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The 7 Stars of Flexibility

What:  The 7 Stars of Flexibility are positions that when mastered will aid in the dancer's ability and confidence.

When:  Normally, evaluations will be done monthly.  There may be adjustments depending on the public school schedule, if there have been weather cancellations, or if we have a performance scheduled.

Why:  For most dance styles, but especially ballet, flexibility in all parts of the body gives the dancer a great advantage in all aspects of their dancing.  Not developing flexibility can cause the student to become frustrated, making some movements difficult and causing them to not look as graceful as a more flexible dancer.  The testing is done to encourage students to do warm-up and stretching exercises daily.  Doing this will make their classes more productive and enjoyable and also enhance their self-discipline.  A student who takes a weekly class and does nothing between classes to train and develop their bodies cannot be expected to show much progress.

How:  The students will be tested during class.  For each position that is mastered they will receive a star beside their name on the "Flexibility Stars" board.  If they master all seven positions and count to ten in French, the language of ballet, they will receive a "Certificate of Mastery."

         Pike Position (demonstrates hamstring flexibility)

Sitting down, both legs in front, flexed feet, straight knees.  Chest all of the way down.  Heels lifted off of the floor.

See photo below


                 Butterfly (demonstrates hip flexibility)

Feet together, both knees must be all of the way down on the floor, chest flat on legs.

See photo below

                         Right Split (demonstrates hamstring and hip flexor flexibility)

Full right split with straight knees.  Back foot flipped under with a straight knee to enforce square hips.

See photo below

                               Left Split

Same as Right, but with the left leg in front.

See photo below

                                          Middle Split (demonstrates hip flexibility)

A full 180 degree middle split with knees facing up, feet flexed, knees straight, and chest all of the way down.

See photo below

                                               Frog Position (demonstrates hip flexibility)

Lying on your stomach, knees bent, feet together.  Heels, knees, and pelvis flat on the floor.

See photo below

                                                         Swan Position (demonstrates back flexibility)

Lying on your stomach, arched back, bent knees.  Toes touching head.

See photo below

Important Notes:  Some people are more naturally flexible than others.  No one should expected to master any of these positions right away.  The positions are not sequential, in other words, a student may master 2 and 5 but not yet be able to master the others.  What's important is that the student develops the self-discipline and motivation to work on it daily and to develop the understanding that achievement usually requires slow and steady progress.  In class, students will be taught the difference between "good stretch," a movement that will gradually increase flexibility, and "bad stretch," a movement that can result in muscle injury.  Daily gentle stretching after warming up will soon be rewarded with progress.  Luckily, most children are naturally more flexible than adults.

Stretch and Warm-up Routine (with Aiyana)

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