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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Another way to think of "pulling up knees"


mamabear

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DD almost 10, dancing 1.5 hrs four times per week, has been getting a recurring correction to pull up her knees. Her legs aren't hyperextended as far as I know, and she tells me that she's pulling up her knees until her quads are burning, and she still gets the same correction. I'm wondering if there is a different way to think about this, or to express it, that might make it click for her? I'm thinking that there is something she's not understanding if it's a recurrent correction.

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I suggest your daughter ask her teacher this very question. It may just take time for her to develop the strength to sustain the strength in her muscles to do so without difficulty. Lift the knees upward into the thigh, suspend the knees in your thighs, there many ways to say it.

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It may also help her to lengthen the leg behind the knee as she "pulls up" the knee cap. If she is pulling up to the point of her quads burning as you described, she may only be using the front of the leg. It is important to lengthen the leg, or "pull up" all around the leg. The front of the quad is quite large and will take over if the smaller muscles are not consiously involved.

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I completely agree with gcwhitewater, and that is exactly what I would have said as well. An image that one can use to do this would be to think about lengthening the back of the lower leg(calf) away from the back of the top of the leg(hamstring). Obviously, with youngsters one would not use the anatomical vocabulary necessarily, but getting them to think about the leg stretching on the backside rather than all the emphasis on the front. Just for adult purposes, an analogy, we all associate strong core muscles with the types of exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles, but just as important are the muscles of the lower back and gluteal muscles- if these are not also engaged, the maximum control of the torso is not achieved. In anatomy, muscles on the dorsal side of the body(that of the backside) must work equally and opposite to those on the ventral side(abdominal).

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Thanks so much! I passed along the suggestions to my daughter, and she says it feels different when she thinks about lengthening her calf from her hamstring, and lengthening behind her knee as she pulls up the kneecap.

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