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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Quads and Hamstrings

Guest Ileene

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I have a problem with my quads. They won't relax enough to allow my devant extension to go any higher that 90 degrees. I have tried to think of the back of my leg and sending my leg out from my center by I can't relax my quads and activate my hamstrings (much). Please help me!!


Ileene mad.gif

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I had this problem. Of course I am not a teacher and don't know much about giving advice but this is what worked for me.

Turnout was the problem. As soon as I focused on really holding turnout and engaging the inner thigh on the extended leg, it's rotation increased and somehow this released the quads and allowed me to build strength from underneath the leg. All the while with tight abs and solid supporting leg.

Perhaps try holding the leg lower at first to find the correct feeling, then build strength and security in this. After a while, it will feel stronger and you can extend the leg higher if you wish.

Hope it helps,



[ January 17, 2002: Message edited by: Becky ]

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Guest Colleen

Also go back to the basics and remember to go through attitude before extending the leg fully. Last term I was starting to feel 'stuck' in my developpe devant and although it was high I knew I had the flexibility to go higher. That one correction improved my extension by almost half a foot.

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And then there's the old saw my teacher used to use: Remember the knee never drops in a developpé! If you bring out the leg in such a manner as to have the thigh at an angle above a right angle, you have just set the height of the developpé! Perhaps working on attitude line front, side, and back is a good precursor to getting higher and better developpés! (Front attitudes can often look so oogy anyway, it's a good idea to improve them whenever possible!) smile.gif

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Sorry need to make a correction.

My developpes are alright. The problem is in Battement Lent. when you have to have a straight leg the whole way up.


Thanks Becky!!

Instant Improvement



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Okay Ileene, try this: At the moment before you have to lift the leg in a Battement Lent, feel like you are slightly lifting up off your supporting leg by releasing the heel off the floor VERY slightly (NOT an elevé, more like a breath), at the same time do take a breath, and then, as you release the leg to go up also exhale. Imagine that the energy is encircling your body like a ferris wheel in reverse and coming under your leg and lifting it, almost like you aren't doing it at all, but the breath and the energy pattern of the reverse circle are doing it for you.


I know this does not sound exactly like science, but it really is based on physics and kinesiology. It's just that I have described it for you in imagery as a means of discovering the feeling of release. You can also practice this sitting on the floor and lifting one leg with the same kind of feeling, like this force comes from up and behind you and underneath the leg and just lifts it!


Hope this helps smile.gif

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Hello again,

I'm glad that my advice helped.

Miss Leigh, I completely agree with you on the imagery and breath ideas. They can be very helpful.

I recently went to a masterclass at The Royal Ballet Senior School, which was taught by Eric Franklin,(he has written quite a few books on the subject) focusing on dance imagery for technique and performance. The experience was very helpful and has opened up a whole new different way of doing things.

I would definately try this to improve the battement lent even more!



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