Hello,<P>this board is incredibly helpful for any dancer who seeks good advice or encouragement.
<P>I have started dancing again after a 7-year break, and I really really love it. But I've noticed a few problems with my body that I didn't have in the past (10 years of ballet, from age 7-17), and after thinking long and hard about it, I'd like to share my observations with you. Some of them have to do with turnout, so I thought this would be the right thread to add my post to.<P>My body center seems to have changed quite a bit during the six years I haven't danced. At 17 I was 5'5" / 100 lbs. Since then I've grown another inch and gained 15 lbs. On the one hand I have much better balance now. On the other hand I had trouble with pirouettes at the beginning. I always over-turned them. But that problem was easily fixed. I don't need as much strenght now to do a pirouette than I did before.<P>That brings me to another point. My body memory and the body that I have now just won't mesh. I was doing pre-professional level training when I had the accident that prevented me from pursuing a career in dancing. Now, I'm just a little better than a total beginner. Okay, my body still knows more about alignment than I thought it would. I automatically stand straight. And when I don't think about what to do with my arms or my head it will just happen. But my muscle memory really has to adjust to what I can do at the moment. <P>An example: fifth position, sur le coup de pied, passé fermé, developé, rise to demi pointe. Until then everything went just fine. But when I wanted to fully extend my leg, I was quite unelegantly reminded of the fact that my leg just won't go as high as it used to do. And that's just one example. *LOL*<P>Another thing I'm having trouble with is my turnout. As a child I was "suffering" from hyper-mobility/-flexibility. The flexibility is gone to a certain degree. But I still have hypermobile joints. When I stretch out my arms to the front with my palms pressed together I can make my elbows touch. Or when I sit astride on a bench, back straight, then put my feet up on it and let my knees fall out into the butterfly stretch, they go even farther down than the bench level without any pressure. So I'm pretty sure that I should still be able to fully turn out my legs from the hips, because there is no resistance from the joints. <P>When I stand up, first position, and turn out from the hips, I can maintain a comfortable turnout of 80° to each side. But when one of my feet leaves the floor, it gets quite difficult to maintain the turnout. I really begin to feel which muscles are engaged for turnout and which of those little buggers are not stretched or strong enough. I'm working an my overall flexibility to minimize the resistance that some muscles seem to build up and on my strenght to be able to hold the turnout even when off the floor or off the barre. When I listen carefully to my body it says that the inner thigh muscles (the ones that are joined to the hip by the big tendon in the groin, and the hamstrings need stretching. The muscles under the butt need strenghtening. And the muscles that go around the outside of the hips need stretching and strenghtening. Sorry, I don't know the scientific terms. Any suggestions on how to do this? I never had to overcome these problems when I was a teenager, because everything just seemed to come naturally to me, but now I really need help.<P>Another thing: I really have the strangest legs. When I stand in sixth position, my knees won't touch and they are quite knobby. Even when I hyperextend my legs, they stick out a bit. And they are slightly pointed inwards. So even when I turn out from the hips it looks like I'm not doing it right. But when I do a plié, the knees go straight over my toes. When I was younger those legs gave me a lot of headache, because I found them ugly. I only noticed when my teacher kept telling me to straighten my legs, everytime I was doing grand battements or an attitude, that I had "different" legs. I did try very hard, I even hyperextended my legs to make them seem straighter, but my knee would still stick out a bit. Isn't it strange?<P>Sorry for the lenghty post. I really didn't intend for it to become so prosy.