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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Getting my legs high in arabesque and other


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in arabesque I can lift my leg to the normal 90 degrees (right angle) but, I have seen others that can go higher than that and I would like to know what I could do to improve lifting my leg higher.


heres a picture of what i am talking about with getting my leg higher.



also i would like to know how i could work on getting my legs to go this high also


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practice, practice, practice!!!


(accompanied with stretching AND strengthening exercises)


I know of no tricks BUT, BUT, BUT, I didn't used to be able to get my arabesque above 45 degrees, and with practice it got higher. It also can be mental- I found at my SI, surrounded by girls with FANTASTIC extensions, I tried harder and could actually get my leg a leetle bittle bit above 90 degrees


So I feel it'll just take time. And pushing yourself to your utmost abilities every time you dance!

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L'Allegro, remember where you are! This is Young Dancers, so moderators have to take a crack at the question first.


But the hard thing is, she's right! The second photo shows nothing more complicated than a simple pied à la main done as a lift. You're allowed all sorts of latitude when you're allowed to haul the working leg around with your hand.

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It almost looked in the first picure that the girl ( who I am assuming is not you) was off her leg. I would think that it would be more important to be aligned with the leg lower, and gradually raise it.


*by off her leg I mean not fully over the supporting hip

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We were having this discussion in class last week, and one new stretch or excersise my teacher gave us for arabesque was this: (you probably already know it anyway)


Go to the barre and face away from it, with your arms holding it behind your body.

Put your knee on the barre behind you, with your leg bent, like an attitude derriere with the leg fully bent in.

Try to lift your knee as high as you can off the barre several times on both legs. :dry:

This is sort of a like a resistance stretch, and afterwards when you try to take your leg to an arabesque through attitude, your leg will hopefully be higher.


You may not understand my description of the stretch, and I hope its a safe one moderaters.

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My legs only go to about 90 as well. I keep working and stretching. The difference is very gradual, but it's there. Some in my class are really flexible and have such high extension, but If they can do it, I can. (Same for you too!) :dry: From little_dancer123 x

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For getting a high arabesque, your back has to be flexible enough to get your leg up and you have to have the strength to be able to hold it up there. My arabesque used to be not that awesome, but I would stretch and stretch and stretch everyday and now they are really nice on both sides. :o Basically I think the key to getting really good extensions is to stretch everyday and work hard on it and eventually you will see results. That's what I did and now I have really good extensions. I hope this helped. :P

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I am actually working on getting my arabesque higher right now too. I can get it high when holding on to the barre, but in center I have a hard time getting it up there. I've found that not only stretching is important, but strenghtening your muscles so you can get it there and hold it is equally important. So some classes I will just think about getting my arabesque where I want it and holding it. Its helping me so far.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Have you run a search on arabesque? or stretching? This question has been asked and answered many times. Try running a search on stretching. Something might pop up that may be helpful.

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When I was little I could go way above 90 in arabesque. Then around 11 years old I lost it (by not taking enough clsses) when I saw myself on video my leg was about 45. After that I streatched like crazy and just worked so hard. I have a naturally good back for arabesque and I'm actually very flexible, so the hard part for me is the strength. It's back above 90 and I have a flat penché, but I'm still working for almost 180 degrees in all directions.


My tips: at the barre, after you've been warmed up (best between barre and center work) pick up your leg in your hand and lift it up as high as it will go to the front (make sure it's properly turned out and everything). Hold it to get the stretch, and then let go and try to hold your leg at that height for about 8 seconds and as slowly as you can lower it to tendu. Repeat to side and back. After a few days you might see the difference! But you have to practice over and over again.

Slow développés are good too.


I hope that helps!


EDIT: haha, thanks for catching my typo!

Edited by BlackLaceTutu
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If you do that at the bar, you will be sure to attract attention, especially if you knock over somebody's drink.


If you do that at the barre, nobody will think twice about it.

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