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dislocate -- 1. [verb] To injure a joint by temporarily forcing the bone out of its normal socket. 2. [noun] In men's gymnastics, a rotating of the shoulders when performing a backwards turn on the still rings. Many skills in acrobatics appear to involve dislocating a joint, when they actually do not.
Durvasa's pose (also called: crane pose) -- [From East Indian sage, Durvasa, who supposedly assumed this pose during his years of penance] To stand on one foot with the other leg lifted in front and placed behind the neck or shoulders. [Note: some yoga manuals say that this is a crane pose, others say a crane pose is a handstand in tucked position.]

dynamic stretching -- The use of a controlled swinging movements through the range of motion of a limb, in order to warm up or increase flexibility.

elbow stand -- Any inverted pose in which the performer uses only the forearms on the floor for support.

extension -- A term commonly used by dancers to refer to the height of the leg when it is raised into the air.

flexible -- Able to bend back and forth easily or to a great extant. See also: "limber", "lax", "supple".

frontbend -- Any pose that features an unusual degree of frontward bending of the waist and/or spine, either with the legs together or parted.
front split (also called: stride split) -- A split in which one leg is extended frontward and the other leg is extended backward, both at right angles to the trunk. Ideally, the hips are square facing to the front, while both legs are turned out from the hips (See "turnout").

golliwog -- 1. A grotesquely-dressed black-faced male doll with dark fuzzy hair. 2. In American vaudeville, a contortionist dressed as a golliwog. 3. See: "rag doll act" for how such a character is used in a contortion performance.

grande jete -- A ballet term used to describe a split leap. (See "split leap")

hairpin -- A pose in which one kneels down, sits on top of the feet, and bends backwards until the top of the head comes into contact with the tailbone; it may also done with a starting position on hands and knees.

hamstring -- The muscle at the back of thigh which is stretched when bending forward with the leg straight.

headseat -- An extreme backbend in which the top of the performer's head touches the buttocks; usually in a handstand or chest stand.

hip flexors -- A set of muscles and ligaments including the iliopsoas muscle and the iliofemoral ligament which influence turnout of the leg from the hip (See: "turnout"), and are primarily responsible for raising the leg upward. When raising the leg to the front, the hip flexors contract. When raising the leg to the rear, the hip flexors are stretched. The hip flexors are also stretched in the rear leg of any split (See: "split").

human knot (also called: yogic sleep; head-foot position; leg-head position) -- A frontward bend with both ankles placed behind the neck.

hypermobile (also called: double-jointed; loose-jointed) -- 1. Having unusually lax muscles and connective tissue, and joint sockets that allow an extreme range of motion. 2. [Hypermobility test designed by Peter Beighton] One who can perform at least three of the following nine skills: place both palms on the floor with the legs straight, hyperextend the right or left elbow 15 degrees, hyperextend the right or left knee 15 degrees, passively place either thumb against the same forearm, passively bend the fingers of either hand backward 90 degrees with respect to the back of the hand.

isometric stretching -- A method of increasing flexibility in which static stretching (See: "static stretching") is alternated with tensing the stretched muscle by pressing against the floor or a partner.

lax -- Flexible; loose; relaxed.

leg shouldering -- A standing split in which the leg touches the shoulder. Can be done to front, side (shown), or rear. When done to the rear, it is an extreme needle scale (See: "needle scale").
lever scale -- An assisted inclined split. The performer stands in front of their partner facing the same direction, holds both their hands, steps on one of their feet, and raises the other leg to the rear to perform a standing penche split (See: "split" and "arabesque penche"); the partner then lowers the performer until the performer's legs are parallel to the floor, and their back not quite touching the floor.



This page was co-authored by:
Greg Ullman (
Tige Young (

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