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Ballet Talk for Dancers
BKsmom

Poked out stomach?

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BKsmom

Hmm we have a few Pilates studios here and I know her studio also offers Pilates for older students so I may ask her studio. 

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dancemaven

Members, please remember that we do not permit links to blogs. 

Pilates, like ballet, really needs to be taught “hands-on”—-especially when first learning and/or being a child.  The nuanced muscle use is what is beneficial.  It is often difficult to know whether one is using or isolating the precise working muscle in order to achieve the purpose of the exercise.  It is very, very easy to “cheat” without even knowing it and miss the entire point of the exercise. After 20 years of working with the same (excellent) teachers religiously, I’m still finding areas in which I have been cheating without knowing it!    *sigh*

It is also important to research the credentials of the individual Pilates teachers.  There are a number of “schools” these days.  I would suggest dancers stick to the more closely original aligned training such as Stotts Pilates.  There is one (IMX=Pilates) that is more fitness based and does not focus to the same degree on proper alignment, etc.  It is more strength and repetition rather than working on the nuanced strengthening of the core and small muscles that are so important.  The Stotts (and similar) take about two years to get certified; the IMX=Pilates, a matter of weeks. 

I would also caution that while young children have been in our classes, the younger they are, the less focus, understanding, and attention they have for the exercises.  Even the young teens miss the point a good portion of the time.

So I would recommend working with the ballet teacher and trying to find a Pilates teacher who really does work with children—if such a one exists.

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mom2

Fletcher Pilates is another one, though not as commonly found as Stott.  There is a former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada who has a Fletcher business in Toronto, and she is also the Pilates coach for the company.  The training for both Stott and Fletcher is quite rigorous.

Back when my dd was in her training years,  she was discouraged from taking Pilates prior to age 12 or 13.  Around that time we would do some privates - I agree with dancemaven that the nuances are quite important, and I would think difficult for a young person to absorb if in a class - especially if it's a class of mostly adults.

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Eligus

Thank you both for sharing this information.  Moderators... is there anyway this sort of background knowledge on Pilates schools and methods can be "moved" to it's own topic?  I -- personally -- think it's vitally important, but I'm not sure anyone will find it buried in this topic....?

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DanceDaddy

Mom2,

okay, but what can we do with our younger dances 9-12 to get them in shape for pointe? I know nothing, but don't you need a strong core?

sure, I see some Kids Yoga, but those are younger kids.  I'm thinking of the "tween" years.

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dancemaven

That’s what their ballet training and teachers are for.  :wink::thumbsup:

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Bavalay

...Hi DanceDaddy.. Yea this is one of many instances in which (like dancemaven alludes to) the answer to what parents can do to get kid point ready is "nothing" aside from having kid to class on time, prepared to dance, good nutrition, and rested.  Years of consistent training from expert teachers is what is needed to develop those tiny muscles in feet, turn out, flexibility and strength.  Even at that there is no guarantee that come 12 years old (mixing in hormones of puberty to boot) the development and facility will be there to successfully dance en pointe.  My DD12 just started point Feb/March--one teacher said she wouldn't be a ballerina (at 9 years old!).  Same teacher a year later was shocked to see her development and changed her prediction to yes, it is possible.  The best part is her core strength is excellent and improves weekly from just ballet; and she claims that pointe does not hurt(?--I suspect muscle development, slight frame, and foot structure help this; oh and not rushing to it too soon).  Only time will tell the story.  In the meantime, enjoy the journey regardless of where it takes your DK😎

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classicmom

DanceDaddy,

I agree that good, consistent training is the best preparation for pointe.  

Apart from that, I highly recommend Lisa Howell's book, The Perfect Pointe Book. If you google it you will find her website. The online e-book comes with videos that demonstrate all of the exercises. They are gentle and safe. My dd used many of them starting at age 10.

However, I would only do such a program with a dancer who is motivated and wanting the extra work.  

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JKK

To clarify my previous posts, DD worked privately with a certified Pilates instructor for the sole purpose of addressing her posture issues, and until the instructor felt comfortable that DD could perform a home based program prescribed by the instructor.  

We are fortunate that we live near a city with a big ballet company.  That company is affiliated with a sports medicine practice that specializes in dance medicine.  Our Pilates coach worked/works in that dance medicine program. I am unaware of the type of credentialing, but the program is very well known and serves medical rehabilitation clients as well as providing preventive care.  

The private instruction was very expensive but we considered the cost well worth it not just for ballet, but also for proper overall health.   Further, DD was quite young, but the Pilates instructor did not seem concerned about her age and did express relief that we were so committed to addressing DD’s posture issues.  In any event, like every thing, individual facts and circumstances will vary and while there are almost always exceptions to most rules, there are darn few of them :wink:

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DanceDaddy

Thanks all. Sorry didn't mean to change the topic. I can say that I'm hoping that the dance conditioning class at our studio doesn't conflict with a ballet class, so my daughter can take it.

I can also say that I have reached out to a local pilates studio, where several former dancers teach to see what is available.

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Bavalay

....thank you for the resource DanceDaddy.  Part of my DD "pre point class" ( it's called that but students spent the first half of year focused on point work exercises that then need to be done daily at home as well, special point shoe fitting and purchase day, learning how to sew own point shoes, foot and nail care, injury prevention and so on; followed by the remainder of the year dancing en point for 1 HR 15 min class--yes real pointe shoes not pre pointe shoes).  The class is very strict in what students can and cannot do outside the watchful eye of ballet teacher.  DD watches YouTube videos and points out what is and is not allowed in this stage of training at her ballet school.  This summer she will be receiving training at another facility that will have their own (and I suspect different rules as the style is not the same as current studio) expectations.  For my tiny dancer and I suspect those that are reading these posts, motivated--YES; bring on extra work--YES; goals with places to go and things to do....dance, dance, dance!

oops sorry for my typo--this should be a thank you to classics mom

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