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Ballet Talk for Dancers

anatomy/stretch/strength


Guest beckster

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Guest beckster

I have been wondering recently about arabesque penchee, which we practice quite a lot with one of my teachers. I am very very nearly down in the splits on both legs, but my penchee is only about 100 degrees. Obviously I understand that strength is an issue here, but my teacher has tried pushing my leg and the height I can hold it at is as high as it will go! What causes this difference in my flexibility?

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You've just encountered the difference in active and passive exercise. In a split, everything's relaxed, and gravity is doing practically all the work. When you stand in an arabesque, some of those muscles which are completely relaxed in a split are involved in holding you up! Also, the arabesque is as much a function of back and abdominal strength as it is of leg flexibility. And that's some really active exercise, getting those things to cooperate with you! wink.gif

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Guest beckster

So, once I am down fully in the splits, is there anything I can do to help the active stretch, like pushing against the floor or something? Or do I just have to work on penchees by actually doing them?

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Stretch here isn't the basic issue. It's really the connection between the strength of the torso and the flexibility you have achieved in the splits. And just about the best way to connect the two to do a penché is to do a penché! So, penché away!!! smile.gif

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