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Skill Level v Pain


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I was just wondering (and perhaps this is just logical) that as your ballet ability and skill level increases, so would the amount of discomfort suffered afterwards. I guess pain is the wrong word, but as I learn more and more difficult things and better my technique, the soreness factor seems also to have increased.


I've taken a lot of hot baths and had several massages lately after particular challenging classes....


Anyone else? Will this eventually level out?

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Guest dance4joy

I have noticed the same thing. And the only satisfactory answer I can come up with is that seeing improvement in my technique tends to motivate me to work harder. . .so the better I get the harder I want to work, thus I'm always asking my body to achieve slightly more than last time. . .thus continual soreness. I don't know that I would ever want that to go away completely because I probably wouldn't feel like I was accomplishing anything, but I figure eventually my body will be so strong and capable that the things I ask of it won't take such a Hurculean effort.

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My own experience is that the discomfort level stays about the same as I learn more, if I pace myself well :) (I've been only dancing for about 5 years, of which 3 ballet, so I can't say whether this would change later on...)


When I've been taking a certain amount of classes per week for a while, the amount of soreness decreases, which tells me I may take one class more, for instance, or change one class to a higher level. I've had problems with tendonitis and such, so I have to be pretty careful.


A rule of thumb that I found helpful was something my PT (who used to be a pro dancer) said; after a normal class it's fine to feel sore in the morning after, but you should be feeling pretty limber for the evening classes again. If you are feeling sore each evening before classes, you may well be overdoing things :ermm: The recovery time between classes is important, not just for one's own comfort but regarding the risk of overuse injuries.


- Sanna

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For me, discomfort is strongly impacted by the quality of my technique. I'm usually the most sore when I take a class that is so advanced that I overcompensate by doing such things as gripping my thighs and toes. That tells me that I am dancing a little too far outside my technique.


I like the rule of thumb that somone else suggested that you should feel pretty loose the next evening. Perhaps on those days it may just be better to do an adjunct activity like pilates.

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I haven't had daily class since college but I have found that with or without class I am going to have pain (I have fibromyalgia) so I'd rather take class and earn the pain than just have it for no apparent reason. The second day after a class can often be my worst for soreness. On the third I am feeling the need to go back for more.

I am not sure I am going to get over the after class soreness at this time in my life. In college with 3 to 5 classes a week it took about 3 or 4 weeks and then I didn't feel sore all the time any more. I have been going twice a week (somewhat inconsistently) since last spring and it isn't really getting easier yet. I wish there were three classes a week available....

I had one summer semester with 5 days/week of 2 one hour classes in a row. I don't think I ever felt particularly sore then as classes started at 8:30 AM. I wasn't awake enough long enough for it to kick in.

Now I get the most sore after relatively easy classes where I can focus my attention more on "everything" my body is doing than tryting to remember what is coming next when things are fast or complicated.



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I think whenever you are very serious about a physical pursuit and increase the intensity of your practice you experience a degree of muscle soreness or tiredness. I always think of that as a “good” kind of soreness as opposed to a “bad” soreness resulting from some type of injury. The good thing about this kind of soreness is that it usually disappears once you get warmed up and into your activity.


I can also say that as you get older, you experience more of this mild kind of soreness. Essentially, you wind up just ignoring it completely. I read a quote from Merce Cunningham saying that he now has to do exercises just to get out of bed in the morning. A humorous quip, but I am beginning to understand and empathize completely.


Until about 18 months ago, I went through about a 4 year period where my back hurt every single day. It was a nagging, mild pain that usually went away after warming up (usually for a minimum of 30 minutes), was nonexistent (90% of the time) in class, and returned within an hour after class. This pain seemed to have no cause and no treatment seemed to work either. I wound up ignoring it, assuming it was going to be a lifelong companion. Then it just stopped like magic. I had done nothing different when it stopped.

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