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RETURN TO BLOG Posted 05 May 2021

Answering Your Common Technique Questions

By Claudia Dean

Want to learn Claudia's top tips & advice to your commonly asked technique questions?

We have shortlisted the most frequently asked questions when it comes to ballet technique that we receive daily to help you improve & become one step closer to your goals.

If I don’t have flexible feet, will I be able to ever go on pointe? 

  • It is extremely important to have strength in your toes, ankles and calves for pointe work, to comfortably push over top of your pointe shoe box. Although foot flexibility helps with the line of your foot on pointe, it is more important to have intrinsic foot strength so you’re still able to pointe your foot in your pointe shoes. Having strong feet & calves are the 2 areas that successfully get you onto the box of your shoe, so continue to strengthen those areas by completing these Key Exercises: Doming Separation, Barre Foot Stretch & Powerball Push Downs. 

How can I improve my 5th position? 

  • To help achieve a tighter 5th position, think about pulling up from your supporting hip to make space for your legs to close into 5th. Strengthening your VMO muscles & deep rotating muscles will also help the appearance of straight knees & a more rotated lower leg, which then leads to a tighter 5th position. To strengthen these muscles and help achieve the desired 5th position, complete: VMO Wall Activations, Turnout Isolation with Powerband, Singular Deep Rotators, First Position Strengthener with Power Band Key Exercises.

How can I improve the height of my extensions? 

  • A great tip to increase the height of your extension is to think of bringing your knee as high as you can to your chest, then extend the lower half of your leg out afterwards whilst keeping your knee where it is. This will train, strengthen and activate your muscle memory to be able to hold your legs higher each time. To put these tips into action, complete the following Key Exercises as these target your hamstring, hip flexor, quads which are the main muscles that hold your legs in extensions. Power Band Lifts, Hip Flexor Lifts with Extension, Seconds with Powerband. 

How can I achieve consistent pirouettes?

  • A consistent & successful pirouette comes from a solid preparation. Having the correct preparation will set you up to be on balance & on your leg so you can start achieving multiple and consistent pirouettes. Ensure that your weight is placed evenly in your fourth position, allowing you to reach your maximum plie before springing onto releve. These following Key Exercises will help put these tips into practice so you can start achieving consistent pirouettes: Preparation Strength, Front Heel Strengthener, 1,2,3,4,5 En Dehor Rule. These Key Exercises are located in the ‘En Dehor Pirouette’ category. 

How can I improve the height of my arabesque? 

  • When you lift your leg into arabesque, think about lifting your arabesque leg from underneath your knee as this will help with achieving extra height. Also think about pulling up from the front of your hips & zipping up the chest bone, this will help you keep your back up straight in arabesque. To help increase your arabesque height, complete: Resistant Arabesque Training, Back Leg Hack, Attitude Mount located in the ‘Arabesque’ category. 

How can I become flat in my splits?

  • The best way to become flat in your splits is to be consistent & mindful when stretching. It is important to ensure that you focus on stretching both your hamstrings & hip flexors equally as these two muscles are key to deepening your splits. Every time you stretch, hold it for 10 seconds longer or challenge yourself by adding in a roller or yoga block. These following Key Exercises will help you achieve your splits: The Magic Hamstring Stretch, The Hip Flexor Stretch, The Splits Hack. These Key Exercises are located in the ‘Splits & Hamstrings’ category. 

How often should I stretch & practice my Key Exercises?

  • Practice makes perfect dancers, the more time you allocate to stretching and practicing the greater & faster your progress will be. Practicing 5-6 times per week is ideal as this activates & strengthens your muscle memory. It is important to remember that rest days are just as important as active days too. 1-2 rest days per week is ideal to allow your body to rest, heal and recover. 

How can I improve my fouette coordination?

  • Fouette coordination is something that comes from consistent practice. Before adding the turn into your fouettes, I would recommend that you practice the fouette action with your legs and arms without the actual turn. Once you have practiced this for 2 weeks & you understand the coordination and the action, that is when you should add in the actual turn. To help cement these tips and to strengthen the action and coordination, complete: Releves in Retire Strength, Fouette Preparation at Barre, Fouette Arm Preparation. These Key Exercises are located in the ‘Fouette’ category. 

How can I improve my balance?

  • Balance comes from strength mainly in your core, ankles, calves. These muscles are the main muscles that will help you to stay on balance & be able to balance for a period of time. Calf rises (especially with a powerband tied around your feet for an extra challenge!) really strengthens your ankle/foot stability. Strong calves also allow you to rise up higher on your demi pointe too! Planks & oblique planks are one of the best ways to strengthen your core and correct posture alignment, which ultimately helps balancing. 

I have a flat split but struggle getting a flat split leap, any tips? 

  • The key to achieving a flat split leap is to reach your maximum demi plie in your preparation to allow you to jump UP & get maximum lift in your hips. When you think of jumping straight up, you will get more air time, which will then give you more time to split your legs mid air. Also, when you are beginning to developpe your front leg out, think about lifting your knee up towards your chest first, and then extend your lower half of your legs out. This will increase the height of your jump and also help you achieve a flatter split leap.

Do extensions require more strength or flexibility?

  • Extensions require just as much strength as they do flexibility. Although a good amount of flexibility is required for extensions- the more strength you actually have in your hamstrings, psoas & deep rotators, the greater chance you have actually in achieving high extensions. The main key exercises that help activate & strengthen these muscles are: Seconds with Powerband, Knee Extenders, Retire Lifts. These Key Exercises are located in the ‘A La Seconde & Adage Extensions’ category. 

To improve all areas in your technique, go to www.coachme.world, unlock your 7 day free trial and begin improving with Claudia from Claudia Dean World, Dr Lisa from Dance Prescription and Louise Drysdale from the Pre Pointe Physio! 
 

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