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Front splits


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That's the ideal - but most of us willl not get the hips perfectly square.

 

Perfection is the ideal - but seldom is it reality.

 

The ideal execution of some of the ballet steps are not possible according to the laws of physics. Another example of the split between "ideal" and reality.

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It's not physically possible to get the underside of the back leg on the floor.

 

When training front splits, the back leg should be 'knee down' ie from a kneeling position gradually getting closer to the floor until the back leg is straight with the kneecap touching the floor. The front leg should be knee up, with the kneecap facing the ceiling. Hips should be square.

 

Once the dancer can achieve straight legs in both front and back, they can then attempt to turn out both legs so the front leg is turned so that the knee faces as far towards the side as turnout allows. The back leg can turn out to resemble an arabesque, but practicing turnout of the back leg with the knee bent should be avoided as it places a lot of rotational stress on the knee ligaments.

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Interesting reading - I wish the human body was symmetrical! I can do front splits on one leg with back leg turned out but not knee down and vice versa with the other leg - peculiar!

 

The body is not symmetrical in any way. Everything is different from one side to the other: eyes, ears, taste, smile, hands, feet, preference for turns, walking, stepping up on a curb, face, side we prefer to sleep on, etc.

 

Makes us more interesting. :)

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Anjuli, are you able to suggests any ways of trying to get the hips square? I know that splits themselves aren't that important but presume if you do do them it is better to do them correctly. Do agree that it isn't possible to get the back leg flat on the floor? I am sure that I see others doing this!

 

Drdance, thanks for the tips about turning out!

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When doing the front splits, is it possible, or even desirable, to get the underside of both front and back leg flat on the floor while maintaining perfectly square hips?

 

It is not possible to get the "underside" - back of the leg - of the leg behind you on - the floor. You can, of course, get the back of the leg of the leg in front of you on the floor.

 

As for squaring the hips - I think the student should go down into a split only as far as the hips remain squared - otherwise the split is counter productive.

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Are you suppose to turn both legs out for ballet splits.My dds old teacher wanted the students to turn their legs out,it looked very odd to me and the hips were knowhere near square.Her new teacher hasn't said how she wants them and my dd stopped turning out.Does it really matter if the legs are turned out or not,is there any benefit?

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If one is doing purely classical training then turnout in splits is desirable, as you want to train the ranges of motion for grande jete, arabesque penchee etc which of course are performed in turnout. But classical technique should be maintained in these cases, ie hips square! It's very difficult, especially at the back, unless the student has loose enough hips to get 'flat' turnout. The back leg in splits is, in effect, in the same position as it should be in arabesque (in relation to the torso) so the rest of the body should also reflect this,

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How do you get your splits down?! I've been about 3-5 inches off front splits for such a long time! I stretch everyday and still nothing - maybe I just have stubborn legs and it will come eventually? Every person I ask (teacher included) just says do lots of stretching but I'm stretching as hard as I can!!

Its always been my dream to do the splits, but maybe I have something wrong with my legs so it's never achievable - is that possible do you think?

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How do you get your splits down?! I've been about 3-5 inches off front splits for such a long time! I stretch everyday and still nothing - maybe I just have stubborn legs and it will come eventually? Every person I ask (teacher included) just says do lots of stretching but I'm stretching as hard as I can!!

Its always been my dream to do the splits, but maybe I have something wrong with my legs so it's never achievable - is that possible do you think?

 

It's not a matter of having something "wrong" with you legs - that may be just how you are made. Everyone is made differently. Practicing does help - but only up to a certain point. You can't beyond what your structure allows.

 

I suggest that there are much more important things to dream about - doing perfect splits has nothing to do with being a beautiful artistic dancer.

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No I know, but achieving splits will surely help my ballet eg. Arabesque penche, grand jete etc?

 

It may help but it is only a very small part of it. An unimportant part. A grand jeté or a penché is about so much more than a split. It's about making an artistic statement.

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