A Dance Leg Hold

A row of ballerinas in purple practice their leg holds at the ballet barre

Denisfilm / Getty Images 

A leg-hold is a beautiful step for showing the range of flexibility in a dancer. Learning how to do a leg hold takes practice and a lot of stretching. Once you can master a few stretches over and over, it will loosen up your body so you can hold this elegant pose.

Before attempting a leg hold, make sure you can easily do a split. Stretch every day to get comfortable with both a front split and side split.

Stretches to Prepare for Splits

You can do several stretches to prepare your body for splits, which pave the way to rock a solid dance leg hold. You want to make sure that your quadriceps and hamstrings, especially. And don't rush trying to get into the pose if you're not fairly bendy. 

Practice these stretches to get yourself ready to try the dance leg hold.

  • Standing stretch: Extend your leg out onto a chair or table. Feel the hip and hamstrings tighten? Stay in the stretch for 20 to 30 second. Next, practice the stretch on the other leg. You can try going back and forth between stretches a few times, or try this stretch again after doing the others. 
  • Lunge stretch: From here, move your body into a lunge position with one foot forward, your knee bent, one foot behind you, and then place your shin on the ground. Next, shift your weight forward onto the front bent leg, ensuring that your back says straight. Keep the stretch held between 20 and 30 seconds. Switch legs up, putting the opposite leg first. Again, you can go back and forth between legs.
  • Leg stretch: For this stretch, you will lay down on your back with your legs on the floor straight out in front of you. Then lift one leg up as straight as you can, reaching your fingers toward your toes, until you feel your quads tighten up a little. You can move the leg forward and back, or go in circles. You can also circle your ankles around in circles to enhance the stretch. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. 

How to Do a Leg Hold Pose in Dancing

Have you mastered doing splits? Then it may be time to attempt the dance leg hold. Once you are quite flexible and ​warmed up, follow these steps to get into the pose. You want to be able not only to get into the pose holding your leg up, but you also want to be able to hold the extension unsupported. This may take time to work up to, but here are the basics of getting into the leg hold pose.

  • Hold on to a barre, a chair, a wall or another person for balance.
  • Developpe your foot up to your knee. Be sure to keep your leg turned out.
  • Reach around your leg and grab hold of your ankle. Slowly straighten your knee.
  • Hold the pose for a few seconds, making sure your hips are square and your torso is straight. Don't forget to point your toe!