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Ballet Talk for Dancers

weight loss & ballet


PolkaDot

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This week, one of my teachers said to me that she'd like me to join her pointe class, starting out in slippers, moving to demi-pointes and then to pointes.

 

However, (even if she let me!) I don't want to go fully en pointe until I've achieved my weight loss goal. I've been eating carefully for the past few months and the loss is steady, but I want to be as strong as possible and give my body minimal problems when I start pointe. But can I start taking class in demi pointes?

 

I was also wondering what to expect as the weight comes off. Will turning be easier? Balances different? How much re-adjusting will there be?

 

I'd love to hear what other dancers who've lost weight have experienced. It'd be great to compile a list of things to look forward to (and to watch out for)! :green:

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When I was 16-17 I lost a significant amount of weight (like 20 pounds or so). Before the loss I was a pretty decent turner and my balance was relatively good. Afterwards....i had to totally find my center all over again. Its taken years for me to get my turns back (and they still arent as good). My balance is slowly coming back too. I also grew a few inches though so my body was changing in a variety of ways. Best of luck losing weight and have fun in the pointe class! I'll leave the demi-poine question for someone more qualified to answer. :green:

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Moderator hat on :wacko:

 

While your questions are pertinent, Polka Dot, can I just remind anyone contributing to this thread about BT4D's policies on discussing weight issues? We don't go into discussions of pounds to lose, BMI, weight/height, diets etc etc. There are Stickies on healthy eating and nutrition for dancers at the op of the Health and Nutrition Forum which you might find useful.

 

And please remember that impressionable teens can read the Adult Students' Buddy Board.

 

That said, Mod hat off. :green: I can stop being stern!

 

I was interested in Balletboyrhys' experience of having to re-find his centre after losing some weight. I wonder if posters who've danced through even part of their pregnancies, and come back afterwards have something to contribute here?

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balletboyrhys, I've heard that too about re-learning everything about turning. The wobblies sound like they could be frustrating. And thanks for the kind wishes :green:

 

Redbookish, I'm definitely not interested in discussing the weight loss process/reasons/goals (only a private subject for my health professional and me!), but am glad that I can learn about some of the ramifications in regards to dance technique and so forth.

 

I've been told that turning & being somewhat pregnant is easier. And that you're a little more flexible! I'd also be interested in knowing what happens after returning to dance after pregnancy.

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Hi Polkadot,

 

I have lost some weight over the last year & found that it has definitely changed my centre of gravity, particularly in adage - first of all it got worse as the weight started to come off, but then it improved greatly since my weight stabilised.

 

I did go en pointe when I still had a lot of weight to lose, and found steps such as courus impossibly painful. Now I am a bit lighter I find I can do them for a lot longer before it starts to hurt.

 

From my own experience, I would agree that if you have a lot of weight to lose it would be better to wait a while, but surely you do not actually have to wait until you reach your goal weight?

 

Mods, I am not trying to get in a discussion here about the appropriateness or otherwise of setting goal weights, but the last few pounds are notoriously difficult to lose so you need to consider the possibility that you may find yourself in a situation where you are putting off going on pointe indefinitely for no valid reason from a technical or safety point of view.

 

Just something to think about.

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I danced through my pregnancy and was that whole wobbly egg thing. One thing to remember when loosing the weight and shifting balance and center is that if you keep working on your core strength during the process it will go a lot easier. I could really feel it when after my son was born when the abs started really working again and the turns and balances got a lot easier. I think at the end of it all I actually was better than before because of the process on having to really focus on where that balance came from.

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I cannot really comment on the weight-loss thing (I have been relatively thin my whole life), but I think if your teacher let's you, it is definitely a good idea to start the pointe classes on demi! When you then put the pointes on, you know the work and it is going to be such enormous help, and I cannot see why pointe classes on demi would be more taxing to your body than technique classes are.

 

At least for me, when I am in pointe shoes, I cannot deal with combinations as complicated as on demi, especially new ones... I don't really know why, but it's like the pointe shoes cut some wires from my brain to my legs. :green: It's ever so much easier if I have done the same on demi first.

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I have a long body with really small calves, ankles and feet. I find it so hard to balance because I just never feel rooted or grounded enough. My balance is always a little better when I weigh a little more than usual. Jumping on the other hand. . . .well you can't have everything.

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One thing to remember when loosing the weight and shifting balance and center is that if you keep working on your core strength during the process it will go a lot easier. I could really feel it when after my son was born when the abs started really working again and the turns and balances got a lot easier. I think at the end of it all I actually was better than before because of the process on having to really focus on where that balance came from.

Ditto this, about the core strength. I've been steadily losing since I started dance, but more recently I've been doing more pilates and ab work and it helps immensely. I experienced the wobblies a lot while I was losing, but now I'm starting to feel much more solid again.

 

I have also been cross-training over the last 6 months or so, and it makes such a huge difference in everything I do. The cardio helps with endurance and helps push the weight loss forward. I also lift weights if I can get to the gym, and if not I work out with therabands and an exercise ball. After I started that, I found I could do a lot of things that I never had the strength to do, and my balance improved a lot. So I don't think it's simply weight loss, it's an overall fitness thing that makes the difference to me.

 

I also think it depends on how much weight you have lost and how fast it comes off. In the beginning when I was much heavier, I lost super fast and it gave me more issues with turns and balance. Now that I've slowed down to a more gradual loss, I don't notice it as much, because it's just a little bit of adjustment at a time.

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:lol: I'm newish to ballet and have not even begun to think about pointe, but I was just curious...by "starting out in slippers, moving to demi-pointes and then to pointes." do you mean doing the entire class on demi-pointe (in slippers on your toes), or are there "demi-pointe" shoes? :lol:
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Your confusion is understandable. In class doing things in releve is sometimes referred to as demi-pointe. There are also demi-pointe shoes (also known as soft blocks or pre-pointe shoes) that appear identical to pointe shoes but lack the shank. Working with the the pointe-like shoe (the hard boxes and shape of the shoe) is thought to help prepare the dancer for the transition between technique and pointe shoes.

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From my own experience, I would agree that if you have a lot of weight to lose it would be better to wait a while, but surely you do not actually have to wait until you reach your goal weight?

 

Mods, I am not trying to get in a discussion here about the appropriateness or otherwise of setting goal weights, but the last few pounds are notoriously difficult to lose so you need to consider the possibility that you may find yourself in a situation where you are putting off going on pointe indefinitely for no valid reason from a technical or safety point of view.

 

Just something to think about.

Hi Jane!

 

Well, I'm certainly eager to start pointe, but I figure that my teacher will tell me when I'm ready. Then I can assess whether or not I feel far enough along to begin. If it's, oh, say, only the last few pounds then I agree that it probably won't make a huge difference. I'll leave it to a person wiser in the ways of ballet than me--my teacher :rolleyes:

 

And Jaana, I'm glad to hear that demi pointes make a difference. I've heard and read that the work your feet do in pointes (demi or full) is a lot more demanding than technique shoes. I think I'll definitely invest in a pair after a few weeks or so of pointe class in regular slippers.

 

Sounds like I'll have to up the ab work in my routine, too! :thumbsup:

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To make my statement a bit more exact: I think taking the class working in slippers or in demipointe shoes is going to be beneficial. I have not used demipointe shoes myself, ever - I don't think I have even seen one. But I think just getting there and doing the work is going to be good.

 

I have worked some technique classes in de-shanked pointe shoes during my first year of pointe. I found it did indeed make me more comfortable in the pointe shoes, but I am not sure if just more regular pointe would not have done the same thing.

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De-shanked pointe shoes are pretty much what demi-pointe shoes are. We used them all the time, and only bought demi-pointe shoes for exams.

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I'm trying to be careful about the discussion of weight, as I know it's a "forbidden" subject :yes: but I wanted to mention that I found that I dropped a little weight fairly quickly when I started pointe because I was working so much harder. So if you have just a few pounds to go to reach your goal, the extra work your muscles do in pointe class might do the trick. Something about doing slow releves and working on pulling up out of the shoe really worked some of my big muscle groups more than regular class, so maybe it was the change from the more aerobic work of class that sent my body into a "burn" mode? (And burn is exactly what my legs did during and after class!! Anybody here remember Jane Fonda's workout: "Go for the burn"?? :D )

 

Lisa

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