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Ballet Talk for Dancers


Guest jane

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THis may sound silly, but is stretching supposed to hurt? My teacher told us that we need to work on our flexibility. When I have been practising and am warm I am supposed to sit on the flor and hug my knees. Then I slide them down to the floor straight in frnt of me and hold onto my toes. This is when it hurts down te backs of my knees. I knw stretching isnt supposed too be easy but the feeling doesnt wear off when I hold the position. Is there something I am doing wrong?

thanks for your help



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Guest BattementCloche

I'm not an expert or anything, but in my experience, stretching rarely is comfortable! It is supposed to hurt a bit, but if it's REALLY painful, then you're either doing something wrong or pushing yourself too far. And, no matter how long you hold it for, the pain rarely goes away, if you’re doing it right. You’re supposed to hold the stretch at least 20 seconds – less than that, and you don’t get anywhere.

A tip - when stretching, go to where you can, take deep breaths in then let it out slowly, and go down a tiny bit farther with every 'out' breath. It really helps!

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  • Administrators

Jane, if doing that stretch that way hurts, I might suggest doing it just slightly differently until your hamstrings get more stretched out. It sounds like they are tight, and you might need to begin this stretch a bit more gently. Try sitting on the floor and putting your legs straight out in front of you, then just bend forward as far as you can go. Hold a few counts, come up, and do again. When that feels relatively easy, THEN do it with the feet flexed, which makes the stretch harder. You can also get a theraband and there are stretches you can do with that which work the feet and the legs too!

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Theraband, or Resistabands, are long pieces of rubbery stretchy stuff that you use to create resistance for stretching. They can be found at Physical Therapy places. Gaynor Minden sells a package of them in different strengths with a little booklet showing you how to use them. www.dancer.com I think they might also be available at some dancewear places.

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Guest thumpinhippo

I take lessons outside of school hours so i'm not a full time ballerina like many of the people on these boards but i find that sometimes i hurt my hamstring and then i can't get my legs up without pain. I think i must pull them or something. Sometimes it doesn't go away until the holidays where i do no ballet for about two weeks. Is there anything i could do to make them recover more quickly - especially with an exam looming?

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I'm afraid not.:D


You heal at the rate you heal, and that's all you can do. You can help healing by using RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) during the acute phase (the first 72 hours) of an injury, but once injured, except for a couple days one way or the other, the only thing that's going to fix it is rest. During the recovery phase, you may find that contrast applications, alternating cold and hot applications one immediately after the other, may be helpful. I think you need to talk to your teacher and find out why you are injuring yourself in the first place.

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speaking of not being a full time ballerina person- I am in the same position


question to the teachers: is there anything we can do to catch up with the lucky girls who attend a full time ballet school?

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I think that the great majority of our teen posters are not full-time students in academy environments; that is, where they study both ballet and academics in the same school and are either residential or nearly so. Most appear to be studying after school hours, or using a home-schooling curriculum. Many are able to take at least one class per day after school and some many more than that. It's a real challenge to get maximum class time into an after-school schedule, but it can be done. And the training in these classes should be of the very highest quality!

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I am in a slightly odd situation. I started doing ballet once a week quite far from home, so I definitely couldnt do it for more than once a week there. I think what I do is RAD.


But once a week wasnt enough for me so I have enrolled in checcetti (sorry about the spelling) very near where I live. I did checcetti when I was younger.


Do you think that doing these two different types of ballet will be a problem? If I can I would like to take a class everyday, and will enquire with my local teacher as to whether this is possible with her and how much this would cost. Alternitively I could enquire into the West Berkshire Ballet School (they have a website) that seems to do more than 1 class a week, and also looks fairly prestigious. This would not be very far away. But I would hate to offend either of my 2 teachers.


I suppose Ideally I should carry on with RAD 1 time per week and do the checcetti I do now more than once a week.


Anyway, getting to the point, a) will doing to different branches of ballet be a disadvantage in anyway, and :) if I couldnt do everyday training with my class would it be very expensive if I did it privately with her as I think I would be the only one doing this.

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  • Administrators

Last question first. Yes, It would be very expensive to study privately.


The question as to doing two methods, it is generally not recommended. I would find the very best school that you can get to on a daily basis and stay with it, if the school is professional and high quality in terms of technique and the dancers they have produced. Schools which do not have daily classes on an advanced level will not be producing dancers, therefore it is kind of important to find a more professional type school.


If there is no school like this, then you will probably have to do more than one school. It is possible to do both Cecchetti and RAD, and if that is what is available, then do it. But the first choice would be one school, although ONLY if it is a really good school. In the long run, the teaching is the most important thing, and the quality of the teachers matters more than the method. There are wonderful RAD teachers and not so wonderful, and that will apply to any system. Finding the BEST teachers is crucial. Look at the advanced students in the school. They should be at a very close to professional level.

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