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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Weigh in - at ballet school! Need advice!

ma de deux

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Outrageous for a student situation!!!! Parental outcry is in order.

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  • Mel Johnson


  • sarsdad


  • BW


  • vagansmom


In full agreement about outrageousness of weighing. Time to register your own outrage with the AD.


But wondering ... who is doing the partnering in the pas de deux? Are lifts involved? Is this an exceedingly clumsy way of protecting young male partners?


Wait ... did you mean if they are 'too heavy' they would not be cast AT ALL? That is hugely, hugely outrageous!

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That is just ding-butt dumb! Stupidest thing I ever heard of. :shrug:

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This last twist - the 115 lbs part, is certainly the worst possible way to explain or excuse casting. Anyone with any intelligence has to realize that depending upon the height and strength of the boys who are to be their partners that they will only be capable of lifting an appropriate partner, which, of course, includes height and weight*. It doesn't take a scale to figure this out and it surely sounds like a very unprofessional way of dealing with casting.


The whole earlier question of weighing students at the school is archaic, potentially dangerous, and all the rest. Where in the school information does it refer to this? I'm with sarsdad, and everyone else who has stated that, the only place weighing should go on is in the student's personal doctor's office.


*Just to be clear, we are talking about teenagers here, are we not? Many young men do not develop sufficient muscle strength, etc., until they are older. Anytime true lifts are involved it has to be important to take both dancer's physiques into account.

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While it is certainly completely your business to decide how to proceed, unless you can effect a complete change in attitude of the person or people in charge in this school, you should be running from it as fast as you can. I think other parents should also be urged to consider this - a school with such potentially dangerous policies should not be a place for your (or anyone else's) child.

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Knock knock...student here (please delete if appropriate).

I think it would NOT be an overreaction to take your DD out of this school immediately. EDs are not something to play around with, and this kind of behavior just BREEDS them. The pressure to be thin is implicit in ballet even if you are in the most supportive of environments (I came from extremely supportive schools and still have managed to develop one) and with this kind of behavior, it seems almost inevitable that even the most well adjusted student, unless naturally very thin and light, would go to extreme lengths to take off weight. Especially since your daughter is young, this will become ingrained in her as her body changes.


Just my 2 cents as a student...

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I agree to leave this situation if the directors are not already falling over themselves apologizing for this behavior as a big mistake.


I have only a couple extra comments - I think it is quite possible to be a "beautiful graceful dancer" at ANY weight (sure, some weights will preclude a pro career, but I have seen some GORGEOUS graceful large dancers with excellent technique and lovely artistry). Also, I think it is silly to say that one cannot do partnering above X number of pounds. For every partner pairing choreography may need to be altered to accomodate the ages, sizes (both height and weight), and ability of BOTH partners.



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I have tickets to a Trockadero performance coming up. Based upon TV performances I have seen of them, I doubt that many of these dancers are under 115 lbs and it is my expectation that they will be performing pas de deux. Surely, if a male dancer can lift another male dancer. . . .

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In regards to the weigh in....I would never allow it. Weight doesn't matter as much as how the partner being lifted knows how to make herself light. A 90lb girl can feel as much as 130lbs if the dancer does not know how to lift themselves and help their partner. A 125lb dancer can feel as light as 90lbs if she is trained correctly on making ones self as light as a feather. It is all in the training and technique. :)

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When you think about it, we all voluntarily give this information on registration forms, whether for the yearly programs or summer programs. One summer program I have to give complete medical phyiscal form from DD physician with a Doctors signature regarding weight, height, injuries, etc. I guess the "weigh in" has more of embrassing effect (or affect). I am not good speller, or writer.


If weight and height matter in proportion to each individual body, why bother asking this question?

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As a former cheerleader, I can attest to the fact that partnering is all about body control and being fit (as opposed to being flabby). Some stunts and pyramids involved lifting a male cheerleader who weighed much more than any of the females. Guys were easy to lift because they were all muscle. When we would instruct younger cheerleaders, the girls would lift a guy to prove that technique is much more important than the how much the partners weighed.

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I cannot believe I am disagreeing with Mel and others, but a 120 lb dancer feels like 120 lbs when it is over your head. No matter howe much muscle a dancer has you cannot disobey the laws of Gravity.


I agree with the weighing in: body weight is MEDICAL INFORMATION, protected by federal health privacy laws (HIPPA comes to mind). Unless the director is a registered doctor, nurse, or dietician they could be arrested for giving medical advice, practicising without a license etc.


I may have opened a can of worms, but the law is the law.



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120 lbs lifted, with no matter how good a technique, is an extra 120 lbs going through your spine. If you do not have the strength to keep the spine absolutely rigid under these circumstances, or if the choreography calls for any bending or twisting of the spine, you have the potential for tears in the ligaments of the spine (the annular ligaments of the intervetebral disks), which will later lead to a slipped disk. So its not just a matter of technique.



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If a male dancer can't take 120 lbs. straightarmed, then he should not be partnering. Period.

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I've been on the receiving end of a note in my mailbox that says "You're doing well, but could be doing better if you lost ten pounds or so." It doesn't feel good. Run, don't walk from this school. And be glad that your DD told you what is going on.


I speak from experience when I say that partnering is all about momentum and sharing weight--it has little to do with weight, except in the case of advanced lifts like overhead presses and the like. In contemporary choreography I have partnered other women and men weighing up to twice my own body weight.


This is a difficult situation for all involved, but I would not risk your daughter or any other child's physical, mental, or emotional health. Good luck!

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