i have hyper extended and kind of bowed legs so when i stand in first, its hard to get my thighs to not have gaps, and if i do i usually have to squeeze them so much i lose the right placement of my lower back, do i just need to strengthen?

First I’m going to direct you to basic info on bowlegs.

Then I’m going to say that the short answer is YES! You need to strengthen! And you need to be as aware as you can as often as you can. The best way to improve will be slowly and diligently by practicing correct placement in the classroom.

Dancers with hyperextended and bowed legs tend to have a “swayback,” so it’s possible that when you squeeze your legs together and feel like you’re losing your placement of your lower back, you may actually be right on, as weird as it feels. This is a good video about correct ballet posture. Normally I would say she tucks her pelvis too much, but she’s overcompensating for a swayback. Look in the mirror, relax into your hyperextension, and see if you have a swayback. You may need to overcompensate!

Hyperextended and bowed legs generally need strengthening in the hamstrings (inner thighs), glutes/rotators, and supinators/pronators (ankles and lower leg muscles). You may also need to work on using your psoas rather than your quad muscles. Here’s a post on using your psoas that should be helpful. It includes exercises for the inner thighs (hamstrings). This post and this post on turnout will also be a big help, and include exercises for glutes/rotators and ankles.

Do you have any pain associated with ballet turnout and posture? Specifically in your knee and hip joints? If so, you should see a physical therapist and speak at length with a teacher that knows your dancing. They will be able to help you with more specifics than I can!

Hi can you please give advice and stretches on how to imrpove an arabesque that is at 90 degrees?

Hi there! I’m glad to hear that you’ve achieved 90 degrees! Time to push it, eh? Continue with any stretches or exercises you are already doing, pushing yourself to do more reps, hold things longer, stretch a little further, etc. Push yourself to lift a tad higher and hold a extra few seconds in class, etc. It will come in time!

Additionally, check out these posts on penché. Then check out this post on back flexibility.

If you still have questions or something more specific than I’ve addressed in those posts, please let me know!

And remember that not everyone’s body has potential to be a contortionist!

im at a summer intensive and i cant turn for my life. i can on my right, but my left is just terrible and my teacher is getting pretty frustrated with me. she told me i could do a single.......i was furious....

Cheer up!

Multiple pirouettes are simply sustained single turn balances with multiple spots!

Once you’ve mastered a single pirouette, the multiples will come…it’s all mind over matter. Since doing multiples on the left doesn’t seem to be working for you, your teacher’s tactic may be to try to encourage you to perfect your singles and boost your confidence in them before you start adding more turns. If you keep doing multiple pirouettes in frustration and fatigue, your body will learn inefficient and incorrect muscle memory. Even worse, you will lose confidence, and pirouettes are all about confidence! Better to build correct muscle memory on the singles before adding more spots.

Or maybe she is just trying to light a fire under your ass… ;)

Take your frustrated energy and turn it into something positive! It will do you no good to direct it at yourself or your teacher.

If you feel like she’s getting frustrated with you, remember that your teacher is only human. Maybe she feels like she’s been giving you the same correction over and over and doesn’t feel like you’re taking her advice? Just a thought. I don’t know if you’re still at that intensive with that instructor, but something you might want to do is ask her after class to give you a couple of pointers. That will show her how dedicated you are.

Chin up! Pirouettes are about confidence! Multiples are simply extra spots added to a sustained balanced single turn. Be okay with returning to the base in order to improve on the more advanced. Professional ballet dancers still have to do pliés and tendus every day. And it’s okay to get frustrated and upset, but don’t let it fester. Turn that energy into a positive and use it to your advantage!

Hello! I recently created a blog dedicated to Mos Wanted crew and I was hoping you could check it out and if you like it follow? And possibly promo it to your followers? It would mean alot! Thanks so much! Here's the name of the blog: moswanted-crew

This is a secondary blog so I can’t follow, but danceaintelitist’s followers will see this post :)

Stumbled on your blog recently and I swear it's one of the most helpful and inspiring dance tumblrs I've come across.

Thank you so much for the tips and advice, I've a competition coming up and your posts are just heaven sent :') MUCH LOVEE!!!

Much love to you! I love hearing that you find this blog helpful! Merde on your competition (if it hasn’t already happened!)

07/08/2011
14:07
wow your blog is amazing :)

Thank you so much!

How can I get to be able to do things like this? * sorry I know its a RIDICULOUSLY long url,

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/40230000/jpg/_40230243_gymnast_legs144.jpg&imgrefurl=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sportacademy/hi/sa/special_events/gymnastics/newsid_3762000/3762241.stm&usg=__aeXhyJmNzneOK4ITpE8tR_ug4z4=&h=167&w=144&sz=10&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=dIlTOWtGZ9QqIM:&tbnh=130&tbnw=114&ei=q672TcD5GIbUgAfpqLSUDQ&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dgymnastics%2Blegs%2Bover%2Bhead%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1680%26bih%3D858%26tbm%3Disch&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=450&vpy=114&dur=711&hovh=133&hovw=115&tx=87&ty=73&page=1&ndsp=52&ved=1t:429,r:2,s:0&biw=1680&bih=858

Hello darling!

Those darn gymnasts! Let me know if you get there, because I’ve never been this flexible, that’s for sure! Part of it IS natural, some people can’t ever be quite THAT bendy. Looking at the picture, you can see that it’s pretty much all lumbar spine, abs/psoas, hamstring, and hip socket flexibility. Her neck is pretty whacked, too (too much IMHO).

YOGA! Yoga is absolutely the best way to increase your flexibility. Yoga increases your overall soft tissue elasticity, which will greatly enhance your ability to push your ballet stretches! Start with a guided beginner’s yoga routine that has a focus on low back and hip/pelvic girdle flexibility. Search YouTube and Netflix until you find a routine that you like with an instructor that you like. Slowly work your way up and allow your body time to change and adjust. It’s always best to start out low key and pain free. Stretching should feel GOOD.

Here are stretches to eventually work your way toward in yoga:

Here’s a fun little gravity-assisted stretch you can do using the back of the couch while watching TV:

EDIT: I should also refer you to this penché post. Scroll down to check out the stretches for back, hamstrings, and arabesque!

if youre going to an SI is eating 1200 calories still ok? or should you be eating more if youre trying to lose weight when youre there

NOT RECOMMENDED!!! 1200 calories a day is what you burn WITHOUT doing ANY extra exercise (i.e. a regular day at school sitting, typing, and moving around a little bit)! A summer intensive is the OPPOSITE of no extra exercise Xp

Better to eat small healthy snacks like yogurt or a handful of almonds throughout the day to keep your metabolism rolling. Then eat smaller portions of healthy meals at meal times (leave a couple bites on your plate and skip dessert and soda pop). Add a little exercise in the morning, like a short walk or some jumping jacks and crunches to start the day with a higher metabolism. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast (protein and/or fruit) to get your metabolism up in the morning. (Skipping breakfast and depriving yourself of food puts your body in “starvation mode” so that it tries to retain any calories you eat rather than burn them). Eat when you’re hungry.

Bear in mind that you might actually GAIN muscle mass during the intensive, so you might even gain weight. Don’t panic. Look at your body and how your clothes fit. Numbers on a scale don’t really mean anything.

Go here to calculate how many calories you need to function in periods of high activity and how many calories you need to cut per week to lose a couple pounds of fat a week. BUT REMEMBER MUSCLE WEIGHS MORE THAN FAT and you will most likely gain muscle at the SI.

Oh yeah, and drink lots of water and get lots of rest! Health = good.

I think dancers have the best bodies but for those of us who are not great dancers, what exercises do you recommend to get the toned lower body and stomach?

Pilates Pilates Pilates!!!

I recommend any guided beginner’s Pilates routine, which can be found on Netflix and YouTube. Do not try to do too advanced of a routine without a live instructor. It’s too easy to do the exercises incorrectly, which can snowball into other problems.

Moira Stott-Merrithew is very good. An excellent beginner’s routine is “Stott Pilates: Pain-Free Posture.” It’s gentle, it’s not crazy difficult, and it’s a really nice, well-rounded workout that will tone your body and improve your posture (which makes you LOOK thinner too!)

i have a friend ( and this isnt one of those im saying its my friend but its really me moments its really my friend, hahaah ) who dances and she absolutely couldnt ever lose weight just dancing so when she went on break from it she didnt wanna gain anything so she .. i dont think this qualifies as an eating disorder but she cut waaaaaaay down and just eats like two small healthy meals a day and she lost like 7 pounds in two weeks. is that just water weight or actual weight?

Hmmmm…I’m just speculating, but a good chunk of her weight loss probably IS water weight. The first few pounds of weight loss are almost always water weight, especially when you lose the weight by cutting back on caloric intake, and especially when you lose those first pounds fairly quickly. And 7 pounds in 2 weeks IS pretty quick. A healthy, natural, sustainable weight loss rate is 1 to 2 pounds per week!

It’s definitely NOT healthy to only eat two small meals a day. That’s water weight loss and weight loss from your body “eating itself” because it’s not getting enough calories to function! On average, women need something like 1200 calories a day just to sit and sleep and breathe and perform involuntary body functions! (At my age, height, and weight, I need 1700 a day if I don’t do any exercise). And in the long run, dieting like that doesn’t do any good. When you lose weight from suddenly switching to a diet that can’t and shouldn’t be maintained long term, you’re just going to gain it back eventually! It’s better to simply eat healthier, diverse foods and add cardio exercise to your lifestyle to form new habits that can be maintained.

So short answer: yes, probably a good bit of water weight :) Knock some sense into that girl!

EDIT: You can calculate things like what a healthy weight loss rate is for you and how many calories to burn a week to achieve that by clicking here. And remember, it’s not best to lose weight by simply cutting back on caloric intake. You should also BURN some of those calories by adding some cardio exercise!

Send ★ to everyone who has an awesome blog.

awwww, thanks hon!

Hey my name is Shantel Willingham and I have this blog that forecast dancers and since you seem so passionate about dance I was wondering can you post pictures of yourself and if you didnt mind can i reblog them? I promise you my blog is not slandering or anything like that. FYI: I'm not a dancer but I LOVE to watch it and i use to want to be one. Also, my bestfriend is a dancer so thats another reason I love dance. So I will be awaiting a response from you.

Hi Shantel! That’s great that you love dance so much! But I simply don’t post personal photos on this blog, that’s not its purpose :)

i have being doing modern dance for 11years and ballet (flat) for 7 years. (btw i'm 15 years old). i want to be more intense with dance than i normally have been, and get more in shape. i've been thinking about starting pointe and taking some weekly yoga classes, but my current dance school (modern base) offers neither, and i cannot afford the prices of any other groups/organizations within my area. i really feel like my financial situation is restricting me from developing more as a dancer. is there any way i can get around this?

Hi! That is so wonderful that you want to push your dancing to the next level through yoga and pointe! You’ve got the right idea!

There’s always a way to pay for classes! Many schools and organizations offer both financial-need-based and talent-based scholarships/financial aid. Some schools will even negotiate a trade, like offering you free/discounted classes if you volunteer to do things like clean the bathrooms a couple times a week, or assist in teaching classes for younger students, etc. You might even be able to apply for a job, with free dance classes as a benefit!

The difficult part is going through the schools and speaking with them about your situation. (Or at least I find that kind of stuff difficult). You might face rejection or confrontation from some, which can be embarrassing and disheartening, but you just have to plug away and talk to every studio that interests you. There’s bound to be one out there that can accommodate you, and it’ll likely have a healthy and positive philosophy!

My suggestion is to research all the places you could take yoga classes and more ballet and pointe. Contact them first via email or phone call and say you’re interested in their programs and would like to speak with them. Set up a time, show up a couple minutes early, and speak to them in person. Tell them about your dance background and your love of dance and drive to take it to the next level, but that you aren’t getting everything you need. Let them see how passionate and dedicated and excited you are about dance. (Just the fact that you took the initiative and appear responsible and reliable will earn you huge bonus points). Be very interested in what they are saying. Then tell them you haven’t been able to increase the amount of dance classes due to finances etc. Ask them point blank (and politely and gracefully) if they offer financial assistance or if they are willing to work out a trade or payment plan of some kind.

Speaking in person is key. It’s harder for people to say no to you when faced with your personality, smile, and passion for dance. People are much more open to you if they can actually see you and get a feel for you. Emails and phone calls make it easy to just say no! But seeing your desire up close and personal will make people much more open to finding a way to help you! You by yourself will have more luck than if a parent comes along and does all the talking. They’ll see just how important this is to you and how much you want it!

Also, have you spoken to any of your instructors about this? I would talk to a trusted teacher about your desire to take more ballet and start pointe and add in yoga. You never know what could come of that conversation. And maybe get a feel from the other students about whether or not they’d be interested in more ballet. Who knows, if enough students would want it, maybe the school would consider expanding!

In the mean time, find some guided yoga routines on YouTube or instant Netflix to start doing on your own. It’s never as good as a live instructor, but it’s better than nothing. Give yourself flat ballet barre (and some center if you have space) at home as well. Just recycle whatever your instructor gave you in class! Even just doing some pliés, tendus, and relevés on a daily basis will make you stronger. After all, they are the foundation for every single step in ballet!

Since you want to get more in shape, make sure to cross-train with some light cardio as well. Make a 10 to 20 minute walk part of each day!

Finally, work on strengthening your feet, ankles, and lower leg muscles to prepare yourself for pointe. Even if you don’t get to start as soon as you’d like, you’ll at least be on your way to an excellent foundation! Here’s a post with exercises for the knees down.

You can make this happen, it will just take some leg work and dedication. Don’t be discouraged and keep trying! Good luck!