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Why Can I Demi-Plie in Fifth, But Not First

Take Dance to The Sky

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Hello all,


I find it very confusing as to why my fifth position demi-plie is as deep or deeper than my fellow students, yet my first is atrocious. I have danced for a few years and naturally posses the ability to overextend all of my joints so typically flexibility is never a concern for me while I train. Do you think this is simply an issue of improper form while in fifth, or are my tendons actually stretched in a drastically different fashion between positions? I've never heard of anyone else with this problem. Aside from just doing 8 million demi's are there any other specific stretches to try?


To give an extremely brief background, in the off chance it makes a difference: I started contorting my body essentially since birth, but only started formal dance training when I turned 19. Also, I have extreme natural turnout, as well as both split and pointe positions past 180 degrees. When flexing the foot, I find it extremely painful to even hold 90 degrees for a few seconds, and thus often walk virtually everywhere on my toes to some extent.


Thank you in advance for any suggestions or comments.

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Welcome Take Dance...I am hoping you can clarify something for me. You stated you do not have an issue with flexibility in your joints but then also stated you cannot "flex" your foot past 90 degrees without extreme pain. Is your ankle much tighter than the rest of your joints?


The mechanics of a demi-plie', especially the lower leg, should be the same regardless of using 1st or 5th position. Be sure you are not rolling forward toward the big toe during the plie' as well as maintaining the alignment of the knee over the toes. Sounds silly but imagine a lady bug living under the arch of your foot. You shouldn't "squish" her during the plie'.

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Thank you for the responce

All my actual joints are extremely hypermobile, but my calves are very tight from back when i was training for a marathon, which leads to a foot that only enjoys the pointe position. Its natural rest position while I'm not standing is actually slightly past 180 and only a very slight sickle. I obviously caused the problem by running more than stretching, but still it leaves me wondering why the subtle forward and rear alignment shift of fifth improves my range of motion.

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  • 2 weeks later...

TDTTS, I would visit a good foot doctor. Find a dance or good physical therapist who might find a muscle that is especially tight.


I was pronating, and now wear orthotics in my street shoes. All the pain is gone, and I now dance like I did decades ago.

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