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Ballet Talk for Dancers

5th position problem


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I perused the forums a bit trying to look for an answer, but most of what I found did not quite hit the spot. A fellow male dancer and myself, both of whom just started ballet recently, have rather large thigh muscles and the both of us are finding that closing into 5th position from the side and back to be very frustrating.


It seems to us, based on what we are feeling, that our thighs are getting in the way in such a fashion that we feel the need to try and circumvent the muscle. As you can probably imagine doing dégagé and other such movements tend to get more difficult than they should be the more the tempo picks up.


Just for a little clarification our thighs are not 'bulky' just large, we have good lines according to our ballet instructors. (he was a martial artist, not sure of the practice, and I spent a lot of time on my feet due to marching band and football/basketball/rugby) I am not sure of the precise area of conflict for him, but as for my self the conflicting area is about mid thigh (~half way between the groin and knee) and seems to occur just before we close (about half way between 3rd and 5th on the foot and I'd say about an inch or two before the feet connect to each other.)


We have found a way around it by bending the closing leg just a tad, but as that is improper technique as far as we understand we would like to find other solutions to this problem.


Thanks in advance.

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Are you able to open and close your working leg in all directions with a flexed foot? Your answer will effect how I pursue the answer you are seeking. :)

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In 1st position I have no problems with a flexed foot. While trying 5th position I notice I either bend the supporting leg or shift my hips to the side just a tad and return them to a square position. If I concentrate on not doing one, I do the other. Concentrating on not doing either, I can't quite close into position.


Edit: The bending/twisting doesn't occur when trying to close from the front.

Edited by Trulhammaren
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Considering your answer regarding closing into 5th with a flexed foot, using educated guess work (because we cannot see you), it sounds like you are sitting on your legs and not pulling up enough when you close your legs together into 5th. I actually try not to use that expression on the Internet since it does not really serve a purpose without eyes, but that is about the sum total of my guestimate. Work to close two legs together, lifting out of your legs. If your working leg fits with a flexed foot, the problem is not your thighs.

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I did a little bit of experimentation between classes today and noticed that I was doing something a little funky at times. Not really sure how to describe it, but it didn't quite look or feel right. After I got back into alignment and keeping it there I went through some more exercises I noticed that by fixing whatever it was that I was doing helped. It didn't however fix the problem entirely closing in the back either from second or arabesque still is causing the bend/swivel although to a lesser degree.


I don't know if any of that will change you prognosis any, but I'll have my men's technique teacher take a look at things tomorrow see what he notices.

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That's probably the best avenue of inquiry. Your teacher can see you, we can't. Let us know what he tells you.

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I asked him to take a look throughout class, and what he thinks the problem is, is that I haven't built up the strength to keep my turnout when my working leg is in arabesque or transferring over from second to arabesque. Class was over and he gave me a couple of theraband exercises to work on as we were heading out the door.


As I don't think they will let me keep my theraband during bootcamp, and unfortunately I won't get to see him again until I get back. Are there any good stretches/exercises that I would be able to work on while I am away that will help with this? And while I'm here, what are some good stretches for the quadratus lumborum (muscle that connects bottom rib to the illiac crest)?

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During BCT, your regular PT will keep you busy enough. During AIT, when more privileges are permitted, you will be able to stock a theraband as "supplementary exercise equipment". In the meantime, if you want a quick substitute for a theraband, in the time from 1800 to 2000 hours, you can use the socks that you wore with jump boots, just before putting them into your laundry bag. That's what I did.


As to the quadratus lumborum (QL), since you're a tuba player, that muscle is going to get one helluva workout! It's very deep (the abdominal organs are IN FRONT of it), and gets stretched in normal cambré movements, forward and back and to the sides, in port de bras at the barre.

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Well you lost me on this one. I guess I need to refer to the Men's Forum! :)

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