The Incredible 180 Degree Extensions of Ballet Dancers

Ballerinas legs higher and higher

Isn’t it amazing that ballerinas kick up their legs higher? The postures of ballerinas nowadays have become increasingly vertical. Comparing to the past it is obvious that the angle of a ballerina’s working leg increased to 180 degrees – in very modern pieces even more…..

This statistic shows how ballet postures have changed in the last 80 years.

„Elena Daprati raided the archives of London’s Royal Opera House for photos and videos of dancers from 1946-2004 and calculated the angle between the raised “working leg” and the vertical supporting one. For each position, Daprati found that this angle increased as the years went by. Take developpe a la seconde – in the 1940s, dancers held their moving leg just above the 90 degree level, but today’s dancers effectively extend it straight up with an incredible 180 degree gap between their two legs.“

Watch some most -celebrated Prima Ballerinas in their posture.

Anna Pavlova 1881 – 1931

Anna Pavlova and Nicholas Legat in Swan Lake. Published by Herm.Leiser. © and Courtesy of Dancing Times. Source:

Margot Fonteyn 1919 – 1991

(L-R) Prince Florimund (MICHAEL SOMES), Princess Aurora (DAME MARGOT FONTEYN) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Unknown Source:

Akane Takada 1990

Akane Takada and James Hay in The Sleeping Beauty.
© Bill Cooper, courtesy the Royal Opera House

Elena Vostrotina

Elena Vostrotina and Raphaël Coumes-Marquet of SemperOper Ballet, Dresden, Germany, performing In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.
Choreography by William Forsythe. Photograph: © Angela Sterling.

More about in the article „How ballet legs grow higher and higher“in Dance magazine by Emma Sandell 2019

Photo on Top: Pennsylvania Ballet principal dancers Amy Aldridge and Ian Hussey performing In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated. Photo by Candice DeTore.

Autor: ballettlovers

I danced ballet as child, albeit with little success. Despite this, my passion for ballet and dance has carried into adulthood. I still love to watch ballet performances and would love to share my passion with you.

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