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Guest dragonfly7

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Guest dragonfly7

Hi all,


I'm so glad I came across this site. I wonder though if it's still alive -- the last post was May 7. Or maybe everyone's somewhere else doing stretches, haha. I've been taking adult ballet classes for 8 months now and this artform has really opened itself up to me. Some people think I'm crazy for dancing so late (I'm 25) in life, but hey, they're not the ones who can feel the rush right after you land a solid single pirouette. And don't get me started on doubles...


My biggest obstacle right now is a pain that runs under my upper thigh. I cannot developpe higher than 30 degrees, I used to be able to go much higher than that. The only way I can describe it is like LIQUID FIRE pulsing through my veins when I attempt to bring my leg higher. It's very frustrating, I've had it for two months now. The pain shoots from the area under the back of my knee, up my inner thigh up to my groin area. This is worde in my left leg but is also in my right though to a lesser degree.


Because of this, I am not flexible the least bit and I look like a total klutz doing barre stretches.


Plus, I cannot do full splits yet, how do you deveop flexibility for this?


I am very patient with my body, I understand that I'm in for the long haul and my body will need time to develop muscle memory. I'd appreciate any suggestions though to make it less of a pain...I love ballet and I do want to improve, even slowly. I want to EARN good technique -- any suggestions?


Thank you to whomever and this board is great!

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Hi, dragonfly7, and welcome to the Adult Students' Forum at Ballet Talk here at Ballet Alert! Online!:)


It's hard to tell exactly what's ailing you, but you might try resting from class for a bit, applying cold, then hot compresses to the painful area, and using a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) like Aleve, Naproxen, or even plain old aspirin. This is just first aid for a condition that's been going on for awhile, and is well out of the acute stages, and may well be being re-injured by continuing to work on it. Now, take yourself to a doctor. There may be just a muscular injury, but some nerves may be involved as well. They are more complex to treat, and need a medical professional to get to the bottom of the situation and provide relief for you. Let us know how things move along with this condition - we care.:D


As for splits, they're not all that important in the whole world of ballet, but they are good for building flexibility. The only thing that works is time and repetition. Your injury may be compromising your ability to do a split.

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Hi, welcome to BA!:)


May I also suggest (once you have seen a doctor) pilates for better muscular control and flexibility. It helped me when I was getting over certain hurdles when I'd been doing ballet for a few years. It is hard work, but it is pretty rewarding when you start to realise what you should be doing and feeling, especially at the barre.

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Hey Dragonfly:


Like Kate and Mel I'd say go see a doctor. This could be anything from a low back injury that only shows up when you develope, to any number of muscle or nerve related problems. I live in Los Angeles and can recommend a physical therapist or a chiropractor if you wish. Another thing, if it's bothering you in class you should not be pushing it. If you can't develope, don't even try splits. One could be aggravating the other.


Where do you take class?



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Guest dragonfly7

Thanks all for getting back to me. I appreciate all the input.


Mel and Kate -- about the suggestion to rest, I think this is a good time to do so, my instructor just left for a two-week vacation. Way before she left, I was already planning my weeks around alternative classes to take, just so I have the chance to practice. As she said, "Rest to a dancer is a four-letter word." (haha). But maybe I an take this time to rest the injured leg. What can I do instead? Maybe get into Pilates for the meantime? I don't want to lay off completely.


And all of you mentioned DOCTORS, which sort of scared me. I hope it isn't a serious condition.


Ed, I take classes twice a week at Gypsy Camp at National and Motor (West LA). Maybe if the rest doesn't do my muscles any good, I'll go see your docs/chiros -- who do you recommend?


Thanks everyone! :D

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Sorry, didn't mean to worry you.:)


I think the reason we've mentioned the doctor is because we're not medical professionals or experts and therefore can't make an absolute judgement on what you should do (especially without seeing you), and suggest a trip to the doctor's to rule out anything serious before we can suggest other stuff. I hope this is the right thing to say on the matter.:)

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Exactly so; pain is also a four-letter word, and doesn't have to be tolerated. Ballet shouldn't hurt! It can feel stretchy, or strenuous, or like just plain hard work, but pain is a sign of trouble, and you don't have to suffer in silence. I have my suspicions as to what might be wrong, but I'm not a doctor, and I can't even see you! Besides which, I can't prescribe medications or referrals for you to a physical therapist or other specialist. The ailment may be simple or complex in its resolution, but it will take a physician to figure out what exactly the situation is.

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The chiropractor is Dr. Jonathan Wilson. He's on the corner of Highland and Wilshire. I've referred many dancers to him and they all love him.

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Guest dragonfly7

Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. I have not been to class for almost a week now and the pain has definitely lessened to the point of being not noticeable at all. I'll rest it some more in the meantime.


Ed, do you recommend any teachers/classes near west LA?


Thanks again!



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Guest dragonfly7

And I appreciate everyone's caution in giving medical advice on this board. It makes sense to be careful about diagnoses/suggesting treatments, especially to people whose bodies are their tools. Thanks again.


On hindsight, I remember the pain coming back when we do our slides down the barre during stretches, and also when we do barre stretches where we have someone slowly lift the working leg to its maximum height.


I read somewhere here that barre slides aren't recommended -- if they are a part of my present class, how do I explain this to my teacher who's been teaching for longer than I've been dancing?

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AHA! The dreaded slide down the barre! The reason that causes injury, particularly to hyperextended legs, is that it forces the knees back into a fully-locked position, then puts weight on them laterally, which that joint wasn't designed to take! How you tell your teacher is up to you, but while I did them a bit in the 60s, we've learned a good deal since then, and I don't give them to THIS generation of students.

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Could you just say to your teacher that you're not comfortable with it at the moment and could she suggest something else you could do when the other people do the slide down the barre? If you can't do the splits fully yet (and hey, who can? I've been at it 7 years now and still can't!;) ) you could just say you want to increase your flexibility more gently through pilates or yoga or something? That way it might not seem that you're criticising her class, just that that one stretch is not right for you. Teachers who teach adults often offer alternative things for people with certain physical difficulties e.g. people in my class don't have to do grand plies if they have bad knees.:cool:

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Any teacher of adults, even if you're only a spry young 25, should recognize we have limits to our abilities and cannot do certain exercises. Your teacher should understand if you don't do the barre slides.


As for classes on the Westside, I really like Charolette Richards at Zeal in Culver City.

Zeal Studios Schedule


She has two levels, one pretty basic beginner class and one that's a pretty solid intermediate level (though I will warn you about her petit allegro in the upper level class -- can be a killer). She's not great on individual corrections but if you listen to her give corrections to the class they are usually right on target. When I take her class regularly I find my balance and strength improve dramatically.


I'm not a fan of Westside since they raised their prices to a shocking $20.00 for a single class. Thats just evil.

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Guest grace

2leftfeet - i'm curious to ask: if $40 is a high price for a single one-off class, what is a NORMAL class fee in your area (in LA)? i too am reeling at that - which would be 40 australian dollars - that's 4 times what would be average here. no-one would pay that much except for a private lesson with someone very skillful.

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Trust me, I let the manager of that studio have an ear full over their rate structure. They had the audacity to tell me they raised the single class fee to $20 to force people to buy coupons of multiple classes. This studio also has a strict policy, if you don't use your coupons within a month you loose them. Ergo, why I was buying singles. This felt very punititve toward adult students. I did not take class that day and have never been back since.


Everyone else around town charges between $9 and $12.00 per class. Even in New York you have to look pretty hard to find a class that costs $20.00.

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