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nicolem

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Reply with quote  #1 
I was just curious as to whether or not hyperextended knees are a requirement for a career in ballet. My daughter is hyperextended, and I was wondering because I've found that most professional ballet dancers that I've watched have some degree of hyperextension.
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beetle1

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Reply with quote  #2 
It is not a requirement as far as I've heard. However, straight legs (should not appear "bent" or knees sticking out) are fairly important. Some hyperextended dancers still have to work hard at straightening their legs when en Pointe and those with "bent" legs have to work hard at straightening in general (lots of stretches and barre work). Also, definitely more essential is maintaining turnout (especially if interested in pursuing career in classical ballet). Hope that helps!
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oatmella

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Reply with quote  #3 
I don't think they are necessary, but it seems like most professional ballet dancers have hyperextension.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #4 
Hyperextended knees are preferred so your daughter is lucky. Of course people with hyperextensison need to strengthen to control it, but it is a genuine advantage. Misty Copeland talks about how her her hyperextended knees have helped her.
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oatmella

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Reply with quote  #5 
Misty Copeland seems to be injured quite a lot and has to pull out of shows. I wonder if her very hyperextended knees have anything to do with it.
I guess hyperextension is just one element - I think that other physical qualities such as turnout, good proportions and good feet are considered to be more important.
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #6 
A ballet teacher once told me that many professional ballet dancers can overcome a physical flaw. They are taught how to fake (for lack of a better word) that their turnout isn't perfect or their knees aren't hyperextended or their feet aren't perfect.

So I don't worry too much about physical attributes and just try to focus on the best training possible.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #7 
We have another thread that discusses a research presentation on top ballet students and their likelihood of dropping out or reaching professional status. Having straight legs (meaning not having hyperextended knees) was a major reason for drop out from top ballet training. Here is the link if you are interested.   http://forums.dancemom.com/post/who-drops-out-ballets-selection-process-8337383?highlight=ballet+attributes+study&pid=1294216045
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oatmella

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Reply with quote  #8 

I thought hyperextension was either something you have or you don't - but the teacher in this video believes you can "create it safely."  She begins explaining the hyperextension stretch at 4:07.  The teacher graduated from The Royal Ballet School and danced in The Royal Ballet.

It's hard for me to tell if this kind of exercise would help create hyperextension as the dancer in the video already has it.

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beetle1

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Reply with quote  #9 
Ballet Talk site has a teacher from Harid who regularly comments. Maybe the question could be posed there as well? (Sorry not sure if it's ok to reference another site?)- but you have to phrase it carefully I think they don't allow questions that deal directly with physical characteristics. Something like "can my DD do ballet professionally without hyperextension?" Always can try they might give some answer. Even though your DD has it, phrase it for the question of can dancers without it go professional.
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #10 
Examining pictures of professional ballerinas employed in the last decade leads me to believe that hyper-extension is indeed necessary to be hired by any of the major ballet companies.  I certainly can't name any principals or other "known" classical dancers (female) without hyper-extended knees.  Its kind of the same thing with "banana" feet.  I'd say at least 90% of the women currently working professionally in major companies have those very flexible feet.
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oatmella

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Reply with quote  #11 
I think Tiler Peck (NYCB principal) doesn't have hyperextended knees.
I would not say that 90% have banana feet though. I think not quite so many have them.
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nicolem

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Reply with quote  #12 
Thanks to all for your helpful insight!
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Dancingemu

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oatmella
Misty Copeland seems to be injured quite a lot and has to pull out of shows. I wonder if her very hyperextended knees have anything to do with it.
I guess hyperextension is just one element - I think that other physical qualities such as turnout, good proportions and good feet are considered to be more important.


I'm not sure if it's the case for her, but in general, hypertension is hard on the knees and makes them more prone to injury
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momcrew

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Reply with quote  #14 
My daughter has hyperextended knees and it actually makes some things harder for her; a simple tendu for example. She really has to work on controlling it.
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