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Ballet Talk for Dancers

ballet training


balletboy101

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i am a serious and commited ballet student and i want to dance more than i am, but my school doesnt permit it. i dance every day noon to six, but would really like to train more does anyone have a sugestion as to how to approach this or who i should ask (my teacher or director?).

 

thank you

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I would take it a bit easy right now. While you may want to dance more, you need time to regenerate and keep injury-free. Spending too much classtime can be mischievous for students as they develop. You should try to talk to your teacher about fine-tuning your training so that it matches your needs and strengths as well as can be.

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thank you for responding Mr. Johnson. Question what is it that you mean by mischievous? And is there a way to strengthen my technique outside of class (other than standard push ups crunches streching that sort of thing)

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By "mischievous", I mean, "holds the capability or potential for causing bad things to happen". It's a nice (in the sense of "narrow") path we have to tread in ballet. We have to know what is too little, just enough, and too much, and of what. You need the advice of the older, and with luck, wiser artist to help you on your way. Seek the advice of someone who can see you work and help to shape you in the right direction.

 

As to practice outside of class, just take it easy! Don't do push-ups - they're practically useless in ballet unless you are going to be in a ballet where you punch or bayonet your partner (poor classical form). Don't worry about crunches - hold your torso up with your abdominals, even outside of class. All the time! That will do more good than a million crunches, and you'll look better, besides. Do pliés and fondus, and plenty of tendus, all speeds. Be careful about how you do them, and try to feel where every body part is, all through the exercises.

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  • 4 weeks later...
As to practice outside of class, just take it easy! Don't do push-ups - they're practically useless in ballet unless you are going to be in a ballet where you punch or bayonet your partner (poor classical form). Don't worry about crunches - hold your torso up with your abdominals, even outside of class. All the time! That will do more good than a million crunches, and you'll look better, besides. Do pliés and fondus, and plenty of tendus, all speeds. Be careful about how you do them, and try to feel where every body part is, all through the exercises.

 

Yeah, I'm gonna hijack this thread here a bit. You say push-ups do nothing for ballet, and in the traditional sense I concur since they work the biceps primarily (I think), but what about push-ups that focus on the tricept muscles (i.e. holding your hands much closer together). I would think in lifting and presses that those muscle groups would be key, no?

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Again, it's a judgment call. If the exercise travels through an arc which is primarily forward, I still don't think it does much if any good. Vertical pushups, where the student puts his feet on a top barre or up against a wall are better.

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Actually, all push-ups (as well as bench press) primarily use the triceps. Chin-ups and other similar motions use the biceps.

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How about stretching after class? Spending a few minutes getting into a deep stretch will do wonders.

 

Mikw

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If you really are dancing noon until 6 every day, that works out to at least 30 hours of studio time a week. To me that sounds like plenty of training, any more than that and you are going to start risking some over-use injuries, especially if you are still growing.

 

Stretching is good, again, within reason, don't over extend yourself, a pulled groin can take FOREVER to heal.

 

Even push-ups are not so bad, they will not do much for your actual ballet technique, or even for partnering (when do you push a girl down?), but I have to dance shirtless this weekend, and wish that I had done a few more myself. . .

 

Don't worry too much about how much you are training, to me it sounds like you are on the right track.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Knight
If you really are dancing noon until 6 every day, that works out to at least 30 hours of studio time a week. To me that sounds like plenty of training, any more than that and you are going to start risking some over-use injuries, especially if you are still growing.

 

Stretching is good, again, within reason, don't over extend yourself, a pulled groin can take FOREVER to heal.

 

Even push-ups are not so bad, they will not do much for your actual ballet technique, or even for partnering (when do you push a girl down?), but I have to dance shirtless this weekend, and wish that I had done a few more myself. . .

 

Don't worry too much about how much you are training, to me it sounds like you are on the right track.

 

*Nods

Pulled groin takes forever, I pulled mine in the beginning of my serious training. Took me 6 weeks that felt like 6 months of healing. From that it took another 3 years to finally not feel the twang every so often.

 

Push ups are really good actually, I used to do around 600 in a night. I noticed immediate strength differences after a month. However, you must change hand positions to be effective. As there are several ways of doing push ups to work different areas.

 

As others have stated I would not work out much more than you are now.

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  • 2 months later...
Again, it's a judgment call. If the exercise travels through an arc which is primarily forward, I still don't think it does much if any good. Vertical pushups, where the student puts his feet on a top barre or up against a wall are better.

 

I guess I need to knock, knock first since I'm a lady.

 

Mel, when you say vertical pushups, are you saying for the guy to elevate his feet and then do the push ups?

 

thanks,

 

Kathy

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I agree that vertical push-ups look like the right thing. But I've always been afraid to do them, it seems that a sudden collapse or mistake could result in a broken neck. I'm just not convinced of their safety.

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One note on the vertical push-ups for what it’s worth. My experience with relatively weak people doing them is that failure occurs not from a collapse at the top but rather from the inability to move once the body is lowered. I have seen severely weak people fail, but they were never able to even get close to the initial position.

 

My real comment, however, is about training time, and I’m restricting this to a physiological perspective. If you look at athletic training broadly, you find that the biggest change over the last 50 years is that training has become both more specific and intensive and not that people are spending more time training. Presumably, that accounts for much of the increase in performance that has occurred.

 

What I’m not sure about is how that translates to ballet training. How can one increase the intensity of a tendu for example? My only thought is to spend more effort in the classes that you take on the actions and feelings of the exercises, paying more attention to what your body is doing, using your mind so to speak. Emphasizing the quality of what you are asked to do is another way of saying it. Rehearsals are different, an activity unto themselves that is not really about training, but actual performance, which I think is different.

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