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Ballet Talk for Dancers


Guest SophieSapphire

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Guest SophieSapphire

I've found I have trouble breathing after warm-up jumps and petit allegro. I don't have asthma, i did have a slight heart spaz for a little while but I had an echocardiogram (sp?) and the doctor said it wasn't anything. But after jumps I can't seem to catch my breath and my heart beats really fast. (last I checked, about 100- 145 beats per minute) Is this normal, or should I get a second checkup? Does anyone have any tips for catching my breath? Thanks!

Edited by SophieSapphire
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The first thing to do is to make sure that you're not holding your breath partially as you dance. Breathing is important! Make sure that you continue doing so! :D But seriously, a lot of kids partially hold their breaths when they do combinations. Not a good idea. You need all the oxygen you can get for the hard work you do. Make sure that you're taking full complete breaths.


In a performance of Sleeping Beauty I was dancing the Bluebird and my partner and I were waiting backstage for the mazurka finale, and Aurora finished her variation, did her bows, then came offstage right, where we were. She collapsed in the wing. As the stagehands rushed to help her, my partner looked at her, and said, "Heavens! A relapse!" :pinch: A savvy assistant stage manager had emergency oxygen at his station and clapped it on her. She recovered completely in the middle of the Three Ivans. Simple anoxia.


But if you determine that you're not doing this, then a second check, and perhaps a time with a cardiologist may be in order. Your family physician will know whether or not to refer you.

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Like what Mr. Johnson said- don't hold your breathe durring a combo. Sometimes I do, and I don't even realize it! :D My teacher says to always keep breathing durring combos- especially jumps because it gives oxygen to your muscles.


Hope this helps!

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Guest SophieSapphire

OK, i figured out that yes, I'm not really breathing. But i couldn't stop, or rather, start breathing!!! This is very frustrating, so does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

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What a dancer does in the way of ordinary breathing during a combination is called "diaphragmatic breathing", because it relies more on your diaphragm, a large muscle sort of shaped like a drumhead directly under your lungs. Normal people breathe not only with the diaphragm, but the chest muscles and the abdominals like the obliques, on your flanks. Vigorous activity will give you the heaving chest and bulging abdomen of the physically untrained. Diaphragmatic breathing for dancers is a lot like the breathing used by those who play musical wind instruments, or sing classically. Some people call it "back breathing", because the back seems to expand and contract much more than the chest!

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