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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Desperate and determined


Guest dancerfrm925

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Guest dancerfrm925

I am a new dancer and am trying very hard to keep up with the girls in my advanced classes, but I need suggestions on how to strengthen my akles for pointe. Even though I have only been dancing about a year, my teacher considers me one of her most advanced students and wants me on pointe as soon as possible but wont let me until she see's my ankle strength improve, if you have any suggestions for me I would really appreciate it. B)

 

 

 

 

Thanx,

dancerfrm925 :)

Edited by dancerfrm925
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Hi, dancerfrm925, and welcome to the Young Dancers' forums here at Ballet Talk at Ballet Alert! Online! :unsure:

 

Before we set out to answer this question, what is your present class load like? In other words, how many classes do you take and what is their schedule? What previous physical history do you have that may have prompted your teacher to put you on pointe so quickly? This could help us formulate an answer.

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Guest dancerfrm925

Daer Mr. Johnson,

 

My scheduel currently is two hours of advanced ballet on monday, one hour of ballet on tuesday followed by two jazz classes and my solo for a half an hour, two hours of advanced ballet on wednessday, two and a half hours of jazz on thursday, and lastly two hours of rehersals on saturday. I dont really have any physical histotry that prompted my teacher to want to put me on pointe so soon, but I am one of her best dancers. She considers me VERY advanced for only dancing for one year. She wants me on pointe so I can expand my dancing, and learn more. I want myself on pointe beacause when I grow up I plan on dancing in a company and they most likely want their women on pointe. I am very determined, commited, and passionate about my dancing. I have gone to Lake Tahoe, NV, with my competition team for a week and taken intensive leassons with the former director of the oakland ballet, and he could not beleive that I had only been taking ballet for only about eight months, he said that I looked like I had been doing it for years. Thank you so much for trying to help me with my issue.

 

Much love and thanks,

dancerfrm925 :unsure:

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Dear 925 (I feel like we're old friends, so I'm giving you a nickname)

 

Two things present themselves as troubling here: First, while the classload you have would support a move to pointe, you haven't been dancing long enough to have built the necessary strength and technique - that takes about two or three years, minimum, even for a natural. In 40 years of dancing, I've only seen two exceptions to this, and neither girl went on to dance professionally.

 

Second, you're in a school where competitions are the driving force. It would be much better for you if you found a school where performance is only an occasional thing to demonstrate the accomplishment over a long period of time. Serious schools only do a yearly performance at the end of the school year, or sometimes only every other year. Some schools don't do them at all. These conditions are, of course, different from a Summer Intensive, where a performance at the end of term is useful to show the students how a ballet is mounted, professionally, and also to demonstrate to the parents and other interested onlookers what "this year's crop" looks like.

 

On the whole, I would suggest that you get to a school which is more oriented toward producing professional ballet dancers. You may have to give up on starting pointe for awhile, but that's a lot better than having orthopedic problems from trying to do something that your body is simply not ready to do yet. It's hard to make a break like this, but I guess this is the kind of "tough love" that ballet requires.

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Guest dancerfrm925

Dear Mr. Johnson,

 

First of all I would like to thank you for such quick replies to my question. So, are you suggesting that I go to a more structured school, like I should focus more on class and technique than my competitions and such? I am very dedicated to my dance career and will do anything it takes to make it. I have already in one year sacraficed manny, manny social events and such for my dance. I have tried going to another school dance school near my other one, it focused stricktly on classical ballet, I was fine with the dancing, I just felt intimidated when the teacher corrected me and all the other girls would look at me like " dosent she know what she's doing" or "why is she even here"? Do you think that it would be ok if I stayed at my dance school and also take class at the other? Thank you for taking your time to help me. :angry:

 

 

Thanx,

925 :wink:

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That would be all right as a transitional thing, taking at both schools, but it would be best if you ended up in a classically-based school, as you will improve far more rapidly there. You might have to put up with being "the outsider" for awhile, but as you become better known to the students at the other school, or another classically-based one, you'll lose that identity fast.

 

A friend of mine is a retired US Marine Gunnery Sergeant. He drives school buses for supplementary income sometimes. I asked him, "Who's meaner, Marines or teenage girls?" He didn't even have to think, "It's the girls, man. They got no mercy. Marines have at least humanity!" :angry:

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Guest dancerfrm925

Dear Mr. Johnson,

 

Thank you again for your help. Do you have any suggestions for special exercises that would help my ankle strength? Would wearing ankle weights be a bad thing for my ankles? Do you have anysuggestions on how to improve flexibillity as well?

 

Thanx,

925 :o

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Ankle weights don't actually do anything for the ankles. They work the upper legs, and can produce the dreaded "thunder thighs" in dancers - best to leave them alone. Better to use therabands or other resistive exercise products to build both strength AND flexibility.

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  • Administrators

925, you might want to scroll through all the topics on YD, as there are LOTS and LOTS of topics about flexibility! There is also a YD FAQ called Stretches and Exercises which might be helpful. :o

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