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flexible?


Guest TwInKLetoEs*

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Guest TwInKLetoEs*

I am not sure if i am very flexible or not. Sometimes i think i am, yet many of the people in my studio my age who have been dancing for less time than i have are very flexible, and have no trouble at all!grr smile.gif

How flexible should i be? i am thirteen. i can do the splits on my right leg, and can go all directions(i think thats how u say it smile.gif)I am pretty close in the center, and can lay my stomach on the ground. I was able to do the splits on my left, but can't now cuz of my hamstring. frown.gif I don't think that that i have very good turnout either. I have reasonable extentions, but can't do a 180 in penchee. Do i sound flexible? It just frustrates me cuz a lot of the people in my stodio are very flexible and i wonder if i'm doing something wrong or something. Thanx for any advice in advance! biggrin.gif

Jusse

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Oh dear, Jusse, that is such a hard question to answer without seeing you! I really think your teacher is the best one to answer that question for you, as she knows what you have right now and should also have a good idea of your potential for improvement. At 13 there is still time for the flexibility to develop smile.gif

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I can say with all fervor that flexibility can be improved upon well after 13 - as Victoria says. But it has to be worked on carefully under supervision.

 

I found that my flexibility was not only different on each side - but also from day to day. Some of it is hormonal, some of it is affected by what else is going on in my body - how sore I am from the previous day for instance. Or if I am getting a cold - or getting better from one. Or how tired I was. But one thing I knew without a doubt - don't compare myself to other people and work carefully. Basheva

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Guest hesterlover1

I really agree with what Basheva said--don't compare yourself to others. I suggest comparing where you are now to where you were, say, six months ago. As long as you are improving, there is nothing to worry about, and as both people have already said, you still have time to improve your flexibility. You sound like you're doing fine. Good luck on improving it, though--I know how hard it is, and I've been working really hard on my extension and my turn-out for a while, too!

 

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Keep Dancing!

~Katie~

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Guest TwInKLetoEs*

i know that i am a lot more flexible than i was six months ago, and definitely a year ago. My teacher says however that by the time you are 13, that pretty much deternines you flexiblity for the rest of your life. I guess this is wrong then. phew! smile.gif Also, how do you tell if u have bad turnout. is it that you can't do the frog or butterfly? cuz when i plie, my knees are right over my toes...but my feet aren't completely turned out. I can't really do a straight first, and my fifth is very forced. i know that i'm not supposed to compare, but i think that i have the worst turnout in my entire class. does therabands help this?

Jusse smile.gif

P.S. I saw Centerstage. It is the best movie ever!;D

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Jusse, don't force anything. Sacrifice turnout if you must until you can support it all the way to the hipjoint. Forced turnout is only likely to give you knee problems down the line. And yes, therabands can assist you in building better turnout. smile.gif

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Guest attitude
Originally posted by TwInKLetoEs*:

My teacher says however that by the time you are 13, that pretty much deternines you flexiblity for the rest of your life.

 

Maybe for some people, but this is by no means a rule. I was 14 before I could do the splits with my left leg and 15 before I can do a perfect grand jeté with the left leg. My arabesque is still getting higher and up until I was 15 my centre splits kept improving. So I guess you just need to persevere. Anyways, not all things flexible can be dancers.

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I can say with absolute certainty - that for me - flexibility was a constantly improving thing. I started dancing quite late - and was told that I had no chance - DON'T EVER LET ANYONE DISCOURAGE YOU!!!

 

Work carefully - thoughtfully - but if you work - you will improve. Basheva

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Right, Orzak, and I have watched many students over the years suddenly "discover" extension even at 15 and 16 years old smile.gif

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I could not agree more!!! I didn't start my serious ballet training until I was 15. Most people think that by that age a dancer is to old to develop turnout and flexibity but now, two years later I still feel lke my turnout and flexibility are getting better. I sure have come a long way!! Maybe I was lucky and it was naturally there, I just needed to work for it, but I truly believe that if you really really want to improve your flexibility that it can happen at almost any age if you really work at it. Some people are not naturally flexible or turned out but if you work at it you can at least get it to the maximum for your body!! Good Luck!!!

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I can tell you without any hesitation - from personal experience - you can improve extension, flexibility and stamina even as an adult. I have seen students do it. I started late myself, in my 20's and my extension by the time I retired was above my shoulder - it started at my knee. I ended up being able to do my splits three ways - when I started I couldn't touch the floor at all with my hands.

 

I have a strong body - and was never very flexible as a child. If you work carefully and with thought - you can certainly improve. After starting late - I managed to cross the line from adult student to professional and danced professionally for 30 years. It took a lot of work - and love.

 

Studies show that even at 60-70 stamina and flexibility (not to the extent of the ballet) can be improved. Basheva

 

[This message has been edited by ORZAK (edited October 31, 2000).]

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Guest TwInKLetoEs*

actually, i went to class the other day, and my turnout isn't as bad as i thought. its not perfect, but if i adjust it so it is it feels relatively fine. My fifth actually isn't forced smile.gif I found i could actually do one pretty easily! biggrin.gif My frog and butterfly are horrible tho frown.gif so maybe i do have bad turnout. Thanx for all your advice.By the Way, i have been dancing for ten years. Do you think my flexiblity sounds reasonalbe for my age and dancing time? or am i behind? thanx!

Jusse

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Guest hesterlover1

Jusse, just a word of advice--when you are in fifth, make sure you are concentrating on turning out the whole leg and not just the feet, or you could twist your knees. It's more important to keep the knees over the toes than to have a forced turnout that looks good. HTH! smile.gif

 

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Keep Dancing!

~Katie~

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Guest beckster

Wow Orzak, I'm amazed and inspired by the extension story! I always thought that because I am relatively strong, this is why I'm not very flexible and that this was something I couldn't change, particularly now I'm in my 20s. Can you give me a little more information about how to work effectively and thoughtfully to improve the way you did? Don't worry, I'm not expecting overnight results!

smile.gif thanks

 

 

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***The Beckster***

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Well, Beckster, my friend, in my opinion there are basically two types of bodies - those that are strong and those that are flexible. We are all, however, a bit of both - leaning to one side or the other. Each type of body has an advantage and a disadvantage.

 

Usually people who are very flexible tend not to be as strong - or lets use the word "stable". They can bend in all directions and have a high and easy extension, but have trouble maintaining the extension or their stability (balance), for any length of time. These people tend to look like they are going to fall around.

 

At the other end - are the strong people - they are very stable - can hold their extension "forever" but it's just not high and doesn't have a light look. These people tend to look like they are so stiff - they can't move.

 

Most of us are somewhere on that scale - slightly to one side of the scale or the other. I tend toward the strong side. However, I do have a quite good turnout that I was born with. But I had the darndest time getting my extensions anywhere much above my knees. However,with my strong back and stomach muscles I could hold it forever.

 

It was just a very slow process. As I understand it - and how it worked for me was - there are two sets of muscles used in lifting the legs - in the undersides of the legs themselves, in the stomach and in the back. One set lifts the legs to a certain height and the second set then takes over. But in order to get to the second set - you need to get above the first set.

 

My first teacher suggested - and what seemed to really work for me - was to put my leg up on the barre - and without stretching at all - just lift the leg momentarily off the barre only an inch or two to begin with. Lift, lower, lift, lower - several times - in devant and seconde - always keeping the hips in alignment. No stretching - just those small lifts. Eventually, those small lifts get larger. This allowed me to get beyond that first set of muscles and begin to work on the second set.

 

You can also do that sitting on the ground, except then you don't get to use your buttocks muscles - cause you are sitting on them. Another place you can work on this is in grand battement. After you battement your leg - retard its return. Don't just let your leg fall down - lower it down - control its descent. A whole new way to work. Feel that control as you lower your leg. Lower it don't just drop it.

 

As for the arabesque what really worked for me was to fully engage that strong back of mine. I would stand at the barre, pointe my outside toe behind me and do a backbend over it - making absolutely sure I was NOT putting any weight on that toe. At the fullest extent of my backbend I would "engage" my back and bring up that leg behind me with my back muscles and then keep on going to full arabesque and then into penche' never letting my back muscles go slack.

 

I did these things religiously - every day - every class - every rehearsal - and am still doing them 30 years later. I did it this morning, in fact. I ended up with very slender legs -because I did NOT use my front outside thigh muscles (but only the muscles underneath my thigh which don't get large, just strong), and very strong stomach and back muscles - long and strong.

 

As for getting my hands to touch the floor when my knees were straight - I let gravity work for me. I would bend over, and just hang down, head and back fully relaxed and let gravity lower me as my muscles relaxed. Only then would I specifically stretch myself downward - and eventually I made it - took me years to get my palms on the floor.

 

I hope that I have been able to make this understandable. It takes patience, patience, patience - but it is possible.

 

Three years ago I had to quit dancing because of a non-dance injury and only went back to the ballet last spring - I am still getting my stretch and strength back. I am an old lady.

 

NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER!! It's yours if you want it enough. Basheva

 

 

 

[This message has been edited by ORZAK (edited November 01, 2000).]

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