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College student: auditioning for the dance prog.


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#16 balletstar811

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 12:00 PM

I agree that I can maybe get my muscles stretched out a little and maybe gain some strength back by doing things at home; however, Ms. Leigh is of course correct in that you cannot jump into an audition and expect to be able to use proper technique when one hasn't danced in a year. And I hadn't even thought about pointe -- it's probably even semi- dangerous to just put those on and try to do difficult steps in them!

#17 hkLola

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 12:14 PM

Yes, but in my experience you have to exercise out of class as well. I work on my technique in class and most of my strength and flexibility out of class. I have seen dancer's who didn't work on strength and flexibility and they don't look that great IMHO. It's one thing to have great technique but without any strength and flexibility it won't be worth much.

I guess I misunderstood your original question. I had thought you were asking about how to get back in shape in terms of strength and flexibility, not how to get your technique back. And if that is the case it's pretty much self-explainatory, go back to class for technique, but don't expect much in terms of strength and flexibility, you will get some, but not a ton.

I'm just speaking from what I have seen in terms of other fellow dancers and myself. Even the adult dancers do pilates, yoga, and stability ball classes outside of dance and some have amazing flexibility for their ages.

#18 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 02:30 PM

Isn't it amazing how many of us actually became dancers, back in the dark ages, before there were Pilates and a hundred other different forms of strength and flexibility training! :grinning: Somehow or other we managed to come out both strong and flexible. Hmmmm.....

That said, I am not at all against the extra work! I think Pilates is especially beneficial for dancers. However, ballet IS designed to create a dancer. Yes, it takes time. And no, everyone will not be able to do it to the point of professional careers. Dancers who are not born with all of the physical attributes can benefit greatly from all of the extra stretching and strengthening, however, an advanced or professional level dancer will not, under any circumstances, maintain their technique that way. They must have class, daily. Also, if one is naturally either strong or flexible, or both, then those things don't just disappear. What will disappear are the things one had to work the hardest for, the things which are not as natural. As an example, I would never need to work for flexiblity, however, I would have to work very hard to regain strength, therefore, certain extra work would be most valid. But first priority is always class! :grinning:

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#19 hkLola

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 04:29 PM

True, but still I believe dancers keep in shape out of class. At least the ones I know who are aspiring to be professional dancers. It's completely dependent on whether you want to do it professionally or not. For some reason people tell me I have a lot of flexibility (I don't think I do but I can improve it quickly) and I can get my strength really fast but I prefer to keep it instead of losing it and having to work for it again, even if it does take a short time. With my dancing, losing strength or flexibility is not an option, especially since I aspire to a professional career. Plus I feel I have overall improved in classes (which btw are min 5 days per week for students, for me I attend every class I can since I wish to go pro) by working out outside of class (at least 3 days a week, usually 5 though). I myself do not do pilates (I dislike it very much) but I keep my body in shape through other methods. Not all dancers in my advanced class have muscles like those in the NYCB and I can conclude it's because they aren't working hard enough to build up their strength. So while taking a ballet class everyday can build up strength, for me and some others I know it just wasn't enough to get the strength we wanted. So I still stick with my original statement, excellent technique can mean nothing when auditioning for pro companies or colleges without excellent strength and flexibility. At least in recent years. Because there are many dancers willing to work on strength and flexibility outside of class and have excellent technique and companies/colleges will go with them first. Just a word of warning to the poster. Cause strength helps provide a beautiful arabesque and beautiful devloppes, not just working on the technique aspect of it.

And yes, many years ago dancer's didn't have 180 degree extensions and all that fancy stuff that they do now. Times have changed! And dancer's wanting to go pro need to live up to the expectations of the dance world or they won't be going very far.

#20 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 16 August 2005 - 05:03 PM

A dancer with good technique will also have strength and flexibility. Without these things, the technique would not look very good at all.

And by "dark ages", I didn't really mean THAT long ago! :grinning: I had all the extension anyone could want, for that time or this time. Check my photo and professional career history here:

http://www.balletale...toriaLeigh.html

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LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS...
...IT'S LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN! [Unknown]


#21 pointe2perfection

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 12:43 AM

Ms. Leigh,
I wanted to view your link, but it wasn't working :wub:

#22 Marenetha

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 12:52 AM

Knock knock,

hkLola, supplemental work is not needed for everyone. Some people really need it to help deal with structural problems, like hyperextension (strengthen those quadriceps!) or a swayback (strengthening the abdominals can help control this) but other people, when taught by a good teacher, can just get the muscular workout in class.

Pilates, et cetera, is just supplemental work to ballet -- it can make you stronger, sure, but if you can't utilize it in a dance class then you're really just wasting your time. Besides, you don't NEED a 180 degree arabesque or extension a la seconde -- there are more than enough Sylvie Guillem-clones to go around! If you can move well, the stationary positions, which pilates and other strengthening exercises can help with, will be great. If you can't move well ... well, there's almost nothing worse though than exquisite extension and no sense of taste or musicality, is there? :wub:

#23 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 07:16 AM

Fixed the link in my post above! Thanks for letting me know, p2p.

Lovely post, Marentha! :D

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LIFE ISN'T ABOUT WAITING FOR THE STORM TO PASS...
...IT'S LEARNING HOW TO DANCE IN THE RAIN! [Unknown]


#24 Momof3darlings

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 08:00 AM

And our Ms. Leigh STILL has extension that alot of eager dancers would give their right leg for, no pun intended. (just a little green monster showing up for a second) Students who know her often comment, "if it's this good now what in the world was it like then?"

vj
Balance in everything ballet!

#25 hkLola

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Posted 17 August 2005 - 09:34 AM

Marentha: I do have very bad hyperextension, I did not know strengthing the quads helped. Thanks for that.

In a lot of pre-pro schools I looked at some actually make you take pilates or dance/body conditioning. I still think it's needed. But maybe it's a personal opinion that can vary from school to school.

But if a girl has very high extensions and can dance amazingly, has wonderful technique, and has wonderful stage presence, a company will take her over the girl who can do the same just as well but with only 90 degree extensions. There is too much competition for me not to care about staying fit and having great extensions. Especially in the month of August when I only have 2 private classes per week. (no classes anywhere!)

I don't mean to make anyone think that I don't care about technique, I do! Or else I'd go to class one day a week instead of daily. Technique is first but my strength and flexibility is a close 2nd and I work on that daily as well.