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Ballet Talk for Dancers

not giving 100%


ruth

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My DD is scheduled to see the doctor next month because she has terrible seasonal allergies, maybe I will see if I can get her in earlier and checked for mono. Are there other symptoms I should be watching for besides fatique?

 

Treefrog, the points you have made are the ones that struck closest to home. I sometimes get the impression that she continues with ballet because she has already put so much time and effort into dance, her closest friends dance and ballet has been such a major part of her life for so long, she might be afraid of what she would do with herself without it. She is a 14 year old girl though, and the way she feels changes on a daily if not sometimes hourly basis.

 

She does have the correct body type, turn out, and flexiblity. Although she struggles with turns. She is definitely no where near the 8 turns someone was posting about.

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Mono typically starts with swollen lymph nodes & a wicked sore throat. Sometimes, if the case is mild, it may just seem like a virus. After the sore throat, the fatigue remains & can last for months.

 

I had a very severe case of mono when I was young - was in bed for over 2 weeks and really did not get my strength back for almost a year. It's very important not to do any contact/jostling type of activities during the recovery of mono as it can cause the spleen to enlarge & possibly rupture.

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Of course, those seasonal allergies can sap a kid's strength, too ...

 

Ruth, if my words struck a chord, do let her know that it's okay if she doesn't make ballet an exclusive focus. Help her explore whether she'd like to cut back on the number of classes she takes. I would insist, however, that she give 100% to any class she does choose to attend (meaning, work 100% of the time in class and go to 100% of the classes -- barring unforeseen events like injury, illness, or huge history paper due tomorrow).

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DD is aware that we don't expect her to focus so intently on ballet. She has two younger siblings who don't dance and frankly it would make all of our lives easier if she would cut back a bit as they are not old enough to stay home alone.

 

She is unable to cut back on classes because her studio requires a certain level of classes if you are taking partnering. Partnering is by far her favorite.

 

I think we will get through this just fine. DD can usually take corrections quite well, she just doesn't agree with this one. I didn't either until it was repeated from a different source. We will talk to both her teacher and AD this weekend and find out exactly what's going on.

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ruth your daughter sounds perfectly normal to me - I loved your comment about your daughter being

a 14 year old girl though, and the way she feels changes on a daily if not sometimes hourly basis.
:grinning:
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Victoria Leigh

Ruth, no one is anywhere near those 8 pirouettes on pointe! That is a true rarity, and while I have seen it once before in a young dancer, it was a major exception, and definitely not the rule. You don't see that with the top professional dancers! I don't remember seeing anyone do this on pointe since Patricia Neary, who was a principal with NYCB back in the 60's. She was doing it at 13. Just a natural turner. They were not technically perfect pirouettes, but she was doing them. I saw 9 once. (It was a bit frustrating for the rest of us!) I understand her younger sister, Colleen Neary, could do the same thing, although I did not see her.

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twirly girly

Respectfully Ms. Leigh, I am 13 and I did do 8 pirouettes on pointe. I usually do about 5, I guess I was just having a good turning day. I am a natural turner I've been told, but I also work at it a lot. Turning is easy and fun for me. I know I need lots of work on other things and I do work very hard, but I have my turns down.

 

(Feel free to delete. I am a student. Just wanted to clarify.)

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Victoria Leigh

I was not doubting that you did it, twirly, just stating that it is VERY rare. You are obviously a very natural turner :D

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:( Sorry about the ot, but as you, dear Ms. Leigh, are not PM'able I thought I'd share this here!

 

I see Pat Neary still taking class on a regular basis...It is my understanding (although I could certainly be wrong) that she is now dancing on 2 hip replacements. She is still dancing on pointe too!

 

What an amazing woman, she looks fabulous and still moves beautifully- WOW!

 

It is no surprise seeing her now that she could do a zillion pirouettes in her younger days (she regularly is turning out doubles still!). Considering that she is long and lean (and therefore not posessed of the "body-type" usually associated with sooooo many pirouettes) she is even more amazing!

 

Although I have not seen Colleen take class and cannot comment about her current pointe work or pirouettes :ermm:, I have seen her teach on a fairly regular basis and can only tell you that she too is exquisite now and must have been an unbelievably beautiful dancer as well!

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pointetheway

Saying that a dancer is not giving 100% can be very upsetting if the dancer thinks they are already giving as much as they can. Sometimes when teachers say that a dancer is not giving 100% it is because the dancer does not really get what the teacher is looking for. Many teachers give corrections, like turn out more, with little instruction as to how to accomplish the correction. Perhaps your daughter feels that she is giving 100% but does not understand how to please the teacher. I would have her ask the teacher to be more specific and explain what she means by "only giving 80%." Also, it would be helpful if the teacher told her when she was giving 100% so that she would know what 100% means.

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Saying that a dancer is not giving 100% can be very upsetting if the dancer thinks they are already giving as much as they can. Sometimes when teachers say that a dancer is not giving 100% it is because the dancer does not really get what the teacher is looking for. Many teachers give corrections, like turn out more, with little instruction as to how to accomplish the correction. Perhaps your daughter feels that she is giving 100% but does not understand ...

 

Perhaps there can be a lack of communication between students and teachers. Much of teaching is about teaching students how to learn. Often times students do not hear what is actually being said by a teacher. Some students tend to be more involved in the "for the moment" type of understanding than comprehending that a teacher is generally teaching concepts about ballet that apply to many different circumstances. Teachers also have the responsibility to teach students how much deeper the students need to dig. Studying ballet has a lot more to do with deep soul searching than many students are mature enough to accept. This is where personality really plays a large role in how a student develops.

 

A correction such as "turnout more" most likely has been explained over and over again, either at the barre or in another exercise, but the student may not be ready to hear it and apply it in different circumstances.

 

IMO, when I do use this phrase, "you need to give 150%" I mean a student needs to dig deeply inside, to search beyond what is the most obvious. This is what Directors look for, this is what coaches are seeking, this is what sets one dancer apart from another! I do explain this many times but perhaps not every time. I am aware that some teachers do not explain as clearly as they might, but often times this is the way it is in life too. Indeed, if a student does not understand a teacher then of course a question should be asked and a teacher should generously answer however many students have expectations that a teacher should explain everything all the time which is not a reasonable way of teaching. Ballet students need to grow constantly, not stay in a rut!

 

As for telling a student when she/he is giving 100%, yes, it is a good thing to do, but eventually students needs to learn to objectively judge this themseves! The less dependent a student eventually is upon a teacher/coach the better the survival rate will be for the dancer. It is for the good of the student if they are brought up to leave a teacher. To be an independent thinking dancer who is secure with oneself. Dancers will always need teachers and coaches, but without self-assurance the survival rate will be short lived.

Edited by vrsfanatic
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pointetheway

vrsfanatic -I would like to know what you mean by give 150% and dig deep inside to search for what is beyond the obvious. Since you are a dance teacher and have more experience in the classroom than most, a more detailed explanation of that concept would be helpful to me and other parents.

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As a parent, a supervisor, and as a teacher in a setting other than dance, I have asked for 150% and meant that I wanted to see the student give more than they "thought" they could give. I think that as teachers/adults, we can see a student working hard--giving what they think is 100%. But we have the maturity/experience to see that what they are giving is only 80-90%. We have seen the 100%, or short glimpses of 100% from the student. So we ask for more. I , too, have asked for the "150%". I have also used the term "digging deep from within." And I have seen some students pull out something that I knew was there, but that the student didn't realize they could achieve at this level.

 

Some students can find "something hidden", something "more." And there are some who cannot. They just don't have any more to give. That is where a gifted teacher come in. They have to know when to pull, and know when to stop pulling. They have to know when it is that they are getting all they can get. I think is it the gifted student or gifted dancer than can work or pull harder than they thought they could to find more. And the gifted teacher can know when to pull, and when to stop. And especially to know how to reward the student for giving more than 100%, so that the student can continue to do so.

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