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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Releve in Fifth


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I have noticed in class over the last several weeks that I often have trouble coming down from demi pointe (In pointe shoes, ballet slippers, or barefoot) without bending my knees, particurally in fifth. Also, I have gotten a lot of corrections from teachers about losing my turnout in fifth. To work on both those things at the same time, I practise standing in fifth and just rising up and coming down over and over again. I try to keep my turnout and to keep my knees completely straight, but that somehow isn't possible. I'm not really sure why not, but no matter how hard I try, my knees bend a little or I come down with less turnout than I started with. I know that this isn't good, but is it normal, or is it a serious problem? Is there anything I can do to get over it besides just practising it?

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Try this diagnostic: Relevé in fifth, but without bringing the feet together in sous-sus, in other words, sort of a third position relevé. Come down. See where the legs make contact as you descend. As you are aware, turnout depends almost entirely on rotation of the femurs in the hipjoint. Are you bow-legged? The legs may be interfering with one another when you come down. Are you hyperextended through the knees? Same story. If you can make it from the open relevé to a closed fifth position, then one of these factors may be involved. If you lose turnout in the descent, then you have rotation problems at the hip. It's not easy to do on yourself, so maybe ask your teacher for an "eye outside the self" after class. Talk about it with her/him.

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I don't think I'm bow-legged at all, but I am somewhat hyperextended, so that might be part of the problem.


The problem about bending my knees seems to have improved somewhat in the last week or so, but I still keep on losing turnout when coming down. I'm still working on it...


Thanks for your advice.

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