Are dancers too flexible?

Recently we’ve posted amazing photos of dancers with almost unbelievable flexibility, which has generated a great deal of comments from our Wonderful Members on Facebook.

So we ask, have dancers become too flexible? Is flexibility more important than emotion and technique? Do we expect our prima ballerinas to be ultra-flexible, and are we disappointed if they’re extensions, developes and grande jetes aren’t 180 degrees with pointe shoes positioned near their ears?

Some of our Wonderful Members have commented that they feel dancers have become too gymnastic, promoted for their dazzling flexibility rather than their technique perfected over years of hard work. While others are in awe of this unique physical gift and desperately wish they too were born with hyper-extension, in the same way they wish for perfect arches, strong ankles, perfect turn out, flexible backs.

There is something undeniably awe-inspiring in a perfect 180 degree penche, think La Sylphide, Odile’s develops, Svetlana Zakharova in Don Quixote, Sylvie Guillem, Darcey Bussell, Polina Semionova.

Dancers from a very young age push their bodies and their minds to the limit in the pursuit of perfection. The picture on my dance studio wall when I was young said it all “strive for perfection that can never be attained”. And although audiences are dazzled by the high leg, they are moved by the emotional connection and story the dancers share with their audience – every time Juliet dies and Odette is betrayed, the audience cries.

Ballet and all other forms of dance constantly evolve as does the training that helps our dancers execute more complex and challenging positions and performances. Dancers, choreographers and teachers all push the boundaries of the possible, which creates a beautiful emotional experience both on and off the stage. Dance is an art that requires heart, strength, passion, dedication and devotion – and the height of an extension will never replace the emotion of dance because it is the dancer’s emotions that makes them dance.

Do you agree? Share your view with us.

Wonderful Team

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