Q: Some teach that a tendu à la seconde should align across from the toes on the supporting side, whereas others teach that it should be directly across from the heel. I feel aligning with the heel is ultimately correct, but I prefer to teach dancers to align with the toes because it's safer. What do you think?
Q: I've noticed a clicking or popping sound coming from my right hip joint when I raise it to the side, and I tend to be far more flexible on my left leg. Are these two things connected? Should I be worried?
It's very common for young dancers to over-rotate their feet in first position. The first suggestion I have is to simply not turn out so far. The dancer should be able to stand in first position with equal weight between the pads of the big toe, little toe and heel. Otherwise she will create a twisting motion at the knees and ankles, which will leave her vulnerable to injuries.
The iliopsoas (psoas for short) is the primary muscle that lifts the legs above 90 degrees to the front and side. The iliopsoas is a hip flexor that works with the quads to begin lifting the leg before taking over above the 90-degree point.
Great question! The common alignment pattern for young children is to stand with their bellies poofed out in a swayback posture. In that position, the hip flexors are in the shortened position, and the hip extensors are in an elongated position.