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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Question about Grand Jete Mechanics


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Hello! My daughter is 12.5 and is having trouble with her Grand Jetes. She cannot do the full “split” in the air when she leaps. It looks more like a 135 degree leap. I’m hoping for a bit of insight here. If she pushes up on two barres (pushes a movable barre over to the stationary one and stands between them and uses them to push upward and for support) she can extend her legs out to a full 180. That has her believing it must be in her leap prep and strength. Does this sound correct? How does she get a better prep? She feels it must be a lack of strength and that she is not getting enough power in her pile.

She is 12.5 and almost 5’3. She is a tall, willowy  girl, and all leg. The shorter more petite girls have these jumps pretty much nailed down. I’d like to say that her long limbed stature has come with awesome flexibility but that is not the case. She’s had to work for every bit of flexibility, core and leg strength that she has and she still has a ways to go. She use to only be able to do extensions to 90 degrees, even after working on and gaining flexibility. Once she realized strength was needed to she added a Pilates class and an extra strengthening class and has seen noticeable improvement. 

While she know things take time in ballet, my daughter is very analytical in nature and identifying what is the cause helps her pinpoint areas of work. For instance, when she realized that flexibility alone wouldn’t get her higher extensions, she worked leg and core strength daily. It took her 2 months to see any progress and then one day BAM, it just happened and she was at around 120 degrees in her extensions and she could hold them up. So she will put in the work. 

Thanks for the help. 


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Jennsnoopy, tall, willowy and all leg types are generally the type that take a good bit longer to gain strength. The bones grow, but the muscles have to play catch up.  The jump is the issue, not the split. 

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