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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Improving extension/height


missy12784

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Hello.Background: I have been dancing since I was 5 and I am now 17. I have been taught the Vagonova style, and have been studing classical ballet very serious for seven years. Question: I never really have had flexible hip joints. On a good day I can do a develeppe to the side at about a 120 degree elevation, front-100 back-160. I think for now I just need to concentrate on my front and side develeppes. What kind of excercises can I do to gradually increase my elevation as well as keeping a good turn out at the hips? When doing a develeppe with my right leg moving I seem to be more flexible. I want to get my left leg to do the same. :(

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You need to be doing developpés. There's really no supplementary exercise better than the objective itself. There is really nothing wrong with a 120º developpé, as that is the maximum the Vaganova curriculum calls for. Obviously, if you're stronger on one side than on the other, then that other side is going to have to get more attention and work during classtime. Safe and sound extension is not something that can be achieved overnight, or even in a few weeks; it will take months for the situation to improve.

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Guest robballet22

If improving your extensions is your goal, you should try getting weights that wrap around your ankles. After stretching out, place the weights around your ankles and do the "foot-in-the-hand" stretch to the front. After a minute, release your hand and try to hold the front extension with the ankle weight on your foot. Then, after holding it here for a while, take the ankle weight off. Your leg automatically will go up (even if only a tiny bit) as a result of the removed weight. Repeat this for all positions, and do the exercise every day. Also, stretch at home, not just at the studios. If you stretch everyday before and/or after class and try exercises like the ankle weight one, your extensions should begin to gradually improve. Just remember to not push or pull anything too drastically, and to be patient.:(

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Uh-uh, rob - bad idea! Weights on the legs are a major "thunder-thigh" producer, and not to be used. The detiré (jambe à la main) stretch is good, but no weights!

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Guest robballet22

Using weights on the leg to improve extensions doesn't have to make your legs bigger... if you use the correct muscles (inner thigh, gluts, etc.) instead of gripping with your thighs, not only will your flexibility increase but you will be able to hold your leg higher and easier since you won't be using your quads to keep your leg up there. Of course, if you use the wrong muscles, you will develop "thunder thighs" regardless of whether or not you use weights.

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Nope, still a lousy idea. Guys can get away with it, girls can't - NEXT!

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