Dear Katie: How Can I Improve My Arabesque?

April 16, 2020

In our “Dear Katie” series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email
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Dear Katie,

What can I do to get my arabesque above 90 degrees? I’m pretty flexible, but I feel like my leg gets stuck against my back in arabesque. Help!


Dear Alice,

Achieving a beautiful arabesque isn’t just about flexibility. It’s also about strength.

Start by making sure your back muscles are strong enough to support your full extension. Try this exercise: Lie on your stomach with your hands under your forehead. Gently raise your upper body, hold, and lower back down, while keeping your hips still and connected to the floor. Repeat 10­–15 times, thinking about lengthening through the body. You can add variations, too, like lifting both legs as you raise your upper body, or alternating single legs.

Keep working on your hamstring and hip flexor flexibility, too, dedicating a little extra time to stretching those parts of the body. Supple hamstrings and relaxed hip flexors are crucial when it comes to achieving an impressive arabesque.

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