Getting More Height In Your Leaps

Reader Question:

Do you have any tips for leaping higher?  My dance teacher says my leaps are good, but I wish I could get higher in the air.  What can I do?

Getting More Height in leaps

Sherise:
Good question!  First off make sure you always are stretched out first.  Work on your splits if you don’t have them. However: don’t bounce into them. You don’t want to risk injury. Work on them every day and you will get them.

Make sure you are working on grande battements. These will loosen your hip joints. Now for one of the most important tips: plié on the last step before leaping. This will give you the power you need to get up higher. While leaping, make sure you are looking up just above eye level. If you are looking down even just the slightest bit can pull you down. Sounds like you are already working hard! Keep at it!!

Temperance:
Getting leaps higher is a very common challenge that many dancers face.  There could be a number of reasons why you lack height in your leaps. 1) Body structure- are your legs long and your torso short?  Do you have a hard time building muscle in your legs?  2) Are you using enough plié in preparation to the leap?  3) Does your class work on leaps enough in technique? Are you practicing enough petite allegro in ballet to really build the muscles in your feet and legs needed for jumps?

Here are some tips to start improving the height in your leaps!

  • Ankle weights – get some that are about a pound and a half! Wear them across the floor for technique (not just for leaps but battements and even turns too), as well as wear them during barre work. You will be AMAZED at the results.
  • Practice leaping with no prep, or only one step preceding the leap. No chasse, no chaine, no run-run. Just one step in plié and LEAP! The more you practice leaping without a prep, the better and higher your leaps will get with the prep.
  • Think travel the leap rather than try to stop it mid air. You will not only go higher but your back leg will stay up longer and straighter, too!

Good luck!

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m so glad you’re tackling this element. Height makes dancing even more fun!
    I have a couple disagreements with your tips:

    You should never do static stretching (where you hold the stretch longer than 10 seconds) right before dancing. This can actually decrease your power and lift for a couple hours afterward.
    Getting your flexibility up IS important though. Try doing dynamic stretching before you dance and save a good long static stretch for after.

    Weights:
    Jumping with ankle or held weights is terrible for your joints. You want to have knees and ankles when you’re 30. Wear weights for barre work and standing, low impact drills and battlements, but remove for across the floor and for when both feet leave the ground.

    Thanks!

    • I did what you said and yours advice helped me so much the rest of my team mates did what this said and they failed thank you so so so so so SOOOOOOOO much you saved me

  2. You do an amazing job of offering advice and encouragement to the ladies posting these questions. I would add, practice, practice, practice. You can leap anywhere! Keep on leaping, even if your friends and family think you are crazy. Take pics of yourself leaping and eventually you will get higher and higher!

  3. Another tip is to focus on the height of your intiating grand battement/extension in your leap. The higher your grand battement/extension, the higher your leap will be as your pelvis and torso rise up towards the height of your leg in the air.

  4. I like how you said that ankle weights are a great way to heighten your leaps. I have been doing ballet for years but need help with some technique. Thanks for the tips on getting high leaps.

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