Ballet and flexibility?

I'm in ballet, and I've recently been moved to the intermediate class at my ballet school. I'm not very flexible, and I really want to get my left and center/middle/straddle splits down. Any stretches for those? And HOW do you do get your arabesque stretch? I still can't get it lol. I know this will come with time, but I want some stretches to do at home so I can work on it (:


How can I get more balance?

How to get better at pirouettes?

Double pirouettes?


3 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Here are some stretches to help you work on your splits.

    For the straddle--lay on your back with your butt against the wall. Extend your legs up the wall and then let the fall into the straddle stretch, gravity will help pull your legs down. Hold as long as you can. Repeat a few times. Also when you are doing your normal stretching in the straddle position, right before you are done stretching, lean forward into the middle and then try to pull through the stretch.

    Youtube thumbnail

    &playnext=1&list=PL796002DA6BCB9B15 (watch around the 15 sec mark for what I’m referring to)

    For the other splits--lay on your back, bring a leg into your chest, hold a few seconds, then extend it. Grab your leg and try to pull it as close to you as you can and hold it, repeat a couple of times bending the knee and extending it. On the last extend, while holding your leg, roll over into the splits. Repeat on the other leg.

    These 2 will need another person to help you---stand against a wall, lift your leg, have your friend lift it as high as they can. And hold it as long as you can. Both knees should be straight. The goal is to touch the wall with your foot (I could do it 20 years ago and now I'm back to with a foot of the wall after 3 years of dance and I'm 33) Repeat with other leg.

    Next lay on the ground and have your friend push your extended leg towards the ground. Same idea as the stretch above, but it works the muscles in a slightly different way since you are in a different position.

    One last stretch which will help your splits (and your arabesque penchee). You will need to find a blank spot on a wall and grab a chair. Now facing away from the wall and holding onto the chair for support, take a leg and slide it up the wall like you are going into splits. Hold it for as long as possible then switch legs. Try to keep your legs straight. As you work the stretch move the chair closer to the wall until you are touching the wall in a vertical split.

    One note—you can also try to do some of the two person stretches solo, by moving into a doorway and working one leg up the frame or down the frame depending on what you are trying to stretch. I just tried a few doorway stretches for the first time and I was able to put my foot against the door frame and got a completely vertical split in the needle position. This link is so you can see what position I’m talking about.

    Youtube thumbnail

    As long as you don’t rush and push yourself too fast, you can really make progress fast. Make sure that you really work both sides as evenly as you can. I never really worked the left leg and it's no where near as flexible as my right. I have had my right split for about 20 years, even when I wasn't exercising I could still do it. I never had my left, at my best when I was young, they were about a foot over the ground, now at 33, I can get all the way down, I just need to get myself square and straight so a little more pushing myself and I’ll have them. Keep working and you'll get them.

    BALANCE: Work on your core (abs)

    Pirouettes: Good prep, good spotting, high passes, tight arms, head held high, tight core

    Doubles--same thing

    fouettes--haven't learned yet

    arabesque--some things I listed above will help. Work on your back flexibilty and it will help to (doing bridges, stuff like that)

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    For the balance and pirouettes and fouettes you really have to keep your stomach tight and strong , don't forget to spot and keep your arms resisted, keep your arms held up from your back not your shoulders, and use the force from your arms to whip you around . as for the strattle just really work on turn out and sit with you back on the ground and butt pushed up against a wall as if you were sitting on the wall and then open your legs, so the gravity will pull them down, but remember to keep your knees straight. and point your toes.

    Source(s): 6 years point ballet :)
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  • for pirouetes you need to spot and concentrate. also try and slightly push with ur foot. for strtches just utube it

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