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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Strength -- how to get it?


msd

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Hi, all.

 

Okay, dd is almost 11, and she's one of those flexible kids who seems to have been born w/astounding turnout. She recently went through ballet exams (similar to RAD, I'm told), and received very good marks, so apparently her technique is okay for age. However, she's received input from two different, trusted sources that she needs to build up her strength. So here's my question -- what's the best way to build overall strength? Is using the theraband a good way to go? What about Pilates -- is that good for strength, or even recommended for a dancer this age? She recently auditioned for a ballet to be performed in September, The AD cast her in one role, and told her if she got stronger, she could do a second part. (That's a nice carrot for her.) She'll be attending a full-day summer seminar in a few weeks (with this AD); dd plans to ask her for specifics to build strength while there. But...input welcomed. How does one become a stronger dancer?

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Victoria Leigh

Two ways, at this age: Growing up, and dancing! Is she attending summer classes? This type of body takes longer to develop strength than those who are tighter and less flexible. However, it should develop naturally as long as she continues to dance. She needs to get beyond the growth spurts before she will develop her full strength though. In the meantime, the more active she is the stronger she will become.

 

I had that type of body too, and strength was the last thing to come, although my legs were always quite strong because I grew up in Florida and was always outdoors playing something or other, or riding a bike, or roller skating, swimming, etc.

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I have a question about strength also. I have heard teachers comment that a particular girl (a dancing friend of my dd) is very, very strong. What exactly are they seeing?

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Guest ddepoalo
Hi, all. 

 

Okay, dd is almost 11, and she's one of those flexible kids who seems to have been born w/astounding turnout.  She recently went through ballet exams (similar to RAD, I'm told), and received very good marks, so apparently her technique is okay for age.  However, she's received input from two different, trusted sources that she needs to build up her strength.  So here's my question -- what's the best way to build overall strength?  Is using the theraband a good way to go?  What about Pilates -- is that good for strength, or even recommended for a dancer this age?  She recently auditioned for a ballet to be performed in September,  The AD cast her in one role, and told her if she got stronger, she could do a second part.  (That's a nice carrot for her.)  She'll be attending a full-day summer seminar in a few weeks (with this AD); dd plans to ask her for specifics to build strength while there.  But...input welcomed.  How does one become a stronger dancer?

Hi :innocent:

 

My daughter is 11.5 and has the same issue of flexibility versus strength. In January, she began taking a one hour per week Pilates class and it has been wonderful for her. She is gaining strength and at the same time learning to control her muscles. Two instructors have told her to keep working at it, but to also be patient as some of the strength will come with age and, of course, dancing.

 

 

Donna

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Victoria Leigh

LadyR, what they are probably seeing is a child with well developed muscles and generally more strength than most of her age. She might or might not be muscular looking, as there are some very thin and long-muscled fine boned children who are also deceptively strong. OR, the teacher might have been talking about the child having a "strong" technique, meaning that she works very well for her age and training. Strong is generally a positive, unless it is used like "strong but not flexible" or something like that.

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I believe DD lacks somewhat in the strength area. She also is very flexible.

 

She took a one hour a week jazz class this year and they start their class with crunches and modified push ups, and she has been able to increase the number of push ups a little at a time. She's sure she sees a little bit of bicep showing and is very proud of it. :innocent: We just put a pool in the yard so maybe the swimming will help with strength/endurance.

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My dd also falls into this category. She just recently turned 13 and we are starting to see alittle bit of a change. She is developing more muscle mass, and she is getting stronger (slowly!!). She also just started pilates a few months ago and this new strength is probably a combination of both pilates and growth. DD is a very determined one and has been doing an exercise routine (given to her by a PT) 4 - 6 days a week (depending on the week) for about a year now. Maybe you could speak to your dd's AD and ask her what exercises she suggests for your daughter. My dd is very proud of the strength she is gaining and is taking full responsibility for this, and that in itself is amazing. But, the most important thing that we have FINALLY come to understand is that this is a VERY slow process and patience is definately a virtue. Good luck to you and your dd :innocent:

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dancingthrulife

My DD will be turning 11 at the end of the summer and also has the flexibility vs. strength issue. Because she is so flexible but lacking strength, her teacher put her in a pre-pointe class earlier to help her build up her strength. In addition, she will be starting Pilates this summer and continue it through the year.

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:jump: My DS at 14 is finally becoming stronger, but it takes time, as most people have posted here. His increase in strength is due to increased number of classes, conditionning classes and work with therabands (also uses them for flexibility). He has come home with a new muscular physique, but I attribute most of that to his intense dance schedule. Plus he seems to have stopped growing for now and has topped out at about 5'11". He still needs to work on his strength, especially for centre work but this year has been a definite "stronger year". He also took a few pointe classes on demi-pointe and found that class very good for his foot/leg strength. Killer class was how he put it!! Summer intensive will also provide more conditionning classes and his favourite class - partnering!!! As Ms Leigh stated, time and dancing will improve a dancer's overall strength. :blushing:
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