Ballet Exercises- Improving Leaps

by Audrey
(Normandy, Tennessee, USA)

Ballet Exercises- Improving Leaps

So when we do our leaps in class I can't get my legs nearly high enough. My front leg is wishy washy and my back is horrid. Unfortunatly, I didn't come from a flexible family. My legs are long and my upper body is short so it never seems to help. Any tips on improving my flexibilty and strength?


Reply by Odette
To:- Ballet Exercises- Improving Leaps

Hi Audrey,
It is great to hear from you again. I totally understand what you are saying and will do my best to help.

Well, I certainly do know how it feels like to glance in the mirror and perhaps not see your legs as split as you would like in leaps. I was always trying to improve my leaps when I was younger, so I have a few pointers which will come in handy to you.

Even though you may not be naturally so flexible, you can still achieve an impressive leap with your legs. I watched many female and male dancers who were not really hugely flexible, but they had a fantastic leap. Even better than me and I was much more flexible than them!

When it comes to leaps, don't let any lack of flexibility hold you back. Of course, you can work to improve this by stretching during or after class but a great leap comes from attack, energy and dynamics in your legs.

To get both your front and back leg straight and correct, you have to put a lot of power in your legs to split them out so fast. It will take practice and a few leaps to see a difference, but really focus on throwing your front leg forwards and up then your back leg straight and turned out.

Often, leaps can look hundred times better with just this inside knowledge of simple tips. Obviously, you DO need to build strength and flexibility but you can give yourself a big head start by focusing on these corrections.

Also, your preparation for the leap is key. Try jumping from a static position with no plie and it is almost impossible. You have to give yourself a good run up and organised set of steps before you leap, so that it gives your body more power to jump and split your legs.

In the meantime, you can definitely practice pilates or yoga to strengthen and improve flexibility in your body. On my ballet video page is some excellent suggestions to what type of exercises are the best for you to do.

Also, look at my ballet jumps page for more tips on improving your jump for the leap.

Keep working hard and you will see the results as you practice.

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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