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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Keeping hip down in grand battement devant

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I am looking for any advice, as, though I can keep my hips and alignment well placed when executing grand battement devant with the right leg, once I try going over about 90 degrees with my left leg my left hip goes up and my hips turn to face the other corner! Under 90 it is fine, and I have tried everything my teacher says, such as make sure to turn out as much as possible, keeping the heel forward, have the leg less crosses, pull up supporting side, but nothing seems to be working. 

It does seem to be slightly better on relevé and in the centre compared to at the barre, if that helps.


Thank you in advance!

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Victoria Leigh

Amelanchier, I apologize for the long delay in response to your question.  It was a long holiday weekend over here! 

First, I will just say that a difference in things like rotation and extension with different sides of the body is not really unusual. We all seem to have one leg, or one foot that works better than the other, especially in turning!  That said, it sounds to me like your teacher is right, and it just may take a period of time for you to see noticeable improvement. As you know, nothing is instant in ballet!  Just be careful about the placement of the leg itself in terms of center front, and also remember that placement and rotation come first and are more important than extension. The extension must happen within that placement and with the rotation. :)



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Ballet Prodigy

I struggle with this, too when I go a la seconde. My problem is that I usually try to go too high for what my body and strength is capable of. Maybe just try lowering it to where your hip doesn’t release until you can build that strength to get it higher? We aren’t Barbie so anything above 90 degrees will probably release your hip a little but your hips should not be tilting if that makes sense. 

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Clara 76

As Miss Leigh said, it is common to have inconsistencies between the 2 sides of our bodies. It sounds as though one leg is likely longer than the other, and thus, has better stretch in the hamstring than the other one. Basically, the good leg engages the hamstring correctly while the bad side is using too much quad. 

Try this exercise:

Sitting on the floor with legs outstretched in front of you. Bend your left knee keeping the foot flat on the floor and clasp it with your hands. The working leg is going to be the right. Flex your right foot and straighten the right leg completely.At this point in the exercise the right leg must be parallel- not rotated. Lift your right leg up off of the floor 4" and hold it for 10-20 seconds. Do you feel your quad muscles tightening and hurting? Now, turn your leg out and hold it. Make sure it remains straight with the foot flexed and energy going out of your heel. After holding the right leg in the rotated position, you should begin to feel the hamstrings working, alongside the quads! Now, follow up with 2 slow counts turning parallel, and 2 slow counts turned out for about 16 counts. Repeat with the left leg.

There is an addendum to this exercise that we can add, but first, try it as described above and report back.

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