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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Working back into stretches


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I have not been dancing for very long at all, it was offered as a class in my high school and I took up to Dance III, so essentially a year and a half of dancing but it was all broken up. Since I loved it and I'm looking for a studio to attend when I go to college I wanted to get back into the habit of stretching. I know it will take plenty of time to get back to the point I was when I was most flexible, but I'm recognizing things that prevented me from being much more flexible at that time while I stretch now.


While I'm doing sitting stretches I realize I feel 80% of the "pull" in my back, not my legs. This gets painful after continuous stretching because I'm very heavy chested and I already struggle with back pain. When I do straddle stretches, or even try to expand my straddle beyond my comfort zone, I feel almost all of the tension on the very inside of my knee. It doesn't even feel like there is a pull on my muscles. I tried describing the knee pressure to my teacher but she told me some amount of pressure there was normal and I should work on keeping my turnout while I stretch. That hasn't helped.


I'm really curious as to whether I'm making something out of nothing, because it doesn't feel that way to my body. Is there a way to change/fix these things?

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I'm wondering if you're doing active stretches before being properly warmed up? You have to ease your body into any kind of active stretch. In fact most ballet classes won't let you do anything like that before you've finished barre!


I think what may help you best is some physical activities like swimming and biking and hiking- just staying in shape for when you do start your classes back up!!!

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I feel dumb saying it, but we've never had a barre. During the semester we run through ballet, jazz, modern, and usually hip hop and we were very under funded!

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Before you can begin to figure out what stretches you may need and how to do them, you really need to get into a good ballet class- one that lasts at minimum 1 hr. 15 mins.-1.5 hours. It should start slowly at the barre with some easy foot warmups and hip warmers, and then get straight on to pliés, tendues, etc. The room should have suitable flooring and a mirror, as well as a barre that is suitable for your height.

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Dawning, please, please please do not go back to the high school program. One simply does NOT teach ballet without barre. The barre is where you learn everything you will need to execute the movements in the center with correct alignment, balance point, rotation, line, and articulation. These things do not happen by just going on the floor and dancing. :thumbsup:


I'm afraid that you will seriously injure yourself, if you have not already, by doing stretches that should never be done prior to a thorough warmup. Please find a good ballet studio!!!

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