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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Extension


little_dancer123

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Has anyone noticed how the very best dancers seem to have great extension, well I don't and I really want to improve. I practise and stretch every day :bouncing: but if anyone has had the same problem and can share their stories of how they overcame/overcoming this problem that would help me. Thanks. :jump: From little_dancer123 x

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Keep practicing, keep stretching. Many people find that all of a sudden things "open up" all at once, usually when you're about 16-17.

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In class we always did stretches and I wanted higher extensions, so every day I would just go a little higher (less than an inch), by the end of the season My foot was up to my ear!

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Guest Katherine345

I'm trying to work on my extension too. Does anyone have any specific stretches that work for this?

 

I find that sliding my leg up a wall or in a doorway really helps my arabesque penchee.

 

I've been having trouble with my extension to the front though. What stretches can help this?

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Thanks for your suggestions and sugarplum329, I am definately going to try that! :) Anymore suggestions are welcome. :blushing: From little_dancer123 x

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I have a question for the moderators...

 

Do the splits actually help your extensions? It seems to me that your placement in the splits is not at all the placement (especially of the hips) that you should use in your extension. Also, if you are reasonabley flexible, what muscle should you work on strengthening to better your extension? Lastly, what is a reasonable height for an extension....can it ever be to much?

 

Thanks!

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Splits, when you are warmed up, and do them placed well, can help. That is their purpose.

 

For all extensions do only the stretches you have been taught how to do correctly, do them ONLY when warmed up, and do them within correct alignment. And do them consistently, like every day.

 

Extensions are about flexibility and strength. The strength is needed in the abdominal muscles, back muscles, and quad muscles. Correct weight placement is essential. The exercises to improve are the ones you do at barre every day.

 

And yes, they can be too much, depending on the type of ballet you are dancing. Contemporary works will allow for extreme extension, but many older classical works do not. It must be more controlled.

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Katherine345 ,

I found that as well as splits (ONLY warmed-up of course as Ms.Leigh said) if you place your hand at the arch of your foot and assist your foot in devant and a la seconde. In arabesque place your hand on your knee and assist your leg in Attitiude. In these leg-assists(correct word?) do not concentrate on supporting your leg with your leg-muscles, but rather the strecth it provides. Ask your teacher for more specific instructions, as this description is not very clear.

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And some people call it "jambe à la main" ....just to confuse you :P

 

Be sure when you do this exercise that you maintain your alignment and do not distort the hips. Also be VERY careful of the supporting knee when you carry the leg from front to side, as it really wants to roll inward. :o

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Also be VERY careful of the supporting knee when you carry the leg from front to side, as it really wants to roll inward. :P

 

When you say this do you mean keep rotating? I want to make I am doing this the correct way :o

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On the supporting leg, make sure the knee bends on an axis that goes in the same direction that the foot is in. No rolling onto the inside of the foot.

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:P speaking of rotation(kind of) is it possible to get past your natural roatation? Sorry if I can't put this here but I didn't want to start a new topic since its pretty much a yes or no question
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