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Ballet Talk for Dancers
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Amy Reusch

stiffness

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Amy Reusch

I wonder how many other adult students find themselves as I do, struggling against my lack of flexibility.

 

It seems sometimes that the harder I fight against it, the tighter my muscles get. I'm only in class one day a week (if that), and so I don't want to just sit back and take it easy... I feel I need to get everything I can out of an exercise... allowing myself to gradually strengthen by staying relaxed as I dance doesn't seem like it would work because I'm not there often enough to strengthen... and I'm so weak that if I don't throw myself 100% into it, I can't do the steps.

 

Any advice out there? (Please don't say "get to class more often", it isn't an option). Perhaps I should give up my current addiction to Ballet Alert and stretch instead. It's hard to have the discipline to stretch regularly during the day if one is no longer pursuing a dance career (it's now almost 20 years since I was in that kind of shape).

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Victoria Leigh

Amy, unfortunately there really is no answer to this that you don't already know. Ballet once a week just doesn't work. Your motivation for working out at home needs to be the difference you feel in the class each week when you get there. But don't give up Ballet Alert! :eek:

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Guest Shada

My last ballet class until recently was at age 16. I'm 21 now, and while I don't feel old, I have noticed a considerable loss of flexibility. I've been taking class twice a week (yes, I know, not quite enough) and stretching diligently every day for a few months now, about 20 min/day, and have gotten back about a third to half of what I had at 16. (Tenth of what I had at eight? LOL.) Slow process, although I'm surprised at how quickly I feel like I'm progressing, and the reward for me is better performance, less aches and more mobility, and "me time." Nobody bugs me while I'm stretching, and it's nice. No TV, phone gets turned off, just music. (Basheva would be proud. LOL.) I know it's difficult or maybe impossible to set aside the time, but so very worth it. Good luck, Amy! :)

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Guest ORZAK

Shada - it is worth it!! It not only gives you all the benefits that you mentioned - but also a feeling of accomplishment.

 

It is never too late to stretch. There have been studies done on people in senior centers and nursing homes. Even at that age, with all the physical problems that they have, they too benefit and find increased mobility. Basheva

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Amy Reusch
Originally posted by Shada:

and have gotten back about a third to half of what I had at 16.  (Tenth of what I had at eight?

 

Curiously, I was much more flexible at 16 than I was at 8. (Not sure why, perhaps I didn't stretch much when I was 8)

 

Nobody bugs me while I'm stretching, and it's nice.  No TV, phone gets turned off, just music.  (Basheva would be proud.  LOL.)  I know it's difficult or maybe impossible to set aside the time, but so very worth it.  Good luck, Amy!    :)

 

I wish I had a video of my attempt to warm up for class yesterday... My 2-year-old was with me and as I tried to stretch out on the floor, she decided I was her personal jungle gymn... Of course, her aim was to stop me and get me to pay attention to her (like I normally do), so I decided to try to press on in spite of the climbing and leaping upon, etc. All I can say is, Philobolus would have been proud ;) I'm inspired though, I think I'll try to stretch every day as she wakes up from nap... I've discovered leg lifts with a 31 lb. 2 year old sitting on them makes your abdominals work pretty hard. :P

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Cabriole
Originally posted by Amy Reusch:

I wonder how many other adult students find themselves as I do, struggling against my lack of flexibility.  

 

It seems sometimes that the harder I fight against it, the tighter my muscles get.

Amy I often recommend yoga (begin with hatha) for students who wish to increase their flexiblity. This will also help with breathing and releasing the tension of the 'struggle'. With a minimal dance background, even videos and books are beneficial for those who do not wish to take an actual yoga class.

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