I'm an adult beginner, and I'm loving dance class. My only problem is that when I do fifth position with my right foot in front, my hip pops as I straighten my leg. I have no problem with fifth when my left foot is in front. Do you have any advice?

The most common cause of hip popping in fifth position is a difference in leg lengths. Whenever I have a dancer in my office say they can't stand in fifth easily on just one side, it's my cue to check for leg-length discrepancies.

When someone has a difference in leg lengths, the longer leg can cause the pelvis to rotate and force the greater trochanter (the bump on the outside of the femur) to slip out from underneath the IT band. This motion is what makes hips pop. I suggest you go to the drugstore and pick up a pair of heel cushions that are blue, rubbery and about a half-inch thick. Put one heel cushion in your left soft slipper and try your fifth position again. Is it easier?

If that doesn't help, remember that there can also be a functional shortening at the hip caused by a tight iliopsoas muscle. Stretching out both iliopsoas muscles through the runner's lunge or one of the other stretches and then rechecking your fifth positions might make it easier to stand with the pelvis upright.

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

Got a question for Deb? E-mail askdeb@dancemedia.com, and she may answer it in an upcoming web exclusive.

To work with Deb Vogel in person, check out her summer workshop, A Dance Teacher's Retreat to Tuscany!

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