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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Abdominal Surgery

Guest BalletBrat

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Guest BalletBrat

It occurred to me today while driving in my car, as I pondered my horrible extension devant, that maybe my problem is not a lack of technique but the result of two c-sections.


I have fine extensions to the side and back, of course there is always room for improvement, but I really struggle to the front. Even en fondu when it would seem easier to lift the working leg higher, I have a terrible time of things. A 90 degree extension devant feels like murder to me, with how hard I must work to get it just to there, it seems as if my knee should be touching my nose!


So I thought, is it possible that the two surgeries could have caused so much damage, that I may never reach a higher extension? Or, am I just looking for excuses? :)

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Hi ballet Brat.. I'm a dentist,so I don't know if there's a correlation between abdominal surgery and devant extension.

But I also have a devant extension problem too. But the tension is in my working thigh. I try to lift my leg by using the muscles of the back of the thigh, but then I would tilt my pelvis forward, which we're not supposed to, right? But if I try to keep my pelvis as straight as possible, then my leg won't go very high, and already I feel the muscle of the front of thigh working very hard.

It's kinda frustrating. :)

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Extension devant is difficult for just about everyone, so don't feel so bad about it. A lot of very good dancers only ever get it a smidge above 90.


I just Googled "C sections and abdominal muscles" and got lots of hits. Looks like there's all kids of different incisions they can make which will results in all kinds of different types of abdominal muscle damage. Looks like, yes, the surgery can affect strength.

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Ballet Brat,

How long ago were your C-sections (or at least the most recent)? It can take a long time (at least months to even years) to rebuild muscle strength. Last night in class, though, I was having the same issue as dancing_dentist in my devant extension in that I was not engaging those groups of inner thigh muscles enough (particularly utlizing those underneath...don't know the anatomical name...sorry) and gripping my quads. When I could find them and engage them, the extension did improve (if only for a second or two...sigh). I never thought about it being solely relating to abdominal strength, but I've had almost three years to work on it, and for me, anyway, it easily took two years after the second child to feel halfway "normal."

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BalletBrat, do you do pilates? Perhaps some specificly targeted exercises would work to help you with this.

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Guest BalletBrat

Thank you for all your replies! It has been four years since my last c-section, so plenty of time to heal. I will think about your suggestions in class today and try to apply them to my work. :sweating:


I have taken pilates in the past, and do continue my own little routine at home a couple times per week, which has helped immensly.


What amazes me are those dancers that can lift their legs so high devant, with seemingly very little effort, my Studio Owner is 59 years old and can still get that leg up to 120! :blink:

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Hi BalletBrat!


I tend to be a strong dancer, but am by no means (and that's putting it very nicely) known for my flexibility, especially devant. While yes, the abdominals need to be engaged and strong, obviously there needs to be some looseness in the hamstrings, and, I think, in the lower back... the lengthening of the leg, for me, needs to start there for me to get my alignment on and be able to present my leg correctly, if that makes sense? My new teacher has been working with me on this and it's been really helpful, with visible results (very minor, but visible nonetheless.).


Also, sometimes that strength is more important and a very good thing. As is mentioned on the current YAGP coaching costs thread there is a trend to hypermobility sometimes, and this is also mentioned on the ballettalk thread here: Hypermobility in Ballet


Just some food for thought! :blink:



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Guest LittleMissChievious

My extension to the front and back are not good either. I can barely get it to 90 degrees and once there, I can't hold it long. My extension to the side is much better, which is funny, seeing as I can do my front splits but not my straddle splits :shrug:

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