2 3 Technical Tuesday Patella | Ballet Webb

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Technical Tuesday Patella

Technical Tuesday Patella

That cute little bone that rides up and down in the front of the knee is the patella. It is colloquially referred to as the “kneecap”, and most students know this term. The word “patella” comes from the Latin meaning “small pan, dish, or plate”.

It is technically a “sesamoid” bone, sesamoid meaning “like a sesame seed”, although in an adult the patella is about 2 inches – quite a bit larger than a sesame seed – and the patella is the largest sesamoid bone in the body.

The patella is attached to the tendon of the quadriceps femoris muscle. This muscle contracts to allow the leg (knee) to straighten. This is particularly important for dancers, and I have blogged before about how a straight knee is a safe knee. When the leg is straightening the patella can be seen moving upward. If the patella doesn’t move, the knee isn’t fully straight.

Become familiar with the way the front of the leg (the patella) looks whether the knee is straight, bent, or during a plie.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #24d:  
The patella is colloquially called the “kneecap”.

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