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When working with a teacher privately last weekend, he noticed I never completely straighten my knees. Appartently, if I do straighten them fully, they are a bit hyperextended. My teacher showed my how to use this, and it is indeed helpful in balances and rélevés. I seem much more stable, and was even able to rélevé slowly on one foot, and just stay up, something I was never able to do before.

I'm worried though that this hyperextension, as slight as it may be, is bad for my knees, and will eventually ruin them and keep me from dancing. A friend of mine had to give up dance last year, because hyperextension had caused her knees to be completely messed up. I certainly don't want that happening to me, but then it really seems to be helping my technique. Is it safe to stretch my knees fully or not?

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Stretching your knees fully, and pushing back into the hyperextension are two different things. You can straighten your knees, but you must use your quads to do it, and not allow the knees to go back beyond straight when they are weight-bearing. In extensions the hyperextension makes a very good line, if the feet are good and you have rotation. But the standing leg requires very correct alignment and weight placement, and control, so that it is absolutely straight, but not not BACK.

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When I push back my knees, they don't really look hyperextended very much at all. Someone who just looks at my knees would probably think they are perfectly straight. The problem is, when i don't push back my knees, i can't keep my knees together. I I just pull up my knees, there's always a hole in between. That's why teachers told me to push my knees together. Only if i push all the way, there's some hyperextension. So should i just push to the point where my knees meet, and not further? It would be very hard to just stay at that point and not push any further when on one leg. Any advice on how to do that?

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