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Tight knees?

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:confused: I have this huge question in my head:


When mentioned about tight knees in ballet class, do they have to be knees straightened in a locked position? I find that when I do it, it's really difficult on my left leg, which is the "bad" leg. I find balancing particularly difficult. I couldn't maintain balance for more than 3 seconds. My physical condition has given me the habit of locking my knees because my Mom used to remind me "to stand on your left leg"; because I tend used my right side more than my left.


I posed this question to the acupuncturist who is treating me now; and he said that I should stand and balance with my knees slightly bent. If I continue locking my knees, it will pose a serious problems to the knees sooner or later. What should I do when in ballet class? Now, when I try balancing on my left leg with the knee slightly bent, I find that my balance improved markedly and the hips and centre are not sinking into the left side. :)


Any feedback on this question is greatly appreciated.





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It's funny you should ask this question - our teacher talked about this in our last class. He said that basically you have to relax your legs or you do put too much strain on your knees. He said that balancing is more about being pulled up above your waist, from the centre of your body, using your eyes and head and arms, rather than bracing your legs etc. He also said that if you have your legs too tightly clenched you get big thigh mucsles!;)


I'm not an expert though, it's quite complicated to explain, and I'd love to know how Mjr Johnson or Ms Leigh would put it.

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The knees must be straight, but this happens by working the quad muscles, not by locking the knees back, which is usually caused by the pelvis tilting forward which makes the knees, especially if they are the slightest bit hyperextended, go back and the weight go back into the heels. Getting the legs straight starts with correct placement and balance point, which is your weight placement. The legs should not be gripped, but of course the muscles must work or they will not be strong. Therefore they are NOT bent. But there is a big difference between straight and locked back. The weight placement is VERY important in finding the right placement and usage of the legs. You do not have stability on bent knees, however people with very hyperextended legs often have to feel like they are a bit bent.


Without seeing you it's impossible to correct because I can't know if you are really very hyperextended or if you are creating it by locking the knees, tilting the pelvis and throwing the weight too far into the heels. Big thighs can indeed be caused by gripping, and especially by sitting into the legs with the weight too far back.

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Having legs jammed at full travel can also cause problems with the blood circulation in the affected limb and the rest of the body. Ever see a soldier faint on parade after a long standing still at attention? That's a good part of what does that!


The legs must appear straight, but ought to feel as if they were being simultaneously being pulled up from the floor, while at the same time, pushing down onto and into the floor in order to support your body with a stable balance platform. Locking the knees should be the farthest thing from your mind. If you follow these advices that Ms. Leigh and I give, you won't have time to think about locking them, anyway!;)

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