In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
My teacher always tells me to "lift from underneath" during grands battements, but I don't really understand what she means. I'm overusing my hip flexors instead, and they've started popping. Help!
The first thing I'd suggest is shifting your focus to your supporting hip. Often, we get fixated on the working leg, and that frequently results in gripping. Instead, think about staying over the supporting side and drawing on its strength. That will help free up your working leg.
Another trick you can use is the classic "go down to go up." We tend to grip our hip flexors because we're envisioning ourselves lifting our legs, rather than pushing off from the floor. So, as you battement, think about the leg first moving down into the floor before it lifts. Not only will that give you much more power, but it'll also naturally engage the correct muscles in the working leg.
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