Ask Deb: My Right Leg Is Longer Than My Left Leg

My right leg is longer than my left leg, and I want to know what I should do in ballet class to avoid exacerbating the hip soreness I feel after class because of it.

There are some common patterns with uneven leg lengths. Generally, dancers like to stand in fifth position with the long leg in back. This is because when the shorter leg is behind, the front knee will want to bend to square off the hips. It's also very common in everyday standing to shift and stand on the shorter leg and bend the knee of the longer leg. I see most leg-length challenges happening at the barre, when you can use your hand to try to force a square pelvis and evenly balance between the two legs.

Putting a heel lift under the shorter leg will not only help dancers work more symmetrically, but it will help spinal curves straighten, help shoulders become even and allow dancers to feel like they are standing evenly on both feet.

If you have a known leg-length problem, I would encourage you to seek some advice from a physician or physical therapist to see if putting a lift in your soft slipper and street shoes would be useful. They will evaluate your skeletal alignment with and without the lift and determine if a correction is needed. I suspect your chronically sore hip muscles would feel better, too.

To your success,

Deborah Vogel

Director, The Body Series

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

Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

Keep reading... Show less
Robbie Sweeny, courtesy Funsch

Christy Funsch's teaching career has taken her from New York City to the Bay Area to Portugal, with a stint in a punk band in between. But this fall—fresh off a Fulbright in Portugal at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, School of Dance (ESD), teaching and researching empathetic embodiment through somatic dance training—Funsch's teaching has taken her to an entirely new location: Zoom. A visiting professor at Slippery Rock University for the 2020–21 academic year, Funsch is adapting her eclectic, boundary-pushing approach to her virtual classes.

Originally from central New York State, Funsch spent 20 years performing in the Bay Area, where she also started her own company, Funsch Dance Experience. "My choreographic work from that time is in the dance-theater experiential, fantasy realm of performance," she says. "I also started blending genres and a lot of urban styles found their way into my choreography."

Keep reading... Show less
Courtesy Meg Brooker

As the presidential election approaches, it's a particularly meaningful time to remember that we are celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women earned the right to vote after a decades-long battle.

Movement was more than a metaphor for the fight for women's suffrage—dancers played a real role, most notably Florence Fleming Noyes, who performed her riveting solo Dance of Freedom in 1914 to embody the struggle for women's rights.

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University director of dance Meg Brooker is reconstructing Dance of Freedom on 11 of her students. A Noyes Rhythm teacher and an Isadora Duncan scholar, Brooker is passionate about bringing historic dance practices into a contemporary context.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.