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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Stretching vs. Strengthening


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During the recent olympics, I watched the rhythmic gymnasts doing their routines, and they all had fantastic extensions, as well as being able to a pirrouette while in a penche. That has to have a lot a strength, right? When I researched online (to figure out how to get extensions like theirs) I found that they do mostly stretching, and little strengthening (quote).


I'm really flexible, but don't stretch too much because I have always been confused by the tons of different people who say contradictory things like "stretch a lot" and "don't stretch at all" and tons of things in between. How can I stretch to get those extensions (because I know it can't just be strength if I can't even get it there...) without pulling my hamstrings (even if I'm warmed up).


The bottom line is... I'm really confused about the stretching/strengthening problem, while still REALLY wanting to develop my lines.

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Tendu, I am assuming you wish to be a ballet dancer, and not a gymnast, right? If so, the kinds of extensions they do are not necessary. In fact they are not desired in classical ballet. Good extensions are needed, along with the placement and rotation and articulation of the legs and feet needed to create an artistically pleasing line. The extensions cannot be distorted as they are in gymnastics. You gain the line in ballet through your classes, and you should only do stretches taught to you in classes. Gymnasts do "over-splits", which we do not recommend.

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