Dancers who are either knocked kneed or bowlegged usually exhibit some degree of hyperextension. With this said, these dancers normally do not have their weight properly set upon their “foot triangle”. That is, with the weight properly centered equally over the arches. Weight should be equally distributed in an imaginary triangle on the foot, from the heel to the ball of the foot under the big toe, to the end of the foot beneath the little toe, an imaginary triangle on the sole of your foot.
With these knees variances indicated, you as the dancer, will need to shift your weight from the heel, where it falls naturally, to the center of your foot triangle. Dancers who are bowlegged roll out on their feet and dancers who are knocked kneed roll in on their feet. Both these knee types should keep this in mind.
The dancer needs to keep in mind her total body alignment. The hips in relationship to the feet, the rib cage and it relationship to the hips and the legs. Most often the entire alignment needs to be adjusted all due to the variance of your knee. The dancer needs to remember that the hips need to be over the arch of the foot and avoid concentrating on the knees.
Another way to correct alignment due to a knee variance is to execute a demi plie. You should stand in a parallel 1st position. All the while keeping in mind that the weight is distributed correctly over the “foot triangle”. Keep the back long, so that the hips do not change position before the you execute the demi plie. After the demi plie, straighten the knees, is your weight still centered in the “foot triangle” ? From here, releve to demi pointe aligning the weight over the “foot triangle”. This exercise is then practiced in a turned out first position, still concentrating on your weight.
The knees aren’t always the problem…..
Rolling in with the feet is not just frequent in dancers with knocked knees. This is a common error in beginning dancers as they learn to properly distribute their weight, especially when they are practicing their demi plie combinations at the barre. This error then follows them to the center floor, creating unbalance when practicing center barre exercises, or any step center or traveling.
To practice correcting your alignment and learn to transfer your weight properly, stand with your weight on both feet. Begin executing the 5 basic foot positions of the feet. When passing through each of the positions, you should execute proper stance each time you approach the next position. The body weight should be centered equally on the arches. Learn to assume proper stance immediately, with weight equally centered on both feet. The beginning dancer practices the classical foot positions to learn the position to rest and to regain balance before shifting their weight to one foot or in a different direction.
Remember that a knee variance is not a hindrance and can be corrected, but improper weight distribution can become a bad habit that will stay with you always. Practice to keep weight properly set on your feet. Dance as if you are weightless……