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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Define good extension?


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When I say this, I am speaking of the balletic version of extension, not increasing the angle of the joint, as you may have guessed.


I know many teachers have different ideas of what is "good" extension, but I was wondering what the mods would define as good extension.



Thank you!

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Good extension starts with good line, which means correct placement, good rotation and good shape of the foot. Once those things exist, then we talk about the height of the leg. I don't like to put numbers on things, like degrees of height, because to me it is much more important that the line looks good, which it will if it has the above qualities and is high enough to be interesting without being acrobatic. :wallbash:

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One classmate of mine told me that taller girls/boys are more interesting to look at when using their extension, since they are so tall and have longer legs.

DO you find this to be true?

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Shorter people can have long legs too. It's a matter of proportion. And, I have also seen dancers who are quite short who do not have exceptionally long legs and still have very good line and extension. Your classmate's blanket statement does not hold true. Both tall and short dancers can have good extension, and height does not determine either line or extension.

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I read in Gail Grant's book, Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet that in order to be considered "good extension", your leg has to be able to reach 135 degrees. What if your leg goes higher than that?

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Not a problem, as long as you are well placed and rotated! :yes:

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As long as you're not skewing your body WAY off-center, or settling WAY down in the supporting hip, it has application, but most classical parts really don't look good with stick-it-in-your-ear kneecaps. About 120° is plenty for this kind of role. With things like Giselle, think more in terms of 100°. The six o'clock arabesque is good for spice, but you don't want it to be like a canteloupe seasoned with a tablespoon of Tabasco Sauce! (I had a cousin who used to season his melon gently with freshly cracked pepper. I was suprised when I tried it. With some dishes, it could be a very appropriate accompaniment. With others, not so good.)

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