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Ballet Talk for Dancers



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I've heard so many things about how to work with my hyperextension, but I still don't get what I'm supposed to be doing! The main thing I don't get is the difference between sitting in my knees and pulling up through them. I've been told to not hyperextend at all; they said if I straighten my knees all the way then I'm sitting in them...which goes back to my last question.


Also, is it possible to straighten your legs completely in fifth position if you are hyperextended? I find it impossible, even though I've been told if I pull up enough that they'll straighten.


I know these are probably questions I should have the answer to, but I've heard so many different things I'm really not sure. Any advice you can give me would be very helpful!

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enpointe, when you don't understand something like this, you can't be expected to know the answers! Actually, it really sounds to me like you need to work with your teacher to explain to you exactly what you have to do in order to 'straighten' your knees but not 'overstraighten' them. It can be difficult, depending on the degree of hyperextension, but the first line of control is your alignment and weight placement.


When I have a student who is not understanding, I place my hand behind her knee and ask her to straighten her leg as much as she can but without pushing back into my hand. This helps her to use the quads and in order to do it, she will also need to be aligned and balanced.

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As for the question about closing in 5th position, this is hard for me also. But one of the teachers at my school danced in Oregon Ballet Theater and has very clean technique and beautiful lines, and she is hyperextended. I noticed that she had to bend her knees just a smidgen to close 5th from the tendu devant and derriere. She did not, however, sink into her supporting hip or change her placement to close 5th. Is this acceptable for a hyperextended dancer to bend the knee to close 5th, or was this dancer "cheating"?

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Nope, it's not a trick, but an honest accommodation used by more than just a few hyperextended dancers.

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