Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spinal stiffness and difficulties of first position

My spine is still going through a period of stiffness following essential strength gains which is making it difficult for me to "get to where I want to go" in ballet and so forward ports de bras (forward bends) feel tight. At the moment K is having to follow and release this trail of stiffness in my body as I do the exercises to gain appropriate muscular strength to support my hypermobile joints. For me the feeling stiff is very difficult to endure. I am not the only one. I believe this is a common problem for other hypermobile people, which is why they like to stretch.

My second problem at the moment relates to first position in classical ballet, and according to one of my teachers I constantly shuffle and fidget in first position - this is partly I think to allow for having hyperextended knees, tender calves and then to allow for a 1.5cm leg-length difference. One teacher suggests I close my heels in first position whereas the other suggests I leave a gap partly to stop the shuffling and awkwardness owing to my leg shape in first. The other reason for leaving the gap is to help engage the adductor muscles which are often inactive in those with swayback legs. The Dance Science Medicine literature suggests that this is an acceptable reason for allowing a gap of the heels, but that as soon as the adductors are better functioning, the gap in first should be closed. Anyway, an interesting debate, and I would welcome the feedback and responses of others!

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