only when you are warmed up from class, or at least a full barre.

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I can do the splits, but how square/open should the hips be? I find that when i do them turned out, my hip is very open, i can only keep it square by doing them parallel.

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Please, please, please remember that splits in and of themselves are of no account. The hips should be in the same configuration that they have when you are taking an arabesque. The back leg's hip is opened slightly, but not lifted and splayed wide open. You can rotate through the straddle split to the split on the other side, but the hip has to come into the arabesque position as much as possible as soon as possible.

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Knock knock,

 

This is mainly addressed to Ms. Leigh, because she brought it up, but any clarification would be very helpful. Why is it bad for you to do the splits without warming up? I am blessed (?) with very long achilles tendons and stretched out hamstrings, and I can literally roll out of bed and do the splits without feeling anything (pain or otherwise) in my legs. When I do the splits, it's kind of more like checking into my body, seeing where sore spots are, not so much increasing flexibility. I thought it was that trying to increase flexibility, which usually was why people did splits, cold, was the problem - is this still not good for me?

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Marenetha, I have that kind of flexibility too, however, most people do not, and therefore it is dangerous for them to do it cold. Even though I 'can' do it, I really don't think it's a good idea, even for those of us with that kind of natural flexibility. There might be a day when you are stiff, or a muscle is tight, and you start out by doing splits and POP! NOT a good idea.

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Guest arabesque07

Also one thing that I don't think anyone mentioned -

When you are doing your splits, especially if you are working to increase your flexibility, you need to hold each split as far as you can go (without injuring yourself, of course) for at least 30 seconds. Otherwise, you accomplish nothing. If you are just warming up to get ready to do leaps or something, that is fine, though, but if you are trying to increase flexibility, it needs to be held for a 30 second minimum. :D

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