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.

Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer Diary
Claire, McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.