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Victoria Leigh

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I posted the following on the Parents' forum, but really think you all should read it too! :shrug:


Parents, as the beginning of school approaches and you and your dancers shop for school supplies I just want to bring up again the subject of the danger of backpacks.


Carrying books, lots of very heavy books and binders, on your back is just NOT something that young people should do, and ESPECIALLY not young dancers! I cannot stress this strongly enough. These packs are causing horrendous damage in the head, neck and upper back areas. Even if the child is not injured to the point of pain, just do me a favor and take a look at them as they walk with those things. Where is the head in relation to the top of the spine? Where are the shoulders? Watch these children walk down the street looking like a 90 year old hunchback. It is seriously frightening.


I have constant problems in ballet classes with heads protruding forward, and this is one of THE MOST difficult things to correct. It simply cannot be done as long as the child continues to do what is causing the problem in the first place.


The head is the heaviest part of the body, and when it is off-kilter then the whole structure is not aligned and balanced. Students wonder why they can't turn and balance, for instance. Well DUH! There is no balance pointe when the very top of the structure is not sitting on the top!


I really don't want discussion on this. We have been there and done that over and over. This is a PLEA to the parents to take action and get rid of these things.

Enough said. If you want a child with a strong, straight spine as an adult, not to mention a DANCER, then LOSE THE BACKPACKS!!! Subject closed.





For further information on the alternatives, please search under Backpacks. I have spelled it out so many times! There are a gazillion excuses about why these things have to be used. Isn't it totally amazing that some of us (of a certain age ) managed to survive all the way through school without ever using one of those things??? Seriously parents, it IS doable! They may not like it, but, they are not going to like it when they are hunchback at 20, or cannot have a career in dance because their head is not aligned and they can't stand up straight.





Here are two of the most relevant threads.











Ms. Leigh

Ballet Talk for Dancers Ballet Mistress

PLEASE address all Washington Ballet questions by email to vleigh@washingtonballet.org

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I'm suggesting VERY STRONGLY that you find a way, any way, to avoid carrying heavy backpacks. I don't care how you do it, just do it. Read the threads. There are all sorts of suggestions.

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Guest dancinabbs

Um, the links aren't working for me for the threads, and I really want to read them.


But anyways, I have an idea (I know you didn't want a conversation, but I do have an idea). This is what I'm going to do - my friend who is a grade above me that goes to the same school as me and was in the same classes is going to let me borrow some of the books that she had that she used (she got those books from various bookstores, ebay, other friends, etc.). I really think this would help because instead of carrying 7 books, I'll only carry like 1 or 2.Just an idea :green:

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Okay, thanks. The links are working now. I just fixed them :green:

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Guest probablydancin

I'm sorry to be asking this since there is no discussion but are the shoulder bags (messanger bags) damaging to your shoulders and head as well?


(OOPS :D never mind I just read that you can get scoliosis.)

Edited by probablydancin
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i thought the shoulder bags were worse than backpacks because they don't distribute the weight evenly. is that right?

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The big problem is that even backpacks become shoulder bags. The proper use of a backpack is to wear it with both arms through the risers and the chest strap fastened. But kids won't do that - it ain't KEWL! And even when worn properly, a backpack load should weigh no more that 15% of the wearer's total body weight!

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And if you weigh 100 pounds and carry 40 pounds of books........wellllllllll, YOU do the math! :rolleyes::angry::)

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Guest pique_arabesque

See, I would love to get rid of my backpack... but I can't. My school is too spread out for a locker to be of any use (our campus is composed of about ten buildings sprawled out across two blocks; lockers are in two of the buildings and there's not enough time to get to them between classes, and we can't go to our lockers at lunch - yeah, it's what we call NOT a smart idea). Rolling backpacks aren't feasible because a) people kick them when you're walking because we have crowded hallways, and :) we have lots and lots of stairs. Rolling backpacks do not work with stairs. lol. And as much as I would like to not carry as much stuff, I have to. I have to drag around binders for two or three classes (luckily I have dance every day, so I don't need a binder for that! And every other day I have tow dance classes), along with whatever textbooks I need and a regular book, and of course my planner, and everything else. There's nothing I can't carry.

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"Tow dance classes" ??? Could you explain that term please? Are you dancing and towing something at the same time? Dancing on a tow truck? In a car being towed? B)


Where there is a will, there is a way. As I said before, somehow or other many of us from a different generation managed to survive all the way through school without one of those awful things. Isn't that amazing? :)

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Note: There are other topics about backpacks, and a lot of various solutions are discussed. I did not link all of them. It's an easy search.

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At my school (which is very spread out) we leave our books for each class outside the classroom so that we don't have to carry them with us all day or worry about running to our locker. If we didn't do this, we all would be lugging around REALLY heavy bags all day. Our plan doesn't help much with getting them home as my school is a boarding school and we do a good portion of our work in the classroom building and only take the few things we need with us back to the dorm. Even if you have to carry a heavy bag home with you, at least you wouldn't be carrying it around with you all day,

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And if people are into kicking rolling luggage, just stud it with 2-inch-long hardened steel spikes. Goth is such an IN look these days.

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