You’ve probably heard the term bow legged before, but what does it actually mean? Will it affect your journey as a dancer? Is it bad? Is it good? Let’s find out!

Being bow legged of course is not a bad thing, it simply means your legs curve outward at the knee. The Mayo Clinic defines it as, “A condition in which the knees stay apart even when standing with feet and ankles together, also known as bowlegs.” While overtime it can lead to excess stress to the knee joints, being bow legged won’t keep you from dancing your heart out. It just means you need to take extra care of your knees, listen to your body when you feel like you’re in pain, and build strength in your legs so you can support the stress your knees undergo while dancing. 

It’s important to note that every dancer is unique and beautiful in their own way, no matter the type of legs they have! So let’s dive into the three different types of legs: straight, hyperextended, and bowed and how they affect each dancer.

Straight Legs

If you have straight legs, this just means that your legs don’t stretch above or below 180 degrees. Meaning, they straighten exactly to 180 degrees, no more and no less. Because your legs are evenly distributed this means you have lots of strength and stability in your legs which is great for dancing! 

The only downside is that these dancers won’t benefit from having hyper extended legs which would help them create a cleaner line. But this doesn’t make dancers with straight legs any more beautiful and fluid with their movements. Plus they can do hamstring exercises and strengthen their quadriceps to help them achieve hyperextension! 

By focusing on strengthening their quadriceps and hamstrings these dancers will continue to flourish while remaining strong and graceful!

Hyperextended Legs

If you have hyperextended legs then you actually have a lot in common with other professional dancers! How cool is that!? Having hyperextended legs simply means your legs bend beyond 180 degrees. They create beautiful, clean lines because the leg tends to look much longer. Not only are these dancer’s lines gorgeous to look at, but they also have naturally flexible hamstrings which is extremely beneficial for dance!

While it may be easier for them to bend their hamstrings, they still need to strengthen them. Strengthening is key especially because turning is more difficult for these dancers, so it’s important their supporting legs have built up enough strength to keep their balance.

Bowed Legs

Last but not least, dancers with bowed legs have legs that bend under 180 degrees. This simply means these dancers will have naturally bent legs, which can make dancing feel much harder compared to dancers with other leg types, but it’s important to remember that dance is for everyone and you can still be a beautiful dancer.  

Just like any other dancer, you have to work hard and think about how you’re moving your body

“No matter what your age is, even if you are at the end of your growth, you can become a beautiful dancer by developing good muscle balance and range of motion along with efficient alignment. Just remember that the way you stand and move outside of class has an enormous amount to do with what happens inside of class and keep up the good posture even when those around you are all slouched and slumped over.”

While it’s not the most ideal, nothing is impossible! These dancers just need to focus on strengthening their quadriceps and hamstrings. 

According to

“Bowed legs can make it difficult to balance and turn.  If dancers with bowed legs have a problem with a posterior pelvic tilt, meaning they “tuck,” this can contribute to the problem as well.  This often causes the feet to pronate and the knees to bend.”

Doing this will help strengthen their legs to avoid knee injuries. The main thing is that these dancers think about lengthening so they can get the full extent of the line and make their legs look as straight as possible.

Here are a few exercises to help you take the best care of your body and be the best dancer you can be!


Try this quick exercise, going into a deep plie in second position and stretching over from side to side.

You can also try this exercise. Place your feet hip width apart and turn facing one of your feet, your head over your toes while keeping your back as straight as you can. Then plie and come back up to stretch a couple times through.

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