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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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magdilena

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I started dancing three years ago when I went to college. I took a beginning ballet class for fun and really enjoyed it. I have been trying to increase my flexibelity and strength, by doing yoga and pilates, so I can be able to developpe my leg past 90 degrees in avant, derrier and a la seconde. I am having no succes. Please help.

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Hi, magdilena, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :)

 

Starting at college age puts you on the downside of the time equation. Unless they've been kept supple and well-worked throughout adolescence, your tissues are settling down into the routine of what they expect to do for the rest of your adult life. Starting ballet throws them a curve! It's not unbeatable; you can come to quite a nice place in technical accomplishment even with a late start, you will need excellent teachers who are accustomed to training adults (and have a special knack for it!).

 

For a dancer who's tracking recreationally, getting a developpé to 90° is good enough, as long as the body placement and line are correct. You are trying to make a breakthrough that most students who started before they were ten routinely make when they're about sixteen or seventeen. You've only got a short time on the mission, comparatively speaking. Look around in the existing threads and also in the Archives for stretches that will help with the flexibility. The strength, of course, only comes with continued hard work. Operative here is the "law of small increments" (sometimes called "death by a thousand cuts" :wink: )

Remember that the height of a developpé is set by where the knee goes. Once you've lifted that knee, it can't drop! Make sure that you can do that in your present extensions, then lift the knee just a fraction of an inch higher on the next one and extend. It'll take a long time, but the extension will improve.

 

Also remember that especially devant and à la seconde, the extension gets major support from the lower abdominal muscles, the ones below your belly-button. Pull those in and up, and you're on your way (slowly) to improved extensions (and just about everything else).

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