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Will it harm my child to try "big girl" moves?


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Hello, all! I'm the mother of an eight-year-old who's in love with ballet. She spends hours almost every day dancing around the house. She's performing in The Nutcracker currently (she's a Little Mouse). She has memorized most of the roles from watching the older girls very intently, and she dances them all herself here at home.


What I worry about is whether she will get into bad habits this way. She does pirourettes all over the place and tells me that it's OK because she's spotting. No one has ever taught her to do a pirouette, and she has only rudimentary knowledge of how to spot. I'm afraid she will teach herself incorrectly and then not be able to learn the correct way later (she isn't scheduled to learn pirourettes for another two years). She also dances demi-pointe most of the time when she dances by herself, sometimes for long periods. Will this harm her feet?


She takes 3-1/2 hours of ballet per week and one hour of tap. She seems to be doing very well in class, and she has a beautiful ballet body (long limbs, very graceful, lovely arched feet). How can I get her additional help without being a pushy mom at the studio?


I'm looking forward to seeing any replies! Thank you!

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Actually LittleSugarPlum97, your daughter sounds like every budding ballerina. Dancing all over creation is a definite sign of having caught the bug! :bouncing: I would not worry too much, but make sure she watches out for the furniture that might be obstructing her stage space. :o

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Probably won't hurt anything. Let her dance until she crashes into the dining room table. That generally curtails the activity.

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Guest Vicarmac

All the years my daughter did nutcracker, backstage in the kid area the kids that were done for the show or that didn't have to dress for their part yet would often be practicing the other roles as the music played. Example party kids would spend the second act with other kids or even some by themselves doing the numbers being done on stage. Very normal, yours brings back memories of my daughters younger years.

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It's amazing to see what kids pick up just by watching. My son, NOT a dancer, has gone through 8 years of Nutcracker with his sister, working backstage. We cracked up the other day looking across the stage at where he was holding a prop to bring on, to see him do a very passable Mirliton as the music played. DD's dance teacher's 3 year old, who watches many classes and practices, does a really good white swan variation, complete with hands and expression. When that kid reaches competition age, she will be a force!

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You are lucky she is doing this at home. At that age, my son used to dance in the mall, in the aisles of grocery stores, on the soccer field, and anywhere else he could. Now he tries to confine himself to actual studio spaces.

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DD danced everywhere from the time she could stand on her own two feet. As a toddler she spent most of the time on demi pointe. We thought it was so cute, until at seven her ballet teacher noticed her shallow demi plie.The same teacher advised us not to put our child into Highland dance or Ukrainian dance because of the amount of work done on demi pointe and her already shallow demi plie. At sixteen DD still struggles to overcome the limitations caused by having short achilles tendons. We learned a little late just how important it is to encourage children to put their heels down.


You might want to talk to your daughters ballet teacher to make sure that all the demi pointe is not causing her any problems.


DD is still dancing through life, mostly in the studio, but on occasion she can be caught dancing in the living room, in parking lots, in the shopping mall and in the tiny kitchen. We have all learned to watch out for those long legs!

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I don't want to rain on the parade, but I was in a similar situation about 2 years ago, with a 7-year-old who was trying to teach herself advanced ballet steps, and I must tell you that it DID lead to some bad habits. At 9 years old, her technique is a little off. For example, she doesn't use her head or arms correctly when doing pirouettes or pique turns. Sometimes it seems like her lower body belongs to a different (older) dancer, while her upper body is still 9! Also, teachers don't know quite what to do with her, as she is advanced in some ways, but still a little girl; they expect her to be more mature than she is. I don't know that all of these problems were caused by dancing at home; some could be a result of other factors. In any case, I don't think you can or should prevent your daughter from impromtu dancing! Sometimes they just have to dance! I think that it is very beneficial to their development as artists; learning to move to music and choreograph while they are still uninhibitted. As your daughter gets older, she will learn more steps which she can then add to her repertoire, then she may not feel the need to do things she has not yet learned. Also, if there is a ballet teacher your daughter gets along well with, perhaps she can give her some private lessons. Good luck. :)

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If the child is merely 'dancing about doing choreography', it should be helpful!


If however, the child is in a 'classroom atmosphere', actually being taught material in a sub-optimal way, bad habits will surely be the result.

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My 9 year old daughter says she must dance everyday, or she just doesn't feel like herself :D . She was sick most of last week, and couldn't dance at all, but I knew she was better when, rather than walking from one room to the next - she chaineed from one room to the next - as is her usual mode :shrug: . And she never hits the furniture - I don't know how she does it!


One imitation of a big girl move her teacher (via my asking her to) asked her to stop doing at home was standing up on the knuckles of her toes in imitation of standing en pointe. She is strong, and her teacher has said she has good feet, and will most likely be ready for pointe by 11 and half or 12, but she did not want her to hurt herself by imitating pointe now! I appreciated the teacher talking to dd, because she is more likely to listen to her teacher about all things dance related, than to me. :thumbsup:

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Running into furniture has to do with turnout, of which one needs next to none to do chaine! Too many stubbed toes in my memory! :D:shrug:

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And for tomboys or young danseurs, the dining room table is terrible as a rifle position, but makes an excellent artillery emplacement when you play with your toy soldiers!

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When DD was in 1st grade I couldn't figure out why she would ruin the toes of all hers shoes. I kept telling her to quit dragging her feet. One day her teacher told me she was walking on the toes of her shoes, pretending to be on pointe. I tried to keep her off her toes. Finally in third grade I told her if she didn't stay off her toes I was only going to buy her very ugly shoes. So she quit, for at least a year till she learned to to toe stands in tap class. Needless to say she was the first one to get it. When she got the invitation to go on pointe after 5th grade she could hardly stand it. lol


She has also, always used the grocery store alises as her own personal runway for leaps and turns practice. When I turned my back on her once and she almost spun into an elderly woman I could have killed her. :angry:

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  • 3 weeks later...

From my experience - the child that is constantly dancing is doing so because they have an innate need to move. To ask them to stop would be like asking them to stop breathing.


In her early years my dd would cartwheeel everywhere - and was frequently not even aware that she was doing it - on the way to the car, at the shops, through the house - a cartwheel would simply take the place of a step. As she became more involved with ballet the cartwheels evolved into poses, pirouettes, releves into arabesque. She has managed to get a few good bruises from flinging legs around with gay abandon and we have been left with a few marks on the walls - but there has been no major damage (touch wood!) The only time I have really tried to limit her was when she was attempting pirouettes and arabesques on pointe after only one lesson!


She recently explained to her father, that when she dances, it is like she is no longer there - there is only the dance. Very Zen, I thought, and probably typical of many of our young ones who simply have to dance - where it is beyond conscious thought.

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