In the world of ballet, where grace meets athleticism, every movement is a delicate balance between strength and flexibility. However, within this realm lies a unique challenge for dancers with hyperextended knees. At Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), we recognise the importance of nurturing the body's natural abilities while safeguarding against potential injuries. Our motto rings true: the body is forever—dance isn't. The adjustments are always suggested to protect the knee from locking back.

It's disheartening to witness young dancers pushed beyond their limits in pursuit of hyperextension. While it may seem desirable to achieve an exaggerated range of motion, hyperextension presents indeed conflicting discussions. At PBT we believe pushing into that increased mobility in joints, particularly in the hips, knees, and ankles, can lead to severe injuries under the strain of traditional ballet training.

Reflecting on the history of ballet, one can see how dancers with hypermobility often faced significant challenges. In the past, these individuals would struggle to keep up with the demands of intense training, resulting in a high dropout rate among aspiring dancers. Videos from the 1950s depict a different era, with dancers showcasing extensions no higher than shoulder level and legs maintaining a straight line from knee to pointe.

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However, the evolution of ballet training has brought about positive changes. Teachers at the professional level have embraced a more holistic approach, understanding the need to develop strength alongside flexibility. Rather than forcing hyperextended dancers into a rigid mold, they now focus on cultivating control and stability.

As a result, today's dancers exhibit a more hyperextended line in their legs and achieve stunning arches with soaring extensions, but sometimes at what cost to the body.

The future of ballet holds endless possibilities. As we continue to adapt and innovate, we must prioritize the well-being of our dancers above all else. By celebrating diversity in physicality and nurturing everyone’s strengths, we can ensure that the art of ballet thrives for generations to come.

At PBT, we remain committed to empowering dancers of all abilities, guiding them on a journey towards excellence while honouring the resilience of the human body. After all, in ballet and in life, true beauty lies in embracing our imperfections and channelling them into moments of extraordinary grace.


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