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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hyperextended Back


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Thank you for your replies. I have had DD read this thread, especially your reply Ms. Leigh. DD will definetely work on it. Looking back through pictures when my daughter was younger...pre skating...she did not have this "sway", so I am assuming it is as Cabriole says. Many skaters do have that swayed back.

As far as schools without lockers: My dd's new school does not have lockers either but they still are required to bring to class big binders and other items that create a heavy backpack and no locker to put anything in. :thumbsup::D

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Victoria Leigh

Rolling backpacks exist. :D

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Dancesinhersleep: Lordosis is common in little kids, it gives them that pot belly look. Their back looks like a C. Sometimes kids slouch, too. By little kids, I mean under 10 or so. Look at a dance class with younger kids, you'll see what I mean.


In my dd's case, she had to (and still has to) work VERY hard on placement and alignment. Once she grew (and grew and grew and hopes it has stopped at 5'6") the lordosis pretty much corrected itself. It may be that certain body types just HAVE it. I've often wondered if it is associated with hyperextended knees.


Ms Leigh is so right on - correcting this is a 24/7 thing. I understand why "no backpacks" but what about those dance bags on 1 shoulder? DD's bag weights more than she does!

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I 'forced' my daughter to use a rolling backpack when she broke her collarbone this spring. I thought that was a rather reasonable request. :clover: She used it a total of two days and then flatly refused, explaining that she was getting made fun of in the halls, by complete strangers. Apparently, the rolling backpack is considered very 'nerdy' at her highschool. :blink:


For the remainder of the year, she carried her many binders and papers in her arms and left what she could in the classroom. Your doctor can write you a note with your daughter's diagnosis and ask that she have a second set of her textbooks available in the classroom. This means she will not need to tote them to and from school for homework or between classes. This worked great for mine during her injury recovery period, as her textbooks far outweighed and outnumbered her binders and notebooks. :dry:

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my lordosis is weird. I don't look like I have a pot belly, I look like I have a big donkey butt. :dry:


Some of the public schools here are very strict about backpacks. Not only do they not allow lockers, the students have to buy backpacks that are clear or mesh so that the teachers can see what is in them. My younger sister is very tiny and wound up in physical therapy for her back because of that.


Lol, when I was in high school (years ago) the rolling backpacks weren't nerdy, just hard to see in a narrow, crowded hall way, and some people weren't careful with where they pulled them. So often you'd see someone pulling a rolling backpack with a wake of people behind them.

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This one caught my eye---something to which I might actually be able to add:


Redstorm, you originally asked what would be helpful for your daughter to help correct a swayed back. Short Answer: Pilates reformer classes.


My DD had the same issue, first when she was a youngster. At that time, the dance teachers kept working with her and as she grew older, it was corrected by their constant attention to good ballet posture and no doubt her physical maturation. I remember watching her leap with a very pronounced "C" shape to her back. The AD was standing next to me and I commented on her back position. He told me not to worry, they would get it corrected in due time. That was three years ago and by the end of that particular summer, she was looking great. I would attribute that stage to the "toddler" phase of posture. Some just take longer to outgrow, like my DD.


Then the jazz teacher left and a new one came. The style jazz taught was much different than before. The new teacher focused on what I would call MTV dance, hip hop, etc. Much quicker movements, less technique-based, and a lot of "open rib" movements. My daughter's swayed back returned and became exaggerated (at least to me). I'd tell her that just because her back had that much movement in it did not mean that she had to use it all. I suggested that she learn to control it more. But . . . what did I know? I'm just-the-mom. It was way cooler to pop those ribs!


By the end of the first full year of that style jazz, I was concerned about the health of DD's back because she has a very flexible back. I was concerned that the swayed back and the popping of ribs motion would lead to a stress fracture. I talked to her ballet teacher who said that unless she was able to get her back posture corrected she would be left behind in ballet because she would not have the positioning or stability to do the progressive skills. Her teacher expressed a concern that DD may not be able to correct it. We then talked very seriously with DD about her back placement. DD learned that fixing her back posture was critical to her continued dream of a ballet career. And her teacher learned that DD was not deliberately ignoring her corrections (as teacher had begun to think), but that DD's muscle memory was thoroughly confused due to the jazz.


As a result, DD has been taking private reformer Pilates classes with a PT/Dancer for a full year. Her back placement is beautiful, her flexibility remains, her core strength has improved----and she dropped the jazz class after the first semester this past year. (Luckily a new teacher will be arriving who is very technique based and is also a primary ballet teacher. So back to a more classical, complimentary discipline).


DD, much to my aggravation, does not realize just how much the Pilates sessions have helped her. (Given the expense involved, I'd like it better if she understood its real value.) At one point this spring we were concerned that she might have a stress fracture in her back. It turned out to be a mere misalignment , which corrected itself when she was being positioned for an x-ray. But the pediatric spine specialist told her to continue with the Pilates and that without it she probably would have had much more problem during that time.


Because your DD's issues with her back sound much like my DD's, I would highly recommend Pilates reformer classes. She started with mat classes with this same PT/Dancer/Certified Instructor, but she didn't get much out of those. At her age (14) I think there was a bit of immaturity in not realizing how minute some of the adjustments on the mat are and that it is very easy to "cheat" on the mat exercises and not even realize you are doing so. That and the fact that she is sooooo flexible and stretched out that she seldom even feels a stretch in a mat class (or on the reformer). Her instructor is always looking to find a stretch that she actually feels.


Short Answer: Pilates, the traditional type (not power pilates or M3=Pilates, or whatever).

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  • 8 years later...

Bumping this thread...my DD (just turned 15) has a hyper extended back. She has justed started private Pilates classes on the reformer and has been given exercises to complete at home. She is taking two classes per week - but this has been due to her dance schedule and that of her Pilates instructor. He is a former professional ballet dancer so very much in demand. On a go forward basis is two classes per week enough? I was also wondering about something Ms. Leigh mentioned in another thread about the effectiveness of any exercises if the issue is structural. How is this diagnosed? Should we be seeing a doctor or sports therapist for an x-ray of her back?

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Victoria Leigh

What do her teachers and Pilates instructor say about it? Are they on the same page about it being something that can be corrected? Even some structural things can be corrected by getting the right muscles to work the right way and learning to align the body, place the weight correctly, and strengthen the muscles that will maintain that placement. Sometimes it's a matter of learning to work the right way, even if the problem is structural. I do think that I would want to know, however, exactly what is wrong if there is a structural problem. So yes, I think seeing an orthopedic spinal specialist would be a good idea.

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Thank you for your response Ms. Leigh. They do believe it can be corrected. I just want to make sure we completely understand what we are dealing with. I have a family doctor appointment coming up so I will speak to her about an appropriate referral.

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