Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

straightening knees


Recommended Posts

I have discovered that when I turn, either stationary or traveling, my default is never to completely straighten my knees. I have since discovered that when my knee is straight I can nail my turns and do clean doubles. I'm trying to figure out a way to be conscious of straightening my knees without locking or overstraightening them and would be grateful for any advice you might have!



Link to comment

You will have to consciously think, "Keep knees straight" when you turn, until it is established as a work habit. There's no short-cut; it's all repetition.

Link to comment

Absolutely -- I try and do that whenever I turn. My problem is that I haven't yet figured out how it feels to have my knees straight, but not 'locked' if that makes any sense. I geuss what I'm after is some guidance towards how it 'feels' physically if such a thing is possible.

Link to comment

This is where your teacher comes in. S/he can help you establish "straight" and get to know the feeling. This is described by a long word, "propriocentricity" which only means "you know where it is and what it's doing by how it feels."

Link to comment

I've never had a teacher tell me the leg can be "overstraight". It's either straight, or not.


I still don't understand what "locked" means. There's no "lock" on the knees. Mine don't "lock" when they're hyperextended. I have no problem bending them after I straighten. Do some people need a key, a locksmith...?


I spent a year and a half trying to find some mysterious straight-but-not -hyperextended-position. I was dancing on slightly bent knees all the time. It looked horrible. Now I hold my legs really tight and hyperextended all the time and it's totally freed up the tension from my upper body. Once I got over the fear of standing hyperextended knees, within a week, my teacher told me how much better my legs look.


Have your teacher take a look, for sure. If you're very hyperextended, maybe you will have to adjust them a bit. Personally though, every professional dancer I've seen with hyperextended knees...hyperextends them. You just have to be strong enough to support the structure. If you're weak, then you'll have problems.


Just my opinion. I know a lot of people will disagree.

Link to comment
Personally though, every professional dancer I've seen with hyperextended knees...hyperextends them. You just have to be strong enough to support the structure. If you're weak, then you'll have problems.


Just my opinion. I know a lot of people will disagree.



Most people who hyperextend their knees will get problems when they get older. This is probably due to shrinking muscles once you stop dancing or just dance less.


I dont have very straight knees (I wish I had :shrug: ) but from an aesthetic point of view hyperextended knees certainly look more ballet :) but it is certainly not healthy

Link to comment

Straightening the leg in releve (i.e. for turns) means completing the push downward before starting the turn. Often a student gets caught up in the result (how many turns, getting them over with, etc.). Try not to anticipate the turn!

Link to comment

Personally, I wouldn’t think at all about my supporting leg in a turn. I’d think of being extended through the spine and let it go at that—i.,e., UP and on top of the toes. I never had the bent leg problem. Pirouettes in jazz are usually done with a bent knee which is a much different feel than a ballet pirouette, so I guess I never confused them.

Link to comment

It's funny how different words can have different effects on different people. I always think "up" in plie, and "down" in the releve.


Garyecht..do you have hyperextended knees? Actually, I rarely ever see anyone who DOESN'T have a bent knee problem to a greater or lesser extent. Hyperextended people, straight legged people...I think it's just plain hard to feel the stretch behind the knee. It seems pretty common, even for experienced dancers. You are lucky.


I need to actively think about having a strong supporting leg. Focusing on the spine alone won't do the trick. It shows when it's time to do a penchee during adagio. If I let go of that standing leg...it's over.


I know what you mean though. When I started working on having "strong" legs all the time, the feeling in my back and torso completely changed. My teacher made a huge deal about how I "...FIIIIINALLY feel my back" in small jumps. I had been trying to feel my back for a while, but didn't quite "get it" until I focused on my legs. It wasn't the back at all that I needed to be putting my energy into, it was my legs. Ballet is strange that way. That's why I like having a couple of different teachers who will sometimes SEEM to be saying opposite things, but mean the same.

Link to comment



No hyperextended knees here, for sure. In fact, when I first started dance, I don’t think I could anatomically straighten them. For example, when I began I vividly remember being unable to have my knees touch in 5th position. I can say that ballet has “straightened” them considerably.


I know having never really experienced the bent knee problem I hesitated responding to this thread. I must have felt talkative, I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that my absolute favorite ballet teacher has never given any correction for bent knees that I can recall and constantly emphasizes getting over the toes (and spot I should say). I’ve added the up feeling, pretty much on my own. I got that from balancing, and as they say turning is nothing more than revolving while balancing. Yea, easier said than done I know.

Link to comment

I guess I should clarify what I mean by 'locking' my knees -- it's a feeling of having my knees almost clenched and I feel like there's a fine line between that clenched feeling (which to me, although I may be quite wrong) means overstraightened to the point of doing damage and straight. Maybe I'm wrong though, maybe that feeling of clenched knees is really a true straight?


Apologies if I'm making little sense, it's difficult sometimes to describe physical sensations.

Link to comment

This depends certainly on your body. I have not very straight knees so even if I try to make them straight they still look at little bit bend. :ermm:

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...