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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Extensions in the center


JulianneMH

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I have always been naturally flexible. I can practically pull my ankle to my ear and hold it. However, everytime I'm in the center and we're doing developpes, I can't seem to get my legs as high. They are well past 90, but I know I can get them much higher. When I try to extend higher something always goes wrong, such as my balance, alignment, etc. And, surprisingly, trying to use the turnout muslces(ie the back of the legs) aggrivates my balance even more.

 

Also, I've noticed my arabesque has suddenly dropped and I have to struggle to get my foot on the same level as my shoulders(if that makes sense). I can easily PUT my leg where I want it, and hold it, but when I'm actually dancing it just won't get there. Is this a matter of strength? Flexibility? I'm 14 but I've been done growing for about a year now.

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It is strength, totally. Perhaps a cross-training such as Pilates might help?

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Yes, pilates might help. The thing is that I've taken pilates classes a few times but they never seemed to challenge me enough. I think it was because most of the other people in the class weren't dancers :ermm: I have a few pilates DVDs but they are all beginner, as well. Do you have any suggestions?

 

I know pilates seems to focus on the core, but are there any other specific muscles you think need more attention?

Edited by JulianneMH
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  • Administrators

Also, please remember Julianne, that a leg up by your ear does not create a classical line. If you are above 90º, rotated and aligned, and can hold it, then that would be very good for 14 years old. Please remember that line comes before extension, and extension without line is not ballet. Acrobatics, maybe, but not ballet. :thumbsup:

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Thanks Mrs. Leigh, that's good to hear. As high as I want my leg to go, I know the most important thing is keeping the line. That does get lost these days, when people tend to look for tricks rather than clean technique and artistry.

 

The thing is, it really worried me when I was at an audition last weekend, and the girl next to me was getting her leg about a foot higher than mine during center adage(she was about the same height as me). Although I was keeping my turnout and placement while trying to get the leg higher, I just could not reach my best extension without nearly tipping over. It was frustrating; I didn't want the the teachers to think I was lacking in flexibility or anything :unsure:

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If the judges are looking for flexibility over line and placement, then they are the ones with a problem! And dancers are not expected to have it all at 14.

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And auditioners understand about 14! If they don't, they're in the wrong business! :thumbsup:

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Sorry, SeahorseMom, but this is the YD forum! Please post your question in a new topic on the Parents forum. :D

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Sorry, I can certainly do that. I only posted it because the forum says Young Dancers: "13-16" so I thought a question about my 16 year old was OK. Maybe the title should be adjusted? :yucky: )

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Young Dancers 13-16 means that the young dancers post there, and their questions are answered by our Teacher Moderators. :yucky: No parents allowed! But, the teens are not allowed on the Parent forums either. :thumbsup:

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