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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Bowlegged and Hyperextended


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Mr. Mel Johnson somewhere you wrote that bow leggedness could be fixed??? How on earth can you do that. I never knew I was bowlegged until I realized that I was having bad troubles closing in fifth because my knees were odd so I was searching around here . At the closest part my knees are about a centimeter apart and a little bit lower down they are about an inch apart maybe more actually.

I am also very slightly hperextended but only slightly when my teacher tells us to pull up our knees.

I've asked my teacher about my knees but she just said I didn't have enough turnout which I find strange as I can do a 180 degrree first position with my knees facing outwards and can get the frog stretch down. How can I try to make a better fifth with the knees I have???

It's driving me crazy because lately I've gotten so depressed as I can't even do a proper fifth position something that is used in almost every exercise!!!! Actually I can force my turnout into a fifth but it doesn't stay if you do a tendue so I've given up on that theory. Help!!! Thankyou

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Janinne, you can't exactly "fix" it, as it has to do with bone structure. However, you CAN learn to work with it and control it, through the use of rotation, so that the legs do not "look" bowed. Mr. Johnson should be able to give you lots of help on this, but my suggestion is never "force" your turnout! You must learn how to use it, but not to force it. It does seem to me, though, that if you have 180ยบ in first, with no forcing and no rolling and totally balanced, of course, then you should have the ability to close into a good fifth as long as you are placed correctly and not pushing back into your (even slight) hyperextension.

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Jannine, as long as you aren't so bowlegged that the dog can pass between your legs without touching when you stand in sixth position, it shouldn't be a problem. As Ms. Leigh advised, don't let the knees rock back into a locked condition; you should be able to work with them. Keep the weight on your feet in a zone between the back of the ball of the foot and the front of the ball of the heel, and things will be all right. Using the rotation you have from the hip will assist you. Good rotation and turnout cover a lot of things! :wink:

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My teacher always tell us to pull up/lock/tighten/straighten our knees. If I don't they don't look straight!!! And they don't look clean too. Fifth is at 140 degrees maybe....I'll ask all my teachers they might be wiser on it although I doubt it...I don't think the deal with knees often. Ugh I'm really confused nothing seems to be working...could it be to do with the fact that if I don't use my bum, thighs and straighten my knees, my knees don't face half as outward anymore?

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Well, then, are you actually hyperextended? If your legs don't look straight unless they're back and locked, then that's not hyperextended, or maybe you need a new definition of straight. And if you're not using the muscles in the pelvic area, then of course you won't get very good rotation of the femur in the hipjoint.

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There's a big difference between "straight", "locked", and "stretched". Learning how to work with legs that are actually straight and have them still appear stretched is something that has to be learned very gradually and slowly. It's not something that you can just start doing in class. Things improve over a long span of time. Now get the rotation improved, and it will help with this situation.

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