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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Flexibility increases with time off?


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One of my DDs is naturally very "tight" in every way. She has had to work very hard to achieve good turnout (which she now has) and particularly hamstring flexibility. When she has a day off, the following day she feels a little more flexible. The more time she has off, the more flexible she becomes, but then tightens up again when she begins dancing again.


Can someone please explain why this happens? It seems counter-intuitive to me. :thumbsup: There must be something about the way she works that causes this....

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Sounds like excess tension to me. Using muscles is one thing, gripping them is another. Excess tension = gripping somewhere = lack of movement.

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Thanks, Ms. Leigh--that makes sense. So, she probably has more natural flexibility than she thinks, but doesn't take advantage of it because she has worked incorrectly for so long--correct?

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My dd has experienced this phenomenon ever since she began ballet training. She is extremely hypermobile in all joints and when she has several days off of ballet, she finds it more difficult to control the flexibility when she goes back to class. Right now, she is still "coming back" after a couple of years of interrupted training (due to a variety of reasons), and is still finding this difficult to deal with, as her strength is very slow in coming back.

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Hypermobility is really quite different, though. She has to work just to get control, ie, less movement, not more. So pj, your child is really quite opposite. The child who is naturally tight has to work very hard to get the flexibility. The fact that it seems better when she has a day or two off is, at least with the child we are discussing, is because she relaxes when she is home, and is not busy working too hard and putting excess tension in the muscles.


Lovemydancers, I'm no so sure that it is working incorrectly as much as just working too hard. Overworking the wrong muscles. The teacher needs to work with her on fluidity and efficient use of her energy to generate more movement, not less! She needs to feel the flow of the energy throughout the limbs and beyond, as opposed to stopping the energy by gripping, probably the quads as well as a lot of her upper body and arms. How much natural flexibility she might have I can't know, but it sounds to me like she is preventing what she has. It could also be the training, especially if it is the kind of training that is so precise and exacting in every movement and not allowing enough freedom of movement throughout the body. Precision is necessary, but it can be overdone to the point of creating an inability to move.

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Ms. Leigh, that makes complete and total sense now. Thank you very much for the clarification.


Sometimes the common sense part of me just needs to understand the mechanics. :)

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