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Ballet Talk for Dancers

how to better feet and increase extension in arabesque


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My DD's studio does not allow the girls to go over 90 degree arabesque. I know that this will not help her in the long run. What can I have her work on at home to help develop a higher extention? Also, how can I help her develop more flexable feet? She has strong feet but they are not flexiable (the favored feet look in ballet). Advice would be greatly appreciated, because her studio does not allow them over 90 degrees. But when we look at the big picture it has to go over 90 degrees. DD needs help, and this will have to happen at home.

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  • Administrators

Balletsky, I'm afraid I totally do not understand a school not allowing over 90 degree arabesques with students over 13. I can understand it to a certain point in training, in order to get the rotation and the line, but there comes a time when they need to move on into the 21st century. I don't believe in this being done at home. It should be encouraged in classes.


As for flexibility in the feet, that comes from just really working on them, both in and out of class. Therabands are definitely helpful. Again, help needs to come from the teachers at the school, not at home. Sorry, but it sounds like I am saying look for a new studio.

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Believe it or not, my DD will be 13 in a week...She gets in trouble if she gets her leg too high. This is very confusing because she wants a career in dance. The school she is at is supposably the best pre pro school in our entire area. I have my doubts, but every one I call they say to go here for a professional ballet career. I am concerned...

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Okay, so basically, she is still 12 years old. The question is, once they are in the upper levels in their teens, are they still limited to 90 degrees? If that changes as they get more advanced, then I would not be so concerned. However, I do wish they would help her with gaining more flexibility in her feet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Is it possible that they are not allowed to go higher because they aren't ready to go higher? I've seen my 13yo DD's teacher address the class in similar ways. "There's no one in this room who should have their ankle next to their head on this. Bring it down and control it."


Perhaps the concern is placement/technique over height?

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Quite possibly. I ordered The Perfect Pointe book, as well as the parent quide and core strengthening book for DDs 13th birthday. It should be here soon hopefully. I ordered it on the 22nd so hopefully this week. We are hoping if she follows these exercises it will help her increase ankle flexiability, feet, etc. Keeping our fingers crossed.

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balletsky, as far as the ankle flexibility, is there anyone in the area that you can see that could help your daughter with specific exercises? When DD was younger, she had an instructor that showed her specific exercises to help with flexibility in her ankles. Once DD got older, around your daughter's age, her problem was in the strength of her metatarsals. We found a wonderful instructor who has a degree in dance pedagogy. He showed DD the musculature used in strengthening that area and gave her exercises to work that were specific to her issue as well as Theraband exercises and it worked wonders. Having someone there who knows exactly what your daughter needs might be more helpful than using a book, although those might help as well. It would also be helpful in finding out whether the arabesque is being held back because of lack of correct placement or whether it is an issue with the school.

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