In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
My extensions are totally uneven. I'm great to the front and side with my right leg, but can barely reach 90 degrees in arabesque, and my left leg is strong in arabesque but weak to the front and side. What can I do to balance myself out?
I had exactly the same problem—in fact, almost every dancer does! Most people are naturally a little lopsided. The solution is to develop both your flexibility and your strength. For your arabesque, focus on working the large muscles in your back, which will help you support every inch of the height you do have in arabesque. Odds are good that your left hip is tighter than it should be, too, which can limit your range of
motion to the back on the right side. Use a tennis ball or foam roller to loosen up that left hip joint, and you might find that your arabesque rises an inch or two.
Opposition is equally important when it comes to front and side extensions. So, to improve your leg height to the front and side on the left, work on strengthening your right leg and hip, and stretching and rolling out your left hamstring.
I've found that Pilates is especially great for the kind of back and hip strengthening that benefits extension. Explain the issues you're having to your Pilates teacher, and ask if she can create a customized set of exercises for you. You also might want to have a teacher or physical therapist look at your alignment, to make sure there aren't larger technical or physical issues to blame for your unevenness.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers by clicking on their names here:
vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
We also want you to
get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Madison Jordan and Jarrod Tyler Paulson brought their real-life romance to the audition stage. (Adam Rose/FOX)
It's usually right around the third or fourth week of "So You Think You Can Dance" audition rounds that we start itching for the live shows. Sure, the auditions are fun, inspiring, and entertaining, but at a certain point, we reach audition saturation. (And the live shows are just so good and feature so much more Cat Deeley.)
All that said, Nigel and co. kept things spicy this week, so our attention remained firmly glued to the screen. (It's been 16 seasons—who are we to doubt Nigel Lythgoe, sir?) Here's how it all went down.
When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.