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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Should I not focus on stretches anymore?

Guest Raedyn L.

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Guest Raedyn L.

I have come to the conclusion that I am an astonishingly flexible dancer. My extensions (when I'm doing them with proper technique) are ninety degrees each, my cambres put my head noticeably lower than the majority of my class, and I can now get to a full centre split when warmed up. Also, I have developed very nice arches.


Unfortunately, this all adds up to make me a dancer who is weak as a kitten. For example, after class I was practising various jumps--and since I was in full view of my teacher I decided to try and add beats to those jumps. I could only do about one and a half two before I fell over and had to rest for a few minutes a moment before I should leave it for another day.


I started practising developpes after that. :devil:


I did know about my general weakness (literally) when I started out, and I actually wanted to find a Cecchetti-based school because of its reputation for strong dancers. I didn't find one anywhere near my area, so I'm coming to you all for help now.


The question I'm asking is: Should I not focus on stretching outside of class anymore and instead transfer that focus to building up my strength?


Also, what are some safe strengthening exercises that I can do at home for my legs?


To answer the question I know at least one of you is going to ask: Yes, I do Pilates. In fact, I've been doing it for quite a while now. (Ever since the very first time I had to balance in retire and wobbled violently. One of my friends looked at me strangely.) It's good for my abs and has done wonders for my dancing in general, but I was wondering about helping my floppy noodle legs which can't hold themselves at their magnificent height long enough to make an impression.

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Stretches are part of the dancer's regular routine warm-up. It sounds as though you've been doing quite a lot of them, so maybe it is time to achieve a better balance of exercises in your everyday warm-up. What will give you strength is both the Pilates AND the other elements of barre and center besides the stretching, but it takes time. Usually, I see students achieving flexibility, then the strength comes in around 16 or so. Patience is your virtue here, and also humility, because it will almost feel like starting over as you develop.

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Oops, wrong thread.

Edited by vicarious
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I had the same problem until about a year ago. I'm extremely flexible and very lanky. My teachers were concerned that I wasn't eating enough because I didn't have any muscle. I was eating a lot, but it was mostly junk food. One of my teachers said that I should eat more protein and said I should wear ankle waits, do push-ups, and pilates. They help sooo much. Getting older helped too. Now I have awesome extension and better than average jumps. I know exactly how you feel :yes: !

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