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Ballet Talk for Dancers

bowed legs?

Guest beckster

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Guest beckster

I decided to start a new topic to ask this, rather than intruding further into Zarafa's topic.


What actually causes bowed legs? I have been looking carefully at people in my ballet and yoga classes and I can't see anyone with legs like mine! I can see that hyperextension is probably mainly hereditary but what about bowed legs? I always think of them being associated with vitamin deficiencies in childhood!


I never noticed I had bowed legs until a year ago, so I'm interested to know more.

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Hi Beckster


Bow legs are actually termed static abnormalities. Ok it sounds horrendous, but no different from being double jointed or not, although in some cases this 'abnormality' can be quite extensive and require surgery as a child.

Bow legs are a genetic characteristic along with

leg length discrepancies and knock knees'. There is nothing you can do to alter them.

However you can work wiith them just like someone who is hyperextensive.


Most young childrens legs are bowed, but normally straighten out after 2 or 3 years.

As for the cause, well, this bowing is

due to the forming of the legs while the baby is still in the womb, when the bones are soft and

flexible. The bend in the legs often causes the child to also walk pigeon- toed (with feet pointing inwards). This is what I had when I was little, hence my mum took me to ice skating lessons and started me on ballet. You definately can't be pigeon toed in ice skates..ouch...


Hope that has answered your questions.






[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Xena ]

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Becky, I'm not sure exactly why, but it seems that this leg structure has strong calf muscles and a very good demi plié, therefore they usually have a better jump than people with straighter legs. Not always, but usually.

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I have bowed legs and like Ms. Leigh described, I have to really be aware of my line, especially in extensions. But I am a good jumper--especially petite allegro. I wish I didn't have this 'static abnormality', but instead had the abnormality of tremendously high extensions! biggrin.gif

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Guest beckster

I don't exactly understand how someone with bowed legs has to adjust their line. Is it simply a case of making sure the foot doesn't appear sickled?


My teacher tends to classify people into "jumpers" and "turners". Unfortunately I am neither, but maybe my strengths will appear with time! I can jump high, its true, but I suffer from a condition known as "petit allegro panic" which unfortunately prevents me from actually using my jump to its fullest extent because I'm too busy going bright red, grimacing, flapping my arms, apologising, and doing the wrong number of beats so I end up on the wrong foot rolleyes.gif . I spend most of petit allegro stationary, trying to join back in after stopping for one reason or another. wink.gif


[ February 13, 2002: Message edited by: beckster ]

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It's not just the foot; the whole leg has to be presented so as to minimize the appearance of being somewhat turned in. This adjustment, which everybody has to make, more or less, is to pull the body diagonally forward and up, while at the same time opening the hip ever so slightly in order to allow the arabesque to rise to 90º or higher.


As to the anxiety reactions, I have nothing for those, except sympathy. wink.gif

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