Ballet Exercises - Ballet Flexibility
I have searched the internet many times and can't seem to find the answer I'm looking for. I was wondering how long professional ballet dancers stretch for and when they were students in training looking to greatly improve instead of maintain how long and often do they stretch. Also I am curious how flexible you need to be to be a professional dancer. I can do about a foot, maybe more, of an over split in my right, left and straddle splits and I can touch my toes to my head in a doughnut (back stretch) position. Do I need to gain more flexibility? And if so in what areas?
Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises - Ballet Flexibility
Thank you for contacting me, it's great to hear from you. It hugely differs between each dancer how flexible you are and often it is a natural ability where some dancer's are more loose than others. You can increase your flexibility by stretching but you always have to maintain the strength in your body too. I trained at one of the top vocational ballet schools and although we never over-stretched, there was always a section of our ballet class which was dedicated to stretching. Usually, at the end of the bar we would practice a combination of splits, shouldering the leg and stretching the leg of the barre in different positions. This would be an everyday routine and of course some dancer's in my class were more flexible than others. If you practice stretching every day, especially when your muscles are warm during class, you will see an improvement if push your flexibility a small amount each time.
It also depends what ballet company or school you are aiming for regarding flexibility. It's not always the director's priority to make sure dancer's are flexible beyond a normal range, but just enough to fit in with the other dancer's and keep up with the choreography in performances. Each dancer has something special about them and if you happen to be extremely flexible to stand out, then that is your unique quality. If not, then find what your unique quality is and use this to your strength.
Keep your stretching routines up and focus on your flexibility, but don't get too paranoid about it. It sounds like you are flexible and it won't necessarily be something to hold you back. Just make sure you stretch in each ballet class and afterwards if you have time, but don't forget the importance of strength in your body too.
Hope this helps, keep in touch!
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