Ballet Exercises - Flexibility Problems

by Viv

Ballet Exercises - Flexibility Problems

Hi Odette! I am a huge fan of your work! I'm a twenty hour a week ballet dancer in Colorado. I was just accepted to do the highest level ballet in my studio. But my ballet teacher said I can't compete unless I get my flexibility up to par. I've danced since I was twelve (a little late I guess) and I've never been flexible. I can't stretch because it hurts my knees and hips so bad. After I stretch, my hips become so painful I can't even go in passé without wincing. I'm going to State Street Ballet summer intensive and I'm nervous because of my poor flexibility and pathetic arabesque. I've tried everything, even asked my mom if we could find a sports physical therapist, but she said it wasn't worth it and was to expensive. The pain is in my right hip is in the rotators and the front. It's a stinging pain. I also have general discomfort on the tendons behind the knees when stretching. The right knee also has pain in the lower kneecap when grande pliés and such. My left splits are about six inches of the ground and my right are at least a foot off. Please any advice?!? Thanks!


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises - Flexibility Problems

Hi Viv,
Thanks for you message, it's great to hear from you. First of all, you must be careful. I know you want to push and increase your facility, but you have to work within your own range to start off with and not hurt yourself to an injury.

I feel like you could have tried to push to far in your stretches, which is causing the sort of pain you are having. I don't feel like your body should be in this unbearable pain. Are you sure you are stretching correctly? Don't force your body, but work with it to increase your stretches and regularly practice to see a difference.

Make sure you are stretching mainly after or during your ballet classes when your muscles are most warm and supple.

If you can, I would talk to your teacher and show her the stretches you are doing. Then, see if she can give you more and help you improve your flexibility.

My teachers always used to say our flexibility changed as we were growing up. Especially when you are younger, your body is changing and developing so you have to be careful with how you stretch but also be aware that you can improve it.

Take a look at these pages on flexibility and stretching. There are also examples of some of my friends who are professionals and working on their flexibility -

The splits

Ballet stretching

Make sure you look through these pages, as they hold important advice which I would give you now but the many of answers are already here.

Keep in touch with how you are getting on. Let me know your thoughts!

Best wishes,

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