If you have hyper-extended arms, this tip is especially for you! In ballet, there are several positions of the arms that require them to be straight. But you’ll find that its a common mistake for dancers with hyper-extended arms to go beyond the “straight” line they’re trying to achieve and into hyper-extension. While it may feel straight for a dancer with hyper-extended arms, the shape of the arm will likely look broken, disconnected and stiff.
Whether or not you have hyper-extended arms, a straight arm in ballet should look straight, and actually be just ever-so-slightly bent at the elbow. The small bend allows for more fluidity in movement from one position to the next.
It’s easy for a dancer to brush this correction off because it is a very detailed correction for advanced students and professionals. Really understanding the shape of your arms as you dance, and knowing that they’re not hyper-extended as you hit positions, is part of refining a strong and complete technique. The difference between a hyper-extended arm and a straight arm will be different for everyone. If you can stretch and straight out your arms and they’re still not hyper-extended, you should still try to have just a very slight bend at the elbow. Again, this provides more softness and fluidity, even for men.