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Katarinaballerina

extensions

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Katarinaballerina

Hi! I've been working a lot on my extensions lately, and I find that when I do, my hip flexors get very tight. As I am doing développés, I can feel my quads and hip flexors gripping a little, but when I try to relax those muscles, I can't maintain the height. Clearly I'm doing something wrong, and letting the big muscle groups take over. Does anyone have any ideas, or imagery I can think of to use the right muscles and still get a decent height? Thanks!

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Clara 76

Do a Search of this forum and the YD 13-16 forums for the word, "Extensions"!!! There are many good answers there!

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Katarinaballerina

Thank you :) I did run a search before posting, and have been working with my leg lower to develop the requisite strength. I guess my problem is that I seem to have hit a plateau in terms of the height my leg can reach. I can extend to a certain point fairly comfortably, and using the right muscles, but I feel like I won't be able to increase my range until I lift a little higher and try to hold it there - but I cant seem to do that without gripping. It feels a little like a catch-22. Perhaps I just need more patience and once my body gets stronger it won't be an issue? I'm just not sure how to progress more efficiently. Any thoughts greatly appreciated, and I will continue reading what I can on this great site :)

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Clara 76

Good for you for running a search!!!

 

I suspect that you haven't quite met your rotators and learned how to strengthen them just yet.

 

How many ballet classes are you taking every week, and how long are they? Are you en pointe? How long have you studied ballet?

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Katarinaballerina

I suspect you are probably right. My schedule has to bend around auditions, but right now on average I'm taking anywhere from 4 to 10 90-minute ballet classes a week. I'm at an adv beg/intermediate level at Steps. I started in other forms of dance and have been taking ballet for about 4 years, though unfortunately not in a consistent way as my schedule does not always allow it (just got back from a year-long tour in which I danced but did not really have access to class other than the barre I'd give myself). I just got on pointe and LOVE it! My problem is that I started dancing in open classes, and have learned by mimicking, researching, and a few privates when I can afford them. Thus I have great style and fairly inconsistent technique...

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Clara 76

Oh yes.... missing some foundation.

 

Let's start with alignment and rotation:

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=35504 Alignment

 

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=44193 Rotation and turnout

 

Read those 2 posts and see if anything strikes a chord

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Katarinaballerina

Thanks! Both informative and well-written! I am aware of everything mentioned and do understand it intellectually, however physically applying everything with great consistency is another story! It's definitely been a challenge learning through open classes, because often classes are big and you don't have one teacher tracking your process. I've found one teacher recently who is "on" me about my technique all the time, and she is wonderful :) I think I may need to just work with my leg lower even though it's frustrating, until my turnout muscles become strong enough. It's so frustrating that I can stretch my leg up practically to my ear, and yet I can't hold anything above 110 degrees! Anyway, thanks for all of the information! :)

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Clara 76

Yes! The other thing you might consider is adding a low-level class to what you are currently doing. This will give you the opportunity to take the time to strengthen your basics! Trust that some day, you will be able to hold your extensions high!!!!

 

For now, keep the leg a bit lower and really work on rotating it. Slowly start to bring it higher and the rest will come. Patience is a pre-req!

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tinyzinnia

Hi Katarina

Because I saw that you are at Steps, I just wanted to mention...have you tried Floor-Barre? There is a lot of work with turnout, alignment, and working the "right" muscles. My mom (a former dancer) is obsessed with it! If you have the time maybe you could try out a class at Steps.

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Katarinaballerina

That's a great idea, I will check it out :)

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tinyzinnia

Cool- let us know how it goes!

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Katarinaballerina

Hi! Just a quick update. Haven't been able to make it to floobarre yet, schedule-wise it's a little complicated, but I have ordered a dvd. However! I made two really important discoveries on my own!

1. I realized I haven't really been 'pulling up' in my core. I've been pulling in, thinking about bringing my belly button in and lifting, etc, but I was walking down the street and for whatever reason really pulled my lower abs up, and I had no idea I could even do it that much! Immediately I felt more lifted, applied this feeling in my next class, and I had so much more facility in every way! It sounds so silly and self-evident, but I guess I had never felt how much I could lift myself physically. I can't wait to keep working!

2. I also realized I haven't been working with the full extent of my rotation. I've always been really careful because I've had knee problems in the past and never wanted to turn out too much and twist them, but since I've been really aware of my rotator muscles lately, I discovered that my turnout is actually pretty decent! And working on developing strength in my rotators is helping my extension for sure - slow and steady...

I did add a basic class to my schedule, and it's definitely helped me pay attention to the little things - they're what make the biggest difference! :)

Happy thanksgiving all! :)

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Victoria Leigh

That all sounds very positive, Katerina! Good for you, and keep on working that way. :)

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