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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hyperextension and sinking


zmagal

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My daughter is very hyperextended. It's great, because she's also very flexible with great feet. She's training at a Cecchetti school, and she has enough strength to do pointe work (she's 13) but she's still needing to build strength, because she's not quite strong enough. Sometimes, she says she sinks while en pointe. She is working to pull up, and to not allow herself to bend backwards too much. How much can this affect her ability later on in dance? Her hyperextension can also making standing in center in a la seconde a little more difficult. She can do it, but she lets herself get off a little. How bad is this that she's struggling with this at this age? At what point does she need to have complete control over the hyperextension?

Edited by zmagal
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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, zmagal. :)

 

I can't tell you what point one would be expected to have "complete control", or if any of us ever do! :wink: But seriously, like everything else in ballet it takes a long time and very good training. It totally depends on the child, the degree of hyperextension, the overall strength, especially during major growth years, alignment and weight placement, and great guidance by someone who understands working with hyperextension. I would not expect it to totally be there in the younger teens.

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Ok. She did get accepted to a major ballet program for the summer, but I am worried about her struggling. Her teachers are really happy with her work, but she comes and tells me how sometimes she can feel herself go back into that hyperextension (she's quite hyperextended) and how sometimes she'll sink as a result. She gets really frustrated with herself. Since I don't know how vital mastery of this is at this age, I wasn't sure how it would be for her in the summer with different teachers.

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It will depend a lot on where she is going for the summer, but hopefully she will be fine and they will just help her. :)

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  • 1 month later...

I have a question about hyperextension as well. is there anything you can do to achieve a bit of a hyperextension? Is it just something you have or don't have?

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It is structural, therefore there is nothing you can do to change it.

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yes, thats what I thought. Too bad! thanks

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My DD is 12 and has hyperextended knees (they look bent all the time). This really bothers her because she feels that she is doing everything wrong and it just looks bad. She said that when she does straigten her legs that her knees lock (that how she describes the feeling). At her SI they are working with her on this. They told her to bend her knees slightly, but she is afraid because she already looks like she has bent knees. I think this is causing her some frustration because she knows it looks wrong, but she hasnt mastered how to fix it. Does anyone have any advice that I can share with her to eliminate some of the frustration. Also, is hyperextension of the knees a good thing or a bad thing?

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Hyperextension is a bone structure thing. You can learn to control it, but in a weight bearing position it can be difficult. Especially at 12, when they are growing and still do not have the strength, or possibly the correct training to learn to control it. In terms of the line it makes in an extended position, IF there is also rotation and a good foot, it makes an exceptional line. That is why it is desired. So, it is both a positive and a negative, but not something that can be either created or "cured".

 

If the knees do not look straight even when they are, that is hypoextension, or, might be. It also might be that the child has not yet learned to fully straighten them. Therefore, when older and stronger, and can be fully straightened, after having looked bent, it could be that one might think they have become hyperextended because they look so different. Learning how to correctly use all of the muscles, and growing and getting stronger can certainly change the look of things, but it does not actually change bone structure.

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Ok, based on the mom's descriptions of hyperextension, I'm a little confused. I thought my daughter was very hyper-extended because, before she started to learn to control it (though still a work in progress) her knees looked like they bent backwards as opposed to the normal bent knees. They looked like they folded backwards. It's gotten much better, so it's not so extreme anymore. Is this what you mean by hyper-extended? Or is it when they're always bent going forward. I can show pics of my daughter when she was younger and it was more pronounced if you're not sure what I mean.

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Hyper is when the knees look like they bend the wrong way (opposite to plie) Hypo is when they just look bent regular even when the dancer is straightening as much as they can.

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Both my children inherited my hyperextended knees. My son stands with knees locked back when the ball is not in play during baseball and my daughter does that when she is not paying attention. She had some injuries relating to the hyperextension when she was 11-12 and worked a lot with a PT and a pilates teacher. She had to gain core strength, learn about her body, and be vigilant about her placement. It is a mixed blessing for a dancer.

 

I often awaken at night or in the morning with aching knees and sore ligaments from hyperextending and stretching in weird positions in my sleep. More so now that I am old , , ,

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