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icancalifornia

"Ballet Splits" vs. "Gymnastics Splits"

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icancalifornia

Sorry to post again so soon ! I have a lot of questions and won't be able to attend ballet class for a week !

 

I was wondering if there are any differences between "ballet splits" and "gymastics splits"? In gymnastics, we were always told to keep our hips square to the front, and to test our back foot we raised them 90 degrees - our foot was supposed to point towards the ceiling, not the wall.

But in ballet I find that the hips are more open and the back foot is turned out.. is that correct ?

 

I read a couple of other posts about the back leg being turned out, but I'm not sure if that applied to certain techniques or if it was a general rule.

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Mel Johnson

The gymnastics split is a whole different stretch from ballet splits. In the ballet variety, you keep your back leg, and front, too, come to think about it, rotated. This may occasion a slight opening of the hips from square.

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cutiepi

Mr. Johnson is correct, but ballet dancers can also benefit from doing a turned in split and keeping the hips very square. I like both kinds. In any split it is important to keep both legs straight, the feet pointed, and the quads relaxed.

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Victoria Leigh

Excuse me, cutiepi, but which board do you belong to, the 13-16 or the 17-22? You have posted as recently as last night on the 13-16, and now you are on this one.

 

Since you have contradicted a teacher/moderator, and have made a statement that dancers can also benefit from doing a turned in split, would you like to tell us how they benefit? I would also like to question your theory of keeping the quads relaxed, as I would not find that valid with the knees straight and the feet pointed.

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cutiepi

Ok, I'm sorry, I belong on the other board, I just wanted to look around this one too. I thought it was Ok since they were all for young dancers (not adults or teachers) but I'll keep off now, it was only one mistake. Anyway, the reason I think the turned in helps too is it really keeps the hips square and gives something extra in the hip flexors. This is what I have been told and seems to work, but if it is wrong please correct me. Also, the reason I thought the quads should relax is so the don't grip and when you are doing extensions you straighten with the hamstrings and not the quads. Really I meant try not to be tense when stretching. Sorry for the trouble!

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Victoria Leigh

It's okay, cutiepi, don't worry about it. However, I would worry about not using the quads in extensions. Yes, the hamstrings work, but so do the quads. There is a huge difference between gripping and working. If the quads are left relaxed, there is no straight leg. The energy to straighten the knee and pointe the foot moves through the whole leg, and you can't keep any of it relaxed in an extended position.

 

As for the square hips in the split, why? Arabesque is not done that way. If it does something to help the hip flexors, that is a valid reason, but I'm not convinced of that.

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balletboyrhys

A russian trained friend of mine who has gorgeous extension once told me that she was taught to stretch in every position, turned in, turned out and with feet pointed and flexed. I thought this seemed like pretty solid advice. Ms. Leigh, is there anything particularly bad about doing the splits with the hips sqaured and the legs in parallel? I've never been told in any ballet class not to do it.

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Victoria Leigh

Probably not, but, I just kinda think that stretches should stretch in positions that you will use in ballet. If this stretch does something beneficial turned in, then I suppose doing it both ways is fine. I'm just not sure what it does when turned in and square???

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dancingmeghan

Speaking personally, I do both, but emphasis the turned out one of course. I turn in my splits also because I feel a bit more of a stretch on the inner-side of my hamstrings that extends to the knee (the semimembranosus muscle?...had to look that one up) And isn't it better to have the ability to do something just in case you may have to do it sometime? You never know with choreographers these days :)

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Victoria Leigh

Well yes, but then a turned in split is way easier than a turned out one, so, should not be a problem :)

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dancingmeghan
a turned in split is way easier than a turned out one

:wacko: It's confirmed. I am from another planet... For me, I actually have to be more warmed up for a turned in split rather than a "ballet split".

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cutiepi

No I think turned in splits are harder too. I just like to stretch a lot, so I just figure being flexible in every way is best. Of course I do turned out splits more, but it's all good.

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