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Adage

'Heels apart'

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Adage

When I was in class, my teacher gave me a correction in plie, saying that in the demi in first, third and fifth, I am 'like her' and need to keep my heels apart, rather than together into the properly 'closed' position. I was wondering why this is so, and also - in second, when I take the degage to the side to get into second, I cannot go much lower than my demi plie in second at all, to get to grande. Is there anything I can do? My last school emphasised 'tucking under' and tilting the weight so it felt forward, over the feet and hips over knees over toes, but I still can't seem to get down properly.

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Mel Johnson

AHA! This sounds like hyperextension! It's a benign state of your skeletal structure which causes your knees to come to full travel in back of straight vertical. The legs bow backwards, and I'll bet your elbows do, too.

 

As to placement, shoulders over hips over knees over toes is a good general rule to follow. Because of the hyperextension, you may be taking a shorter degagé than you ought to. The trick with hyperextension is to make the leg straight, not locked. It's a strange feeling, like dancing with bent knees, but pull up and it should be fine. Since your teacher is aware of the situation, ask her to help you keep an eye on it.

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Guest AmoBallare

I have the same problem as well. It's frustrating at first, but you learn to work with it. As for grande plies in 2nd position, yes, tilting the weight forward is very important but don't forget to pull up as you go down, too (opposition). I found that I am able to go down much further when I do this. Good luck!

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Victoria Leigh

Students, be VERY careful with the term "tilting"! One does not tilt forward in a plié in any position! You must remain vertical, and certainly keep your weight forward, but that has nothing at all to do with tilting.

 

If your grand plié in second is not deep enough, open the position a tiny bit wider.

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Princess_at_heart

Does anyone have any advice on whether it is better to work with heals apart or together when dealing with hyperextension? I've heard both ways. I've heard it's better to keep your heels together so you can get used to working with your legs looking straigh but then I've heard that at the bar it's better to let your legs hyperextend to get the full benifits. Which is right?

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Victoria Leigh

This will be a matter of opinion and method. In my personal opinion, one should NEVER reinforce hyperextension, at the barre or anywhere else. HOWEVER, not allowing for it at all causes other problems. Therefore, I believe in a space, IF absolutely necessary to straighten both legs, BUT that space MUST be MINIMAL. If one over does the space, it pushes you into the hyperextension, and this is definitely not a good thing. A very small space, and only if needed.

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christa1217

I have the same problem but I never noticed hyperextension on my elbows till it was mentioned on the thread and then I looked in the mirror and its true! I learn something new everyday. I agree with AmoBallare about the whole opposition and pushing down into the floor type of thing. It helps :wacko:

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Guest ForeverSewingPointeShoes

My teachers do not allow a space between my feet in first position. I have really hyperextended legs, highly arched feet, and developed calf muscles. It looks funny when my heels touch because not only are my knees bent but my calf muscles are squished together! I have fairly short achilles tendons so deep plies keeping my heels down are difficult. If I really stretch my claves will my plies deepen?

 

 

Sorry, I didn't realize this was for 17+ please delete if necessary :/

Edited by ForeverSewingPointeShoes

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Guest meylincb

I think i have hyperextended legs :cool2: becuase when I stand in first position, my teacher always say's to concentrate on my knees being together, that I dont HAVE to have my heels together. I don't know if it's becuase she thinks I have hiperextended legs or because i have very devolped calfs. :blushing:

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Victoria Leigh

Hello meylincb, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers! :)

 

The reason for the space could be either situation, or even both! As long as you don't exaggerate the space, and keep it as small as possible where you can still straighten both knees, then it should be fine.

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