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Ballet Talk for Dancers

hamstring muscles

Guest 321dance

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Guest 321dance


in an extension, especially to the front, the hamstrings are the muscles that should "lift" your leg right? i feel that i am overworking my quads too much and so to the front my developpe ends at about barely 90 degrees. is there any way besides for practice and time that will help me to strengthen and lift from underneath???


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The function of the hamstring, when lifting the leg to the front is to stretch. It is not possible to lift with the hamstring, in this direction. The quads are definitely very active in the lifting process in this case. The process of lifting the leg in any direction is a very complex movement. Many, many muscles are involved. The hamstring lengthens as the leg moves upward to the front and the side, the quads contract. In simple form, in order for a movement to occur muscles groups contract and an opposite muscle group lengthens. Contract/lift...lengthen/stretch.


Many ballet teachers suggest that the lifting of the leg to the front begins from underneath. It is a very useful imaginative tool to allow the student to breath, relax and begin the movement freely. Try to remember that ballet teaching is a fine mixture of imaginary illusions and actual scientific analysis of movement. If teachers taught only with science, there could be the danger of the artistic qualities being neglected.


Relax, enjoy the dance! :D


In order to lift your leg a bit higher to the front, remember not to push down with your shoulders and ribcage. Lengthen you neck, your waist, incline slightly upward and backward as if beginning a bend to the back. This is a living breathing movement. Do not do it in a mechanical manner. Keep your lower back very lifted. Reach outward with your toes, as if trying to touch the wall in front of you.

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