Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers to close ×
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Turnout and "swayback" knees


Recommended Posts

This is hard to explain, but when I am in fifth position, I feel like my knees are knocking together, like there's not enough space for them. My physiotherapist says this is because I wasn't turning out from the hip (thus my knees were facing forward too much) and she has given me exercises accordingly (and how she explained it makes sense). But one of the teachers at my ballet studio said that I have swayback knees. I also remember a teacher telling me this when I was younger (about 8 years old or so).


What are swayback knees? And what can you do to correct this?

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Lau, swayback knees are what is known as hyperextended knees. This means that when they are straight they actually go back a bit further than just straight. It's a structural thing, not something you can cure, although you can learn to work with it very well. Hyperextension creates a very good line on the extended leg, if it is well rotated and there is a good foot, but the standing leg is the problem. You have to learn to keep your weight forward and not back in your heels, and to be very well aligned in order to control it. In 5th position be very sure that you are not sitting back in your heels. Straighten the legs but don't allow them to push back all the way. You need the quad muscles to function for this, so that you are pulling up the knees and not pushing them back.


There are a ton of topics on the board about hyperextension. Just type the word in the search box and you will be reading for a long time! :D

Link to comment

Thank you so much. I will be doing some reading on that!


I would appreciate it if you could perhaps look at my other post about my concerns regarding continuously being told to straighten my knees in class (and finding the right teacher). If I am actually pushing them back too far, then surely I should not need to "straighten" them (or push them back) more?


Your advice to pull up and not push back makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

Link to comment

Having read some other posts, this makes a lot of sense as to why my balance (especially when on one leg only) is off and why my weight is often back (and thus disastrously placed) in pirouettes.


I feel so relieved to have a better idea how to deal with this.

Link to comment

Right! :) Really, it's among our most-discussed topics. I'm glad that you're finding the "Search" function useful!

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...