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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Age, Physical Development and Training


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I think I can tack on here and not start a new thread.


DD, who is 13, asked me tonight when she can expect her body changes to be complete. She felt very off balance last year and wonderfully on balance and in control of her body since August. Lately her pirouettes feel off and balance in general is off again. I suggested it could be due to weight shifting, growth, etc.


I told DD that I thought the answer would be different for everyone, but body changes could occur all the way up to 18-ish. I personally notice a lot of girls filling out in their 15-year-old year. I would imagine it also has to do with the start of the menstrual cycle.


What do you think is the norm, not including the far ends of the spectrum. Is a ballet student plagued by balance issues due to shifting weight and growth through all of their teen years?

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It depends on the body type and rate of growth. The balance is usually only thrown off during a major growth spurt, or when the legs and feet grow before the body catches up. :D Most of them are relatively secure by 15 or 16.

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*knock knock*


"Relatively secure" are the operative words. I'm a dancer in my late 20s and there are plenty of "off" turning days. You learn how to make technical mistakes gracefully. My menstral cycle still affects my body. As does training alterations, chiropractic adjustments, injuries, diet, the weather, etc... Part of the training is learning how to tune into your body every day and work in a productive way, and make it look graceful, even if the body is not in 100% agreement. As a professional, you are often rehearsing/performing choreography that will change the way your body feels. The process of refining technique and learning should never end. Technical "corrections" and refinements can also throw seemingly unrelated areas out of whack for a bit. As can a new teacher. "Tuning in" to your body any given day instead of getting frustrated is a very important skill to learn now.

And it's very important to stay strong in the core muscles.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't wait to show this thread to my dd. The sobs coming from the back seat the other night as we drove home from the studio were agonizing to listen to, knowing that I knew the reason she was having an "off" day and couldn't find her balance, but not being able to tell her because I'm her "mom" and I couldn't possibly understand what she was going through. Thank you. :blink:

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Oh my goodness, my dd just had her first real bad class "cry" day today...leaving a class with thoughts of utter despair...she could not turn! She could not find her center. She had her flu immunization yesterday, and I feel certain that is why she is off today!


Lasted about 10 minutes, then real child emerged from the gloom. Any surprise that she is 14?

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  • 2 weeks later...

At 15, dd seems to be all long arms and legs at this point, and is still growing! Her dance teacher explained to us that the body mechanics change considerably at this point and this makes for a challenging time. We have learned from physical therapists about the different growth rates of ligaments and bones, the difficulty of maintaining muscle mass during growth, especially for dancers having a slight build, and the resulting vulnerability of joints, the importance of maintaining correct alignment, and keeping the core strong. It is a lot to think about for a young dancer and can be overwhelming at times, for sure!

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