Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers
tatjanas

Requirement to do the splits

Recommended Posts

tatjanas

May dd is 8 years old. She started ballet lessons a year ago and she absolutely loves it! She is going through her exams very fast as well (she is taking RAD). Now she is panicking that she is not one of those kids who can easily do the splits and that will stop her to be a professional ballerina.

 

I am trying to come her down and say that if she will stretch regularly and safely, the flexibility will develop.

 

But is that correct, if she is not able to do the splits now, it will be difficult to get to full time ballet school?

 

Currently in Grade 2 there is no requirement to be flexible. When that will become essential for ballerina?

Share this post


Link to post
Victoria Leigh

Splits are just a stretch for flexibility. They are not a syllabus requirement, to my knowledge. All young children want to be able to "do" them, but they are not aware that the purpose for doing them is to stretch, not to show off their great natural flexibility.

 

Yes, the flexibility will improve with age and training. There are some children who have it naturally, but they are generally in the minority. Most things in ballet are not "natural", which is why the training of a dancer takes at least 10 years of very dedicated and intensive training, starting from the age of about 8, with the intensity increasing as they progress through the levels.

Share this post


Link to post
buzzandmoo

Just adding my two cents :) My DD started "serious" ballet at 8 as well, at a pre-pro school, and was probably the least flexible in her class. It really bothered her that her flexible classmates were doing splits at age 8 and she couldn't. Now at 10 1/2, she is a very strong dancer and can now do a split. It comes with time. She now laughs at how upset she used to be!

Share this post


Link to post
momtofour

I remember thinking my daughter would never get one....she seamed to be at least 12 inches off the ground. She is 8(almost 9) and has one and is oh so close to the other. She goes twice a week to ballet and never hardly ever works on them at home. She loves ballet but is not a child that wanted it badly enough that she would warm up and stretch at home! I think sometimes it comes and goes for her also...she is not worried about it!

Share this post


Link to post
Hans

Definitely no need for her to worry about it at that age, momtofour. :)

Share this post


Link to post
KathiaW

My daughter is ten and is also worried. I told her it will come. We are just not a flexible bunch. When she least expects it the split will be complete.

Share this post


Link to post
Victoria Leigh

I really wish kids would not put so much pressure on themselves to be able to "do" the splits. In the scheme of things, it is just not that important, and really needs to be addressed as just a stretch that one does, only when fully warmed up of course, to help increase their flexibility for extensions. It's not about splits, it's about working on one's extensions.

Share this post


Link to post
andreaa

Check out the work of Lisa Howell...an Australian physio that specializes in ballet. She has a program called "Front Splits Fast" and it helps many people. I did the excercises just for a lark and noticed a difference! I'm 44 and NOT flexible...

Share this post


Link to post
Victoria Leigh

Just the title of that program turns me off totally. I disagree with the idea of doing anything like that "fast", and also with the idea that one has to "do" it at all, as I have stated before. Splits are flexibility exercises, and in ballet they need to be taught and supervised by a teacher who will see that they are doing it at the right time (warmed up from barre or full class), and doing it correctly.

Share this post


Link to post
MamatoMary

Ms. Leigh - what do you recommend for those children who can easily do splits without feeling a stretch? My DD (age 10) has "had" her splits since about age 5 and can literally do them cold without any stretching whatsoever. Should she be doing something else to stretch those muscles, or just count herself blessed?

Share this post


Link to post
Victoria Leigh

Count herself blessed! However, she should be doing them for rotation, especially the "middle" one. Still better to do when warmed up, even though she has the flexibility.

Share this post


Link to post
MamatoMary

Thank you. That's good information to know. I guess we moms have to have something to worry about.

Share this post


Link to post
daisychain

Our home ballet school actually does require the splits after a certain age/skill level. The splits are an audition requirement for joining the student company, and they are also a requirement for moving up to an intermediate level class. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that if the student had all of the other skills, they might be allowed to join the higher level class anyway. But they are not allowed to join the company without them. Splits are emphasized in class, and the teacher makes a big deal when they finally get them, even handing out a reward.

 

I'm not suggesting that this is the way it should be. But if this practice is not isolated to our studio and is even somewhat common, it may explain why children without the splits seem so eager to achieve them. It's not uncommon for the moms in the waiting room to discuss whether or not their children have their splits. My dancing children happen to be super flexible, so it's never been an issue for them, but I know for other children at our studio, having trouble with splits has limited their opportunities. Sad, but true.

Share this post


Link to post
Clara 76

I will say this: due to the different lifestyles of recent generations, children are less flexible than they were years ago, when they were climbing monkey bars, going hiking, swimming, and biking in their after school activities. I am finding whole groups of children who lack basic flexibility, like simply reaching the floor with their hands while standing, or sitting in butterfly and rounding down, nose-to-toes, or sitting on the floor legs outstretched trying to reach the toes with the hands keeping the knees straight.

 

I wonder if some teachers aren't perhaps using "the splits" and a "requirement" might encourage children to stretch outside of class? I am not in that camp myself, though I do encourage my children to stay active when they are not in classes.

 

I think with all the sitting that occurs now, children's hamstrings are shortening or something :shrug:

Share this post


Link to post
Victoria Leigh

And I have to say this: Being able to do the splits does not make a good dancer. Using that as a requirement for the studio's company, is, IMO, ridiculous. I have seen a lot of really good dancers who did not "own" splits, and a lot of very flexible dancers who can "do" them, but not correctly. :wallbash:

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×