One of the trickier things as a dancer is to use the greater flexibility that you develop when you are dancing. In particular, the developpe is one area where the stretching you do, doesn’t always equal getting your legs higher for this.
So, what can you do to develop your developpe more effectively?
What you need for a good developpe
The developpe is always a balancing act because if you just keep practising it over and over again, the result is more likely to be bulky thighs and problems with your hips being too tight. It doesn’t often result in the increase in range that you are aiming for. Mostly this happens because you are using the front of your leg to lift as opposed to using the hip to control the movement.
But there’s a bit more to it because mastering this move is also about having stability in the deep lower back. It needs coordination of the right amount of muscle just as the leg moves into position as well as good endurance to be able to hold it there.
Exercises to help
That might all sound a bit complicated but the easiest way to improve your developpe is with a series of exercises. These exercises are also worth doing if you have a foot injury and are struggling to put your foot on the ground.
The aim is to work the muscles needed for this move so you will start by lying on your back with your legs out straight and hands placed on your hips.
1. First, move the foot into the retire position so you can feel your inner thighs working. If you have any issues with the back of the ankle such as your Achilles, make sure your foot is flexed. Also, ensure that your hips stay square.
2. Next unfold the leg to a 90-degree angle, working on the lengthening of the leg and turnout from the hips. Don’t be tempted to cheat height by tucking the pelvis into position but ensure your leg is in the right spot.
3. Now rotate the leg in and out to improve control of the hip socket.
4. Finally, lower the leg back to the floor and make sure your back stays flat on the floor and you aren’t using your abdominal muscles.
Repeat this move a couple of times on one leg then swap over and do the same for the other one.
Improving your developpe
The aim here is to be able to get that 90-degree angle without moving your hips. This will allow you to get much more height in the leg and often to move beyond this as you get that flexibility. The exercises will teach your muscles to control the leg in the right way and ensures the range of movement needed for the dance move.
Once you get used to these exercises, you’ll find that when you make the move in a standing position, your body knows what to do and you’ll be much improved.