Tag Archive | Stretching

Turn Out That Turn Out!!

Summer session has officially begun and while the class was good overall one thing pestered me the entire class – my freaking turn out. Now, some people have told me that my turn out is fine, even heard the word “good” flung around once or twice. Regardless of the intermittent compliments, I still loathe my turn out.

To be fair – my turn out devant is pretty good. But any tendu executed en ar·rière (aka to the back) is just horse shit. There I said it. My tentus en ar·rière look like complete horse shit! Call it a freaking curse. I watch the other students in class and it amazes me how even the most novel student can execute the step without wincing in embarrassment. Then there is my sorry ass. What in the hell is the deal, yo?!?! I stretch (mind you not as often in the beginning but at least 4 times a week) and have tailored my weekly workouts to focus entirely on my lower body and here I am. A sad-sack of a ballerina who can barely tendu like a lady!!

Question: Is LB a quitter? Does LB shy away from a challenge and acquiesce to defeat before even attempting to overcome the adversity that befalls her?!?!

Answer: Ahhh dahhhhhh. No!! [Who is that lady? She sounds terrible. Maybe a hug will help? Or a Xanex?]

Just for the record, LB is a maniacal (and often hilarious) beast whose sole purpose in life is to show her peers, nay, the world, that she cannot be stopped. She won’t be stopped. Because you cannot stop this force of a woman from pursing the impossible!!!

…Ok. I’ll stop being so dramatic and talking in the third person. That’s just c(w)eepy. (Says my son)

Anywho. Dramatics aside, I do want to attempt and make my ever-so-blah-turn-out better. It would make me happy to see improvement in this area. I challenged myself to achieve the splits – what the hell?! Right?!

So in my research I found an article by The Ballet Blog which provides a little insight in how to achieve your ultimate turn out. Warning: The stretches are crazy. Forget the butterfly – these yoga inspired poses will kick the crap out you in seconds!! I am going to work these stretches into my routine and hope I see some results. I’m tired of having a crappy turn out!!! I’m tired, I say!!!

If you have any suggestions or links, you just send them on my way! I need all the help I can get!


Allison DeBona Stretching Video

Listen ladies (and gents) – I am a strong proponent of stretching and when a good video comes my way I feel compelled to let my loyal readers know. The following video is from the incomparable, undeniable Goddess of Dance – Allison DeBona. I have taken a couple of her master classes and actually have driven her in my lowly Nissan Pathfinder. (I’m more like a Legal Chauffeur. Ha!). She is exquisite and a true professional. When she speaks, I listen.

So ladies, listen to Allison’s magical wisdom of stretching, compliments of the YouTube.


Allison DeBona Stretching Video

Waaaahhhhhhh. Injury.

So guess who didn’t injure their hamstring???? This girl!!

I’m sure you are asking yourself, “Why LB, isn’t that a good thing not to have injured yourself?” Well, that’s if I didn’t injure myself. I found out yesterday that what I thought was a chronic injured hamstring is actually….wait for it…..an injured back. That’s right. BACK. Specifically a herniated disc at approximately the L4-5 level, possibly the L3-4 as well. How did I find this out? Let me entertain you. Or educate. Whatever. Someone is going to find this post useful. I just know it.

So, during one of my marathon stretching exercises I thought to myself, “Why in the hell am I so tight in my right hamstring still?! You know what, screw this. I’m going to a masseuse to get this bugger kneaded out…. Yo.” So I made some phone calls. My last phone call was to a good friend, who happens to be a physical therapist and who also happens to work at a chiropractic/physical therapy/orthopedic facility. Nice. Anywho, after hearing my symptoms (I.e. Sharp pain where my hamstring muscle meets my pelvis during a straight leg raising on either side; extremely tight right hamstring; pain in hips when sleeping; pain when sitting or driving) and (more importantly) the duration of my symptoms he came to one conclusion – I injured my low back. Well, naturally, I didn’t want to believe him. I was like, “That’s impossible! I was just stretching when I got the pain! I have no pain in my back whatsoever. It’s all coming from my hamstring. Sorry. You are wrong.” (Said the non-believer. Shun the non-believer. Shunnnnnn.).

I made an appointment and I dared him to prove me wrong….guess who was wrong: The arrogant attorney vs. the experienced physical therapist. Yeah. I was the Loser-Mc-Losertron in that epic battle of wits. How did he know? Well, he did some orthopedic tests. First he pushed on my hamstring ligament. No pain. He said if I injured my hamstring ligament, I would not be able to bear his fingers pressing on it. Secondly, I have no loss of strength in my hamstring. He pushed down on it two different ways and said that, if I was injured, I would not be able to push back. Let alone without pain. In fact, he said I am really strong for a woman my size. [Insert hand to pat the back here.] Then, of course, it was my reaction to when he touched my lower back in a certain area. Yeah. I jumped. There you have it ladies and gents – I have herniated a disc. For those who are unfamiliar, check this link from the Mayo Clinic and read up. Mine is more like a “bulge” then a “herniation”, which means that the contents of the disc are (most likely) not ruptured and are impinging on the spinal nerves. This is a good thing. A herniation that bad is extremely more painful and could lead to surgery. Boo. Surgery.

And for the record – this makes total sense. The General has been on my ass, well about my ass, for as long as this injury has lingered. According to my friend, the reason why my ass is pooching out during class is because the muscles in my lower back are protecting my spine. In fact, the reason why my hamstrings and turn out are not progressing, despite my constant stretching, is because all of the muscles in my lower back and hips are guarding the nerves that are being aggravated!!! Do you know what this means?!?! As soon as I get my spine in check, I should regain and even improve my flexibility even more!!! I am so excited that it’s not my lack of effort that is preventing my progress right now! I can’t help it – my body is just being a total boo-hole! I never thought I would be this excited to discover that I am handi-quacked.

So now what? The good news is that now I know the pain and tightness is not caused by a severe sprain in my hamstring, I can actually start treating the problem. Also, my friend says that my injury isn’t critical and after some treatment I should be right as rain in no time! Too bad I have been so stubborn; I could have been fixed up long ago. What can I say? I’m an “injury” beginner as well as a ballet beginner. I apparently have a high pain tolerance. That’s right. Don’t mess with me. I can take a punch. And a jab. Or maybe even a kick. Well, as long as it is not to my back. That could be bad considering I am a disabled person now. Ha!

As for the treatment, I am currently engaging in DRX (aka spinal stretching. Yup, ga-woss. This is what it looks like), electrical stimulation and massage therapy. According to my bro-seph, I just need to relieve the pressure off my spine and the tightness and pain should go away! Eventually, that is. I plan on going for treatment twice a week for the next three weeks. I am really hoping this will work. I am so tired of being I pain and I’m tired of being behind in class. This just has to be the solution. It just has to!!

What does this teach us? When you are “older” and an injury is taking longer then a couple weeks to heal, you should think about going to see a orthopedic facility for an evaluation. Hell, even a chiropractor will do (disclaimer: a reputable chiropractic facility is what I suggest that actually has a medical doctor that visits the facility to consult patients every week). The point is, even though we may be delusional at times, we are no spring chickens. After the age of 30, yes 30, our body starts doing crazy things. Take care of yourself and listen to what your body tells you. You will be glad you did. I know I am…. Finally. 😊😊😊😊😊😊

Crazy Stretching = Diva Behavior?

Well ladies and gents, I got another email.  This one is from Snarkalicious.  She has a question and I thought we could all chime in and answer her question.

Snarkalicious writes:

Hi Legal Ballerina –

I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while now, and wanted to THANK YOU for the “Ballerina” documentary post.  I had never heard of this film, but really enjoyed watching it.  It’s amazing how different watching ballet is now that I have been taking classes; I feel like I could stare at dancers all day long.
Anyhow, I DO have a question for you.  Often, my classes include more advanced dancers that really don’t need to be in a Beginner I or II class (but probably just need a class that fits into their schedule).  No biggie, and it’s nice to have someone with better technique in front of me so I can see/copy more subtle aspects of different movements at the barre. 
BUT.  I do not get the following behavior:  More-advanced-ballet-dancer comes in late (always, and up to 10 minutes tardy), proceeds to stretch in an extremely enthusiastic and distracting manner while the teacher is demonstrating the next barre combination, NEVER marks the combination (or even deigns to stand at this point – still stretching), and then sometimes even stretches again in between right and left combinations.  I’m talking sit-on-the-floor-and-do-the-splits type of stretching.  WTF?
Are more advanced dancers this in need of constant stretching?  I’m doing ok, and I never feel the need to stretch this intensely, especially when it isn’t really time to stretch.  I’m starting to suspect this is diva-ish behavior.  Please set me straight, LB!
And Merry Christmas. 🙂

Well, Snarkalicous, in my opinion? These young ladies are probably trying to make sure who is boss in that studio.  Their actions scream, “Hey ladies, look at me! I am young, have more experience and are crazy flexible.  You better recognize, bi-atch!”  It is truly ridiculous and completely distracting.  If it is that bad, I would mention something to your instructor.  Especially if it is disrupting your class. I mean, you are a paying client.  You do have the right to voice a concern that is taking away from your overall experience, am I right?  Although, I would be diplomatic in your delivery.  You don’t know what kind of relationship these ladies have with the instructor.  You don’t want to start any unnecessary drama in your class. 

Also, do these ladies really need to stretch like this all of the time? Probably not.  If your body is young and you have stretched a lot over the years, you will always maintain a certain level of flexibility no matter what.  However, the General has all of her studios devote a lot of time in stretching in every class, regardless of the flexibility of the individual student.  Keep doing what you are doing and don’t worry about them.  In the end, I really think these ladies are just marking their territory (and more importantly) being immature. 

Thanks for the great email Snark! I hope my answer helps!
Oh yeah, and have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!