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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Flexibility


CanadianBallerina

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I've been dancing for 7 years and have never been one of those naturally flexible dancers. I'm 16 years old and havn't been able to do the splits. I have to be honest, I am lazy about stretching every day, and wondering how to easily incorporate stretching and some easy exercises that will have me doing the splits in no time!

 

Thank you! :)

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Hello CanadianBallerina, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers.

 

Dancers who are not naturally flexible have to work extra hard to achieve their flexibility. There is no other way to get it than to stretch regularly, which means daily. At 16, you are already rather late in trying to make major changes in your ability. Being able to do the splits is meaningless in ballet. It's not even in the vocabulary of ballet. Splits are a stretch, and they are to be USED to help increase one's flexibility. However, in order to do splits, or any of the kind of stretches one does to increase flexibility, one needs to be well warmed up. You do not do those things before barre work. Therefore, you need to do it between barre and center, if you are given time, and then again after classes.

 

I would like to ask you to please read our policies, found in the "Sticky" threads at the top of all of the forums. We require our dancers to write with proper punctuation and capitalization. No text message typing allowed here. Also, please read your posts after you post them, and when there are typos, please correct them with the Edit button.

 

[i edited your post to make these changes, and also fixed the typo in the title.]

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I have the same problem. I am younger than you are, and am one of the least flexible people I know. My dad, after working on it (stretching 5-7 days a week) for 7 years or so, is about a centimeter away from his left on a good day, and my moms family has difficulty touching their toes. I can do all of the stretches we do in PE quite easily (given, they aren't actually hard..) but have a hard time keeping up in classes, especially my jazz classes that have extremely fast moving teachers who really push you. I was born with an extra vertebre (how do you spell that?) and have a more rounded back (as far as I can tell) than my friends. Will the back problem make it harder for me to be a good dancer and/or become flexible?

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That is hard to say, booklover. I don't know if that it is a big problem or not, as it is not one I have encountered before. What do your teachers say about your ability to improve your flexibility?

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My teachers haven't said that much about it. I do notice I have some trouble keeping my hips square and one of my teachers corrects me on that a lot. Also, in arabesque when we have to kick it up to 90 degree angels, my back really starts to hurt.

However, those could also be due to the fact my fathers whole family has a really weak lower back which I seem to have inheirited. :(

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It might be a good idea to ask your teachers, and also your doctor. I must ask, though, if you are trying to keep your hips square when you extend to the back for grand battement or développé to arabesque or attitude? If so, that could very well be the source of the lower back pain.

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I try to keep my hips square, but my teacher has spent quite a bit of time just correcting me and recorrecting me. Should I not be keeping them square?

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NOT for an extension to the back, booklover. Perfectly square hips for front and side extension, yes, but for the back, if you expect to have any rotation at all and get your leg above about 30 degrees, there is no way that the working hip will not have to open. NOT lift, just open. And it should open only as much as it has to in order to get the leg up and turned out. If your teachers are asking for square hips in arabesque they are still living a couple of centuries ago. :(

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I see. I think I am thinking about the wrong words, or my teacher is behind. can you describe what square hips is? Also, I am taking a class with this same teacher tomorrow so I can try shifting how I do my hips. I'll tell you if it feels better :(

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Square hips are when your two hip bones are facing straight front, like headlights on a car. It's very important that you understand alignment, and how to extend your leg to the back. Have you studied photos and videos of professional dancers? It's quite easy to see, in a good photo, how the hip is open and not totally square. If it is lifted or too far open, the leg will be too much out to the side and the line will not be good.

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  • 4 weeks later...
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iluvRG, PLEASE read what I posted to you after your post on the Super Bendy Back thread. Your post here has the same problem. I have removed both of your posts.

 

Also, on the Welcome forum, the purpose of posting there is to tell us something about yourself, and your connection to ballet. Just saying that you are new here doesn't tell us very much! :)

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