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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Jumping


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My daughter has asked me to post a question for her as she is only 11 (today in fact!!).

 

She has never really been a good "jumper" in ballet and it is her one very bad weak point. Her teacher says she needs to practice jumping combination every day at least once or twice but is there anything else she can do to help.

 

Her legs are really strong and, otherwise, she is a beautiful dancer and has been on pointe for about a year without any major problems (except cramps but that's now sorted).

 

Her stamina just seems to go really quickly - don't know if it's a hereditory thing but if I am doing something physical I am fine for a short burst then have no energy at all to continue - made for some fun Judo fights I can tell you - all guns blazing then just pin me down and get it over with!!!!

 

She is just about to sit her G5 RAD ballet, does Inter Foundation + pointe and also Modern and Tap along with 2 performance classes a week so dances 5 nights a week.

 

Thanks for any advice.

 

Mandy

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Mandy, Major Johnson our moderator/teacher with an RAD background may be able to advise you further on the particular strengths of an 11 year old girl studying RAD. Not being familiar with the program of study my answer is a generalization made from observations of teaching over many years. 11 year olds need to jump to improve their jump! :yucky: Improvement is made by doing.

 

Continued study with a responsible teacher will help to strengthen all aspects of her training.

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Mandy, dancers develop strength through the training, however not all of them develop at the same time. Different body types and growth patterns make a big difference in this development. Children who are more compact, that is, not long and very thin and extremely flexible, are often stronger in jumps than those with the length and flexibility. Long muscles seem to take longer to gain strength, generally. There are always exceptions. Also, children who are very flexible and have good extensions may not be "natural" jumpers, and it will take a lot more time and effort and very good training to develop the jump. It can be done, but they will usually not have the same ballon as someone with a natural ballon. However, those with the compact bodies and natural ballon will usually not have the same extension as someone who has it naturally. This will apply to rotation as well. Those born with a lot of natural rotation, if they are taught how to use it correctly, will always have a bit more than those who have to fight for it. Everyone has their strengths, and they just have to work harder on the areas that are not their strengths. Patience is also important, as it WILL take longer! :yucky:

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She should concentrate on demi-plié, tendus (lots of tendus!), and glissés, so that she learns to work her feet to give her the maximum push-off in jumps. The foot must articulate well, all along its entire length, and provide thrust on takeoff, even down the ends of the toes.

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knock knock ! {parent of mid-teen} All Miss Leigh & Mr J say is so true. My DD at 11 "couldn't jump". At 12/13 she could jump "a little". By 14/15, they were coming along. She was always a lovely allegro dancer, tall with long limbs. All felt her jumps would improve, but not necessarily be her forte. Her excellent teachers had her 'practice, practice' even when peers flew- & she struggled. At 16-lo and behold!The jump-practicing, work on feet and technique "clicked". She's jumping through the rafters. Jumps are one of her trongest points: and this emerged in the past year. Younger girls come to the window to watch her jump [which she gets a kick out of]. DD & teachers are now looking for big-jump solo variations. Amazing what a few years can bring!

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Thank you everyone - Amy is very tall for her age (a good head above the rest of the class) and could easily pass for 13 (scary really!!) I will show her your posts once she has finished eating birthday cake.

 

She does have lovely extensions I think but her teacher says she needs to work on "finishing" off her lines as she doesn't know where the ends of her fingers are at the moment because she has grown sooo much in the past 6 months (completely changed body shape as well as height) but I can see that she will get the hang of that quicker than jumping.

 

It's good to hear positive stories about perseverance and this will encourage her to keep practicing and that it will come - it can be disheartening when people can do anything without practicing whereas she works hard for everything but I say that is a good thing and it will all pay off in the end!!

 

Thanks again - I knew we would get some good solid advice here!

 

Mandy

x

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Guest pink tights

g-t-g, that is encouraging news! I'll relay your dd's story next time she has a jumping-meltdown. She just seems stuck to the floor. Her best friend has a short compact body--that kid can jump, but she's not very flexible. Living examples of what Ms. Leigh has explained.

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Can I relate to this one!

 

My goodness, your daughters sound like mine! Mine just turned 11 and I think she has iron weights in her ballet slippers! Her teachers can not get her use her plie and really push through her feet to get off the ground. We put her in a "leaps & turns class" at a local jazz studio to help build her stregnth as well as get a different perspective on the whole concept. The class is all about leaps, jumps and turns. You should see those jazz kids leap! Lots of plies, sautes, degeges, changements and sit ups. I think the change in enviroment helps her with the workout, new music & different kids. She is having a blast and does not want to give the class up at the end of the season! This from a child who gets exhausted jumping! We have only been going since March but she is convinced her grand jetes are "Grander!" lol

 

Keep Jumping,

Snow

 

 

P.S: My youngest daughter, 8 yrs., is a jumping bean!! Go Figure!

Edited by SnowWhite
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Could you ask them to open a Jumping class in Edinburgh for Amy please as it would be perfect and she would love it!!!!

 

She is getting a bit better - as long as she practices every day along with everything else - a dancers work is never done!!

 

M

x

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Guest pink tights

SnowWhite--Dd takes jazz and still can't jump! You are right, some of those jazz kids are amazing jumpers.

All those switch leaps, pikes, and stags (or whatever they call them). She seems to be the worst jumper in that class...really think using the plie and working through the feet (frappe, pas de cheval) is the key to batterie! She's still trying to figure out grand jete--thinking UP not out. Any thoughts on that--besides using that plie!?

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Pink Tights,

 

I had to giggle while reading your post, our girls would be great friends! Yes, those jazz kids are amazing and mine is definitely the most "airborne challenged" in the class! One thing that is helping her learn to "push off" with her entire foot is an exercise they do on the floor. They all lie down on the floor on their backs, they slide up against the wall in a deep plie, either in parallel or turned out, feet must be flat against the wall. They then push off the wall and shoot like rockets on their backs into the center of the room, ending with straight legs and pointed toes. This has helped her feel the strength that is needed to get off the ground and how to work through her entire foot. Arms are crossed in front over their chests, be sure not to be bare backed for this one, marley can leave a nasty "rug burn!" This is actually one of her favorite exercises and they must push hard or they won't go very far....sometimes class "peer pressure" is a good thing! I also find that in this jazz class they tend to use more power entering their leaps and jumps, deeper plies and stronger chasses are a must for style as well as technique. She can't be the delicate ballerina in this group so she tends to go for it a bit more. We still have a long way to go!!!

 

Good Luck & Keep Me Posted,

Snow

Edited by SnowWhite
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Im gonna get Amy to try that exercise in the house tomorrow - we have laminate floors so would be a good laugh, just need to make sure the door is open so she doesn't go crashing into it (or she could always wear her crash helmet)

 

Mand

:)

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thinking UP not out. Any thoughts on that--besides using that plie!?

 

Trick -- think both up AND out. You don't want to stall in midair during a grand jeté.

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SnowWhite, our girls do that excercise too. They can go quite far, so be careful! Both dds are good at petite allegro, but not the best in the jazz leaps either! I cannot offer any advice on that, but I think sometimes the leggy kids take longer to get there, but when they do get there it is a beautiful thing!

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Quick update - Amy LOVES the pushing off the wall like a rocket excercise (once she had stopped laughing that is!!!!) - seems to think it is helping so thank you for that.

 

She has also taken to wearing her pointe shoes at any opportunity at the moment (coz she loves them so much) and has discovered jumping in them is quite good as well!!

 

Any other (fun) exercises are more than welcome but meantime she is plie-ing, tendu-ing, glisse-ing & rocketing away quite happily!!

 

Mandy

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