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Ballet Talk for Dancers

5th position


Guest Dancing Duranie

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Guest Dancing Duranie

I saw this on another forum........can't remember if it was the teens, or one of the old sites or where.........but I thought I would re-introduce it here.

 

My fifth position is excellent when my right foot is in front. Both legs and feet are perfectly turned out at 180 degrees and everything is pulled up, straight, toe to heel.

 

However, when my left foot is in front.........everything goes haywire. I had a major knee injury in 1997 that basically ended whatever hope I had of going pro and cost me two years of rehab time. My turnout on my left leg in all other positions is excellent. When I go into fifth it's like the rotation stops at my knee. I have also noticed that I don't seem as pulled up on this side. I have tried to correct the pulling up problem, but it does little to help the actual rotation below the knee problem. Also, it is hard for me to get toe to heel in this position without angling out my back (right) supporting foot (which is otherwise straight out at 180).

 

Should I just chalk this one up to the injury and realize that I will probably never have the "perfect" position on the left side..........or is there anything I can do to help matters? The turn-out is there from the hip.........it just seems to get hung up or caught.........I'm not really sure how to describe it in words, I just know what it feels like.........at the knee.

 

Thanks,

DD

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I'm having trouble understanding what you described.

 

But I notice that very few professionals hold a completely tight 5th all the time. From the audience perspective, all that really matters is that it's well crossed. It looks perfectly fine even if it's not 100% tight.

 

My left leg in front is always a bit wonky too because my right hip is twisted back and the left leg's a bit longer and more hyperextended. Because the right hip is back, I have to be very careful of the left leg in front. It turns in pretty easily.

 

Everyone's got assymetries. As long as you're not in pain or totally incapable of maintaining safe rotation from the hip, I wouldn't stress too much. You can probably make your adjustments and still have something aesthetically pleasing enough.

 

Sorry if I don't understand exactly what you describe though. I've found that with my twisted hips and uneven hyperextension, I had to REALLY pull up through my waist and get my hipbones aligned right before I felt like I had freedom to work through my 5th. 5th took a lot of time before it felt "free".

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Guest Dancing Duranie

Hmmmmmmmm, I'm not really sure how to describe it!

 

When my right leg is in front it's like the "perfect" 5th position. But when my left is in front.......my back (right) supporting leg is in the "perfect" position. To get anywhere near that with my left leg in front my foot is angled out in front, not straight out at 180 degrees like it should be. Things feel a bit gimpy in my knee when doing this position with the left leg in front. I just tried it and it's as though my knee doesn't want to straighten all the way. It used to lock up on me........maybe it's the whole psychological thing again. Thinking that if I tighten it up it's going to lock up.

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Standing in 5th with left leg front...Are your hips even when you look down at yourself, or is the right hip back? Your turnout might be uneven, or your legs might be different lengths.

 

Can you straighten your knee otherwise---in 1st...in parallel, etc..? If so, it sounds like it's probably uneven turnout. My left knee would be bent too if I tried and make it as tight as I can with the right foot front. The leg's just longer.

 

Seriously---don't obsess over static positions. Some of the most brilliant dancers in the world have very wonky bodies with all kinds of scoliosis and stuff. Movement quality is so much more important than little "imperfections"...that everyone has. Audience doesn't notice these things when a body is moving...

 

You'll learn little compensations. When I stand on two feet, I don't "correct" the twisted pelvis. When I transfer onto my right leg, that's when I bring the bones parallel, so that my left leg can look turned out when I extend to the front. It's tiny little things, and I've gotten about four different teachers telling me different ways of dealing with this. Just had to eventually figure out what's going to work best and strain my body the least. Still working on these things.

 

Not sue if that's what you're dealing with...but the knee feeling "inhibited" in 5th on one side is pretty much how I'd describe the feeling I get too.

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Guest Dancing Duranie

Hips are even. Turnout is fine in all other positions. My 5th with left in front is just not good.

 

But *I* notice these things, and they irritate me.

 

Perfection perfection pefection. *slams.head.against.wall* Isn't that impossible quest one of the reasons we all do this? :blushing:

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hmmm...maybe someone else will understand this. I would have thought it was uneven legs or hips, but maybe something IS strange about that knee.

 

Yes, perfection would be nice :innocent: .

 

But I know with me, no one would even notice the difference in my legs until I point it out. Then it's very obvious. My second grand plie is pretty funny. You can really see one knee going back more. Correction...I see one leg turning out more. Probably no one else does.

 

I live my life in a constant state of irritation too. It's loads of fun :wink:

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Hi

 

You say that your left knee feels 'gimpy' which in other words means it doesn't feel right and that you shouldn't be trying to put it in that position in the first place. Since turnout comes from the hips and not the knees the fact that you are feeling 'odd' may be an indication that you are trying to turn out from your knees and not your hips. Do you think this is the case?

Also, do you have a physical therapist that you see at all? If so, have you mentioned this to them? and if not, maybe you should seek their advice before you redamage your knee. You only have two knees and that's all you are ever going to have. If you damage them now, it may be irreparable.

I would also have a serious word to your ballet teacher about it. They can keep any eye on you to make sure you are using your turn out correctly and to help you.

In the end if it hurts , STOP.

 

Jeanette

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Guest Dancing Duranie

It's gimpy because I blew it out 8 years ago. I figured out what the problem is. I'm not pulling up through the adductors. Amazing what a hip alignment belt, watching yourself in the mirror, and feeling your way through it will do!

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For the most part, you shouldn't be rotating below the knee anyway, that will cause damage in whatever leg you do it in. Use the turnout you can develop in you hips, make sure your knees move to the side when you plie, work on standing up on top of your legs. That's what will improve your ballet and keep you stable standing on one leg. Perfection is a misnomer, and 180-degree turnout is an arbitrary goal in any case.

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I have deleted a post on this thread as it sets the wrong kind of example to other posters and I don't want this to end up in a slinging match.

As Redbookish kindly pointed out we cannot see you. Please talk to your ballet teacher who will be able to give you better instruction on how to deal with the problems you are having.

Jeanette

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