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How do I get my développé to the side higher?
Développés take time but can be used in many ways and are beautiful. First, make sure to stretch everyday so that you are increasing your flexibility. However, développés are not just about flexibility. A big part involves strength. You must develop a strong core; this will help you maintain control of your body movements. Another key group of muscles for développés is your inner thighs. You can strengthen them by doing deep pliés in second.
Now, to do your développés to the side (also known as a la second), you must make sure your hip flexors are not tight. This will prevent you from getting any higher. There are several exercises you can do to loosen them up: for example, the seated straddle, sitting with your legs apart and stretch from side to side and reach to each foot. Another good one is the butterfly. Sit with your feet together and bounce your knees and slowly stretches down to your feet. Also, doing the splits daily will stretch your hips out.
While working on your développés, you can work on them lying on your back. That way, you can focus on your position of your leg and your breathing. A common mistake is extending the leg to soon. Make sure you lift the leg to proper attitude position before extending.
Most importantly, remember everyone is built and made differently. Some can leap high while others can do twice the amount of turns. Dance with your heart and never give up; listen to your teacher and don’t compare yourself to others.
Développés are all about hip flexor and hamstring flexibility! Whatever you can do to loosen up the hip flexor and stretch your hamstrings will be the key to acquiring more height in your développé extension!
- Always stretch in a deep lunge and hold for an extended period of time. Lunges are great for the hips. Also rotating from a parallel lunge to a turned out lunge and then switching sides while staying deep in the plie is great for the hips too!
- Make sure when you go to execute the développé, lead from the knee! Get your knee lifted and locked in position (keeping the working hip down) and extend from there. Don’t ever lift and extend from your hip/bottom.
- Grab a partner and sit in butterfly. Have your partner press down on your upper thighs while you stretch forward to stretch out the hips and open your turn out!
- Holding a heel stretch (grabbing the foot with your hand) will help your muscles get used to the position of a développé! Hold for at least 2 counts of 8!
- Leg lifts lying down on your side! This will develop the strength your hips need to hold the leg in position!
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