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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Stretching the back of the knees


chocakety

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My RAD teacher has always told me not to fully straighten my knees as I am hyper-extended. She told me to bend them alittle to make them look straight. She told me that I feel that I am bending my knees and that is fine. She also emphasized alot on keeping the heels together when in first position.

 

However, when I attend an open class with a French teacher, she say that it is very important to stretch the back of the knees. I asked her was it something like locking the knees and she said yes.

 

I have researched online and asked an adult dancer who is a certified physiotherapist who says that since hyper-extended dancers cannot straighten their leg fully, they should pull up from the inner thighs.

 

Is stretching the back of the knees the right way for a hyper-extended dancer?

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There are different theories about this, so you are going to have to do whatever your teacher wants you to do. Straightening them and locking them back are two different things, though. Very hyperextended legs, if locked, will be beyond straight and actually curved backwards. You have to learn to straighten without pushing them back. The weight placement and correct alignment are primary, always. If your knees are pushed back, then your weight will be too far back in your heels. You can control that, and it does not need to mean that the knees are bent, just not "locked" back.

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Thank you Ms Leigh

 

So from a hyperextended dancer's point of view, we should "bend" our knees to make it look straight right?

 

I can't feel the stretch at the back when I am "straight" but I can only feel it if I push my knee all the way at the back, giving that curve look of the supporting leg. How do I correct this?

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No, "bend" is not the right word. The knees must be straight. Use your quad muscles and stretch them as far as you can without allowing them to lock back. As I said before, you must be in correct alignment and weight placement in order to do this. You really need to work with a teacher who understands hyperextension as well as alignment and placement. The teacher needs to help you find the right way to stand and to use your legs correctly.

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