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 Post subject: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 12:51 pm 
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Ok, here's the thing- I'm flexible in my legs when I'm stretching, but when I'm doig grande battements I can't even go above my waist. I really want to dance professionally, but I just started and I'm 13, so if ANYONE has ANY tips or anything to say, please do!


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 1:00 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Magdalena....when you say you are flexible in the legs when you are stretching...could you describe what kind of stretching?<P>Grand battement is not just a matter of stretching, it is also very much a matter of strength and correct technique - and of course alignment.<P>You can't sit into your hips and do a well executed grand battement. The body/torso has to be well pulled up, supporting itself in order for the hips to be at ease and the leg to be free for the kick. One thing that helps is to be sure to give yourself a really good pushoff for the kick. Really push through your foot, and then fully pointe your toe as it leaves the floor.<P>Picture your toe kicking up. Feel the energy go through your leg all the way into that toe - and then out, up, reaching.<P>Don't let you chest sink at all - that feels like it will help - but it doesn't. In fact it will keep the leg from going higher.<P>You have to remember, that as you said, you are just starting and therefore you do have to be patient. Yes, I know some people start out in their very first class with really high legs. But, for most of us we have to work at it, do the right things and be patient.


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 1:18 pm 
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Hurdler stretch, the one with two legs in front of you nd you're leaning, and frog. How do you mean, alignment?


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 2:21 pm 
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK, USA
I apologize for jumping in, but the hurdler stretch is considered dangerous and obsolete. Better stretch would be to stand up, using a hand lightly against a wall for balance, draw foot up behind you, and for more stretch, stand up completely straight and push your "working" hip slightly forward. Image


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 4:02 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I am afraid I am not understanding the description of the hurdler stretch. Do you mean sitting on the floor with both legs out in front of you and lean forward over your legs? I don't see much danger in that, in my opinion. As long as the floor isn't cold.<P>ok - I just found a picture of a modified hurdler stretch - looks like she has one leg out and one tucked in. This doesn't look dangerous to me - could you explain why you think it is, Shada?<P> Image <P>If I am understanding what stretch you are describing, Shada, where you take your ankle or foot in your hand and pull it up behind you, while you are standing up straight - I have always felt that one to be detrimental to the knee. Am I understanding it correctly?<P>As for the frog, Magdalena, - if you are talking about putting the bottoms of your feet together and lying face down on the ground - I would really recommend that you don't do that one. That puts quite a bit of stress and weight on the knees, in my opinion. I think it is much better to put the bottoms of your feet together, sitting up, and let gravity pull your knees toward the floor. <P>The problem with stretching - is that you don't want to injure one part of your body while, stretching the other part. Gentle is always best, and you always have to be completely warmed up.<P>Alignment is the basis for the ballet - it is how the body is held - placement. How one part of the body is held in conjunction with another part. When you understand placement/alignment, then you can learn to use the control gained to further movement. And then you can dance.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 4:03 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Shada - please don't apologize - and feel free to jump in - ANYTIME.


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 4:46 pm 
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Shada, you are correct. The hurdler's stretch is considered not particularly safe. That is why the modified hurdler's stretch was developed that you see in the picture. The placement of the legs is correct, but the person's form is not. She should keep her head and neck aligned with her spine. She should keep her shoulders a bit more into her back and pulled down from her ears, and work to lengthen her back and engage her abdominals. The extended leg's foot should point straight up. Those who do ballet can turn that leg out, but you should also do it with the toe pointed up.


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 5:23 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Maggie - could you explain why the hurdlers stretch is considered unsafe? This is information I have not heard - and I am interested in learning about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 5:24 pm 
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Yes, Basheva, I meant the one you have in the picture. Only I hope that I'm straighter than that girl is! And as for the frog, that's not how I do it- you put the bottoms of your feet together and sit up straight, pushing down on your knees/thighs to stretch your hips.


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 5:25 pm 
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Yes, why is it unsafe? *is worried*


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 5:38 pm 
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The traditional hurdler's stretch is done with one leg in the front the same as you see in the picture of the modified hurdler's stretch. The bent leg is still bent, but turned the other way with the foot out from the body and the knee turned in. Much like what you would see in the position of a hurdle racer's legs. This puts a great deal of stress on the knee of the bent leg, and in the groin of some people.<P>Magdalena, I'm glad to know that you do the modified hurdler's stretch and not the traditional one.<p>[This message has been edited by Maggie (edited May 29, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 5:55 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Oh yes Maggie !! I very much agree....I thought we were speaking of simply having both legs stretched out in front and leaning over them.<P>The hurdler's stretch as you are now describing it is VERY dangerous to the knees and I have never allowed my student's to do it. Makes me cringe when I see it.<P>Even worse is the "W" stretch that I have seen with BOTH (yikes) legs bent back that way. <P>Magdalena - as you are describing the stretch sitting up straight with the bottoms of both feet touching - that is how I do it. But, I don't push down on the knees, except VERY gently - I mostly let gravity do the work. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 6:00 pm 
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Yes, that's the stretch, Basheva. I tried what you suggested, in the center and on the barre (I've one at home) and I'm still unable to get the grande battement above my waist.


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 6:03 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Magdalena - it simply takes time. The body does not change so quickly. You have to work steadily on it. There are no magic things to do that will work right away.<P>Dancers work on things for years. There were some steps I worked on for ten years before I even began to understand them. And after 31 yrs. I am still working on it. And will be again tomorrow in ballet class.<P>So, you just have to keep at it. Part of learning something - especially something like ballet - is a real test of patience. It can take a months for the body to begin to respond.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 29, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Legs
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2001 6:04 pm 
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Thanks a lot, to everyone who's replied! I really appreciate it. Basheva, it seems we're on the same time zone....Are you in the US?


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