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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Two Issues I Need Advice On


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1. My hips have been so stiff and a bit sore lately. It takes forever to warm them up, and sometimes if I'm at school and they ask us to sit in a criss-ross position on the floor, I feel pain. Most hip stretches have been been painful, except for the stretch where you lay up against the wall and let gravity push your legs down. That is fine, so I do it a lot. Today in jazz we had to do the frog and it hurt when I was a foot off the ground, and I used to have it almost down. I am only 13- I do not want hip problems this young! Any advice on this? (Should I have posted this in the health issue forum instead? :thumbsup: )


2. Rotation- on both the right and left, it is completely fine to the side and back, both for tendus and extensions. But on both my right and left, I'm just not getting it to the front. Tendus are fine, but extensions are just a struggle. I feel my quads working a lot when I do them, and I think they are working more than they should be. What muscles should I be strengthening/engaging to improve my rotation to the front? This happens in grand battemants too (to the front only).

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First things first; you shouldn't be experiencing pain when simply sitting in a cross-legged position. The risk inherent in the frog stretch is not particularly to the hips, but rather to the knees. As you enter adolescence, you can lose a bit of flexibility because of the hormone rushes, and also after growth phases, because your bones have grown, but the muscles are already stretched to accommodate them. Additional stretching may be difficult, but not dangerous in such times.


If I were you, I'd take my rotation concerns to my teacher first, but then, if that doesn't ease your mind, I'd go to an orthopedist to make sure that everything is all right with your hipjoint.


Strangely enough, the muscles which help you most to lift the leg are mostly abdominal, including the lower abs under the belly-button, and the big ones in back, the factory-installed seat cushions, the glutei maximi and their smaller cousins. If you have better rotation, those muscles will be easier to bring into play, which is why I addressed rotation first.

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In terms of grand battement and other extensions to the front, it sounds to me like you are putting the extension before the rotation. Extension without rotation, at least in classical ballet, is useless. So, establish the rotation, and the work the extension to the best ability you have within that rotation.

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So you think I should do lower extensions and grand battements to the front but with good rotation, and then work my way back up as the rotation improves?

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That's right. Extension without rotation is not extension in terms of classical ballet. It's only flexibility. It has no line. LINE in ballet is essential. A classical line requires rotation! Very simple :rolleyes:

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