Ballet Exercises- Arabesque Flexibility

by Danielle
(Atlanta,Ga US)

Ballet Exercises- Arabesque Flexibility

I am trying to focus on my arabesque. I have noticed that it is really hard for me to get my leg above 90 whereas the others in my class can do it in a breeze. I believe it is because I have large hip bones and not that really good back flexibiliy when the others in my class have tiny hip bones and good back flexibiliy. This makes it harder for me to do them so I need to work harder. I was wandering if you could give me some good exercises that will help me get a high strong arabesque.


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises- Arabesque Flexibility

Hello Danielle,

Thank you for contacting me on your arabesque, it is really good to hear from you. I understand your focus to improve your arabesque, it is a hard position to do and comes more naturally to some than others. You will see some dancers who can easily do an arabesque, but don't let this distract you as they may find other positions more tricky which you can do in a breeze too. We all have our different strengths and weaknesses. Go confidently and use your strengths, then work to pinpoint your weaknesses.

First, remember your arabesque will naturally improve along with your development and progress of your classes. At first, I found it really hard to get my leg above 90 too, but as I kept practicing in class I saw it gradually getting better as I progressed.

An arabesque needs a certain amount of flexibility in the lower back, the hips, and even hamstrings too. It takes work of all the muscles. So keep stretching in positions like the spilts and ponche to gain the flexibility.

A good exercise is to put the leg behind you on the barre in an arabesque position. Do some plies and rises and really feel the arabesque position. Aim to stay strong in the position whilst having the barre supporting your leg in the air and, this way, you can aim to loosen the back but still remain strong with the support of the barre holding your leg.

What is more important than getting your leg above 90, is the correct placing the posture of your body. Although you want to get your leg higher, don't forget the important position of the arabesque. Many dancers get their leg higher, but they are actually crunching in their lower back and distorting the position to get a higher leg.

Visualize yourself doing a position of an arabesque. Are your abdominals embraced? Are your shoulders down? Are your legs active? Every muscle should be engaged for a strong arabesque. But don't tense the muscles, because this will make it harder to raise the leg. Breathe into the position and keep lifting up to give space in the muscles.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes,

ps. To become the best dancer you can be, learn the Seven Secrets ..... go to my 'Seven Secrets of Ballet' page

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