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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Dancergirlmelody

Hyperextension

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Dancergirlmelody

I am hyperextended, though not to an extreme amount, and until very recently it has not been much of an issue. One of my ballet teachers told me I was hyperextended when I was about eight and told me that for me true straight would feel slightly bent and worked with me for a few weeks, but since then my teachers have never really taught me how to work with it. However, now I have several teachers all addressing it, but they all have different ideas and it is becoming difficult to please all of them because my body is being asked to do very different things.

 

One of my teachers always wants me legs in a "true straight" when I'm standing on them or working with them unless my working leg is in an extension. I haven't really worked this way before and am finding it very difficult, especially in penche because instead of getting to my normal near 6 o' clock I could barely get past 120 or so. Another one of my teachers (at a different studio) thinks I should always use my hyperextension to its full extent whether I'm standing on it or not. This can be hard because I know it causes me to sit in my heels and not use my full turn-out.

 

Is there a technically correct way to approach hyperextension? Or it is something that changes depending on the dancer? I am planning on talking to a few very good teachers that have seen me dance to get their recommendation, but I would also like a broader range of expertise. How should I be using (or not using) my hyperextension?

 

Also, I wasn't exactly sure where to put this, so I apologize if it's in the wrong place.

 

 

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Victoria Leigh

Hyperextension is both a good and a bad thing. In terms of the line of the extended leg, it is fine. And, if one also has good rotation and feet, a very good thing. It is the supporting leg that is the problem. If you hyperextend the supporting leg your weight goes into your heel and then you are not on balance and in control. You need to learn how to use your alignment and weight placement to control the hyperextension on the supporting leg. It needs to be straight, controlled by the quad muscles, but not hyperextended. It might even feel slightly bent, but it should look straight. You need to work with a teacher who has knowledge and experience in dealing with hyperextension.

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