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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Unusual Knees?


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Hello everyone!

I seem to be having a quite unusual problem with my knees lately that my teachers cannot seem to help me with. The problem is this: Unless I completely lock my knees, they don't appear completely straight. Also, when I fully straighten my knees up to the ceiling, or any stretch where my legs are completely straight, I get a very strange burning sensation in the back outer muscle behind my knee. (It may be a tendon, I'm not sure...) It doesn't really hurt me very much, I just thought maybe the two are related somehow? Each teacher seems to have a different opinion on this.

Teacher #1 seems to have helped me the most - telling me that I have overdevelped my hamstring muscles, and that by thinking of elongating my muscle right above my knee on my upper thigh, it will help me straighten.. She believes that I just need to equally develop this muscle, and then my problem will be solved. However, I only seem to be able to use this muscle when she is right there helping/molding me into it, and I cannot seem to get it on my own.

However, Teacher #2 has me a bit confused. She says that my legs are hyperextended (and from what I can make out from reading about them, it seems to me that they are hypoextended - but then again, I really have no idea). So, she insists that my heels don't touch in first position.. I'm not really quite sure what this is solving.. But she is very sure of it... She is constantly yelling out straighten your knees and so forth (at least 10 times a class, maybe 15). I have tried very politely explaining to her that I don't understand how to straighten my knees completely... But she bluntly told me that I'm just not trying hard enough... I'm starting to get a bit frustarated..

Sorry, that was a touch longwinded - But I'm wondering after hearing all of this do you have any further suggestions for my uncooperative knees? Any suggestions as to how I should handle Teacher #2? Any other comments in general? Thanks for bothering to read my ramblings!


- HappyGoLucky :ermm:

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Have you tried to explain to both teachers the conflict in what they are working on? Perhaps the teachers need to sit down to figure out what could be the most constructive way to advise you on how to proceed? Mostlikely there are valid points with both teachers but they need to figure out what is the best way to not sound so contradictery. Often teachers are trying to accomplish the same objective but they have very differering ways of approaching the work. :ermm:


My first suggestion would be to explain to both teachers how it is confusing for you to work on both approaches at the same time. If it is not understood by the teachers then the next step is to approach the director of the school.

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  • Administrators

No, as long as your knees straighten, and are not hypOextended, which means they don't look straight even when they are.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest cheeriodancer10

I'm also somewhat confused w/advice I've gotten from my teacher. My legs are pretty hyperextended and one of my teachers has told me that if I straighten them as much as I can while I have weight on them it could put strain on my knees. I have tried loosening my knees a little while standing on them but then my other teachers tell me to straighten them. I'd appreciate it if anyone knows how I can pull up out of my hyperextended legs and keep them from being injured. thanx! :shrug:

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What your teacher has told you is correct; don't LOCK your knees back when you straighten them. What you have to do is release the kneejoint until the leg looks straight, then pull up in that position, in order to keep you from injuring the knee. It will feel awful at first, like dancing with bent knees, but after awhile, you'll get used to it and be able to dance perfectly naturally that way.

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Guest xox DaNciNg in PiNk xox

I also have a problem with straightening my knees. I don't have hyper-extended knees but my knees sometimes apear bent. This has gotten better but they still don't always look perfectly straight and it bothers me. To have them be perfectly straight i feel like im tightening all the muscles possible in my knee (i feel like im locking them) and i can't focus on anything else.. Is there somehing wrong with my knees?

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You shouldn't feel like you're locking your knees, even when you're not hyperextended. You should feel pulled up through the legs, right from the floor. If this isn't hypOextension, which is skeletal, and nothing practical can be done if you're a dancer (major orthopedic surgery, and by the time you finish convalescing, you'll be a sophomore in college), then it may be simple tightness of the fascia around the knee. This is the one for which you squish tennis ###### onto the floor with the backs of your knees.

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