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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Thighs don't touch in first position?

Striving for Grace

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When I stand in a well turned-out first position with no space between my heels, my thighs do not touch. There is a small space (maybe 0.5cm) between them from hip to knee.


I have hyperextended legs (if I were to push back into the knees there would be a 3-4 inch space between my heels in first). My usual teachers permit me to work with a small (1 inch) space between the heels in first position. With that space my thighs do touch. I had a guest instructor last night who was quite aghast at the fact that I was taking company class and my thighs weren't touching. I went home and tried to get them to touch with my heels also touching and it just won't happen! I never noticed this before, possibly because I normally wear skirts or wooly tights as warmups. I need at least a 0.5 inch space between my heels. In case you are wondering, my thighs are not skinny- they are muscular (but well-defined). My inner thighs kind of have a 'scooped in' look.


Does anyone have any insights on what I might be doing or might need to do? I'm at a loss and have not had a chance to ask my regular teachers yet.


A perplexed Grace

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Aw, no ideas at all? :( Anything? I'm on a 2 week long 'summer break' and haven't been able to ask my teachers about it.

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Maybe we're all just jealous that your inner thighs don't touch....... :(:D:flowers:


Seriously, each and every one of us is built differently, so I'm not sure what the fuss is about as far as the thighs are concerned. I would be much more worried about people letting you get away with less than a true first position. :D


The heels should be touching (or at least, working towards that goal) and the fact that yours aren't tells me you may not be rotating from the hips enough, but rather are still allowing your legs to fall back a bit into hyperextension. Take a good look at your knees in the mirror when you are in first position; where are your kneecaps facing??

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I have the same problem with similar legs (thighs muscular and have a bit more flesh than the rest of the body, slightly hyperextended legs) I have extremly O-shaped legs and this hinders me (with a lack of roatation....my turnout is not really good) to close my legs so that I have a huge gap between them in the thigh-aerea. Do you have got O-shaped legs?

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Clara, I can make my heels touch no problem. But it is when I do this that my thighs don't touch. I looked in the mirror and my kneecaps are facing almost to the side. Almost because my turnout isn't perfect... the last time my physio measured it (about a year ago) it was only 167 degrees. So there's room for improvement for sure. I do realize that as you say, if there is a space between the heels then I am hyperextending, however slightly, and not pulling up. I'm wondering if it's just an anatomical thing. It would make more sense to my if my hips were wide and this occurred. If I ever get that sub again I'll just keep my skirt or wooly tights on and hide the gap. Is that bad?


It's just that depending on whose class I am in I work a bit differently because different teachers expect slightly different things from students depending on aesthetic and stylistic preferences. It seems that two of my teachers, one of whom was taught by Balanchine, let me get away with slightly floppy or broken wrists (something I struggle with from time to time), more opened hips in arabesques, and a 1-inch space between my heels in 1st. My Russian teacher seems to use epaulment with everything, likes us to wing/bevel our feet, and favours continuous barre. Sometimes with him you can get away with cheating (shhh) just a bit to get that ultra-high extension. My RAD and Cecchetti-trained teachers balk at all of the above (except the epaulment) and everything has to be technically clean and precise.


Claude, are your referring to bow-legs? I may have some slight bowing in the lower legs/tibia. Definitely not in the upper legs. A good thought though. I always find it so interesting to hear about different physiques and their particular strengths and challenges.

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Sorry, yes, it is bowed legs in English I think. But it can't be this, if you have it in the lower area. Maybe it has to do with your hips and how your legs are in your hips (sorry, I don't know the word in English, I mean the joint where your thighs meet your hip). There are some people who have them rather wide apart without having a wide hip.

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