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How to Stretch Properly for Ballet

Learn how to stretch properly from ballerina Maegan Woodin in this Howcast ballet dance video.

Transcript

My name is Maegan Woodin, and I'm a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher and student. I have danced for MTV, Diana Ross, Marc Jacobs and have appeared in many music videos. You can find more information about me and my career, as well as photos and videos, at www.dgtnyc.com. I'm going to be talking to you about ballet. Stretching in ballet is an important part to warming up, and also to increase your flexibility. You want to trigger parts of your body that you're going to be using in class. So, starting off with your hamstrings, you can flex your feet and make sure that your heels are off the ground, and you're going to grab onto your heels, and you're going to just bend all the way down, and hang there. And you're going to feel a nice pull in the back of your legs, and you wanna stay in every stretch that you do for about thirty seconds. If you stay any shorter than that, your muscles aren't able to relax, and they won't fully stretch. You also should be warming up your hips, and this can be done by gently pressing on either side. And you can change the position of your legs from being far away, to having your toes very closely depending on what you need for your hips. And so you can do a flat back, which is just your body bending over slightly, or you can round your back completely. You should also think about opening up your hips a little further by doing a straddle. And make sure that you're not rolling over onto your knee when you're doing this. Make sure that your feet are pointed and your legs are out to the side. And you can slowly just go all the way forward, or stretch to the side, whatever you feel that you need. Another good idea, to stretch the outside of your legs, is to do this stretch, where you can hold onto your knee, and you can turn your body to the side, and that's a great stretch to do. In addition, a lot of dancers have a lot of tension in their IT band, so a good way to stretch that is to bring your foot up, and you want to slightly sickle your foot. And if you sit up nice and tall, and if you just rotate your body a little bit, you will feel a very painful pull in that muscle, but it is definitely okay and it should be worked on a regular basis. It's important that you don't overstretch. If you overstretch you could pull or tear some muscles, which would be very, very dangerous.

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