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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Line

Pilates/Conditioning

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Line

At what point does Pilates or core strength training become essential? Do dancers lose ground if they don't continue with it?

 

My 12 year old has had a successful year. She is in a school where she can do academics in the mornings and in the afternoon she has ballet classes. She's received distinction in her RAD grade 4 exam and honours in Cecchetti grade 4.

 

When she was 11 years old she was in an intensive ballet program as well as involved in rhythmic gymnastics at a provincial level. This year she has not been involved in rhythmic gymnastics but she has taken acro (not at her ballet school but at a different studio) to help maintain her strength. This was not a performing acro group but more of a stretch and strength class, exercises borrowed from Pilates were used in the class.

 

She was a very willowy thin girl and this strength training that she has received in the last 2 years has really benefitted her. I feel that it is an additional tool that she can apply to her ballet training. The only problem is we want to most wisely use our resources when paying for training. We have two other children and this DD has many training years still to go. She has nice strong developpes and a nice arabesque. Can she maintain and build on this without a lot of core strength training on the side? It seems that most company affiliated schools have a conditioning class built into their programs.

 

I suppose what I'm really asking is would two sessions of 8 week Pilates/yoga spaced over the year be enough to keep her in top shape.

 

 

 

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WWLGD

I'm also interested in this topic and hope someone can offer some information or advice. And if I've overlooked a previous thread, I apologize. I came to the board looking for this topic and saw a recent post so thought I'd jump on it as well.

 

Like Line, my DD is also 12 (12.5). At the SI that she attended this summer she had the benefit of an hour-long "Core" class 5 days a week, plus another "Stretch" class a few days a week. In just a few weeks' time she gained strength and flexibility.

 

She used to attend a pre pro school affiliated with a major company but left for a smaller studio closer to home about a year ago. If she still attended that school then I believe that this is the year that pilates would be incorporated into the schedule or at least made available to the dancers. I found a local pilates studio owner who is willing to offer half-hour sessions to DD for a reduced rate but I'm just not sure if once a week on the reformer is helpful or even needed at this age. Even at the reduced rate it adds up very quickly, and our budget is a bit tight. She remembers what she did in the SI's core class and could replicate that but doing it on her own gets a bit boring, according to DD. :wink:

 

At what age is pilates or some type of structured core conditioning training advised?

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Picturesinthefirelight

D

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summer03

Line, wondering what you ended up doing? I am looking at pilates classes in our area, and my only option is private lessons. Even once a week it is going to add up fast, and I'm not sure the results would be worth it.

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Line

My daughter is 13 now. In my city we are lucky to have a few options for conditioning. This year she is taking platform/springboard diving instead of Pilates. It is helpful because of the dry land conditioning, about 1 hour of jump rope, stairs, stretching, core strength exercises, they then have 1/2 hour of diving exercises into the pool. It's fun, it's conditioning, and the cost is less.

 

Next year I will pay for the private Pilates. I have found it difficult to find conditioning for my tween as she is too advanced for children's classes (such as recreational gymnastics, kids yoga, etc.) and not yet mature enough for adult Pilates or an adult conditioning class. Privates Pilates would add up so quickly. The diving is working out for this year.

Edited by Line

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AngelaK

My DD has been able to take a weekly Pilates class for the last few months and it has been very helpful. I was surprised at how much her flexibility has improved. It is one more expense but DD gave up purchasing this years new style of school warm-ups to help pay for it. The Pilates classes are one thing I have felt really good about this year.

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natashabrown

The benefits are obvious, and I would say, essential to any serious dancer.

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HosannaCat

I use to teach pilates and stay current with certifications. I give m D's, 10, basic fundamental floor exercises, starting last year. This year, he started on the reformer, but I have modified the exercises. I recommend finding a really good instructor who has a background with pediatric oriented training as well.

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HosannaCat

Forgot to mention, if you find a great Gyrotonic teacher for adolescents or kids in area, I recommend looking into Gyrotonic conditioning.

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AdagioMom

Our company affiliated school would like the kids to begin Pilates at around age 13/14. My daughter is fairly strong, so I was hesitant to pay for the pilates if she didn't need them. But she noticed a big difference in her already strong body, and in addition, she is able to work on certain areas she's trying to improve on. This is the reformer pilates, and it is attached to our school, so they are also ballet professionals-- I'm not sure if this makes a difference in the small details of working on things. I know generally Pilates is great for core strength and had an older daughter take it for a year to improve that area (those Pilates sessions were also with a private instructor who was a former ballerina).

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tldx

(This is aged, but I'm going to chime in anyway.)

 

I think that it becomes important when they need to work on the areas that Pilates benefits. Pilates was first recommended for my DD last year, when she was 10, because she was struggling to properly engage her core, and her balance was suffering for it. We tried a few private tower lessons at a Pilates center that is part of a local university's dance program, and the results were immediate. (The tower sessions is what was recommended by the staff at the center, who all have dance backgrounds.) DD was supposed to join a mat class this past Winter, but for various reasons, was not able to. I have to admit that I have seen her back slide since stopping the Pilates, and she has as well, so she is all over me to sign her up for the Summer.

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Beezus21

Would one session a week on a reformer be adequate? Or, are more sessions needed for a better outcome? Hard to balance with the ballet schedule, the school schedule, and the cost!!

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tldx

Schedule and cost - I am right there with you. What I like about Pilates, especially Mat Pilates, is that you take a class every week or twice a month, whatever, and you have a routine that you can do at home as often as needed (like yoga). Obviously, most people don't have a Reformer or Tower at home though. For my DD, it'll have to be once a week for now, at most, but she only had three sessions over a period of about six weeks before and saw a difference.

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AdagioMom

Once a week is the norm at our ballet school.

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Beezus21

Thank you!

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