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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Air Conditioning


MJ

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  1. 1. Air Conditioning?

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Small Incident in the studio the other day. Our accompanist is a little overweight and has diabetes, so staying cool is important for her. She signaled to me that she needed more air from the nearby Air conditioning unit, which a dancer had covered with towels handbags etc. Lady resisted, saying she was cold, I was covered in sweat, and the accompanist was perspiring as well.

 

In humid environments, working out in a 90%/90'F room can put a strain on the heart and respiration systems. It is very selfish to pick the coldest spot in the studio and complain to the teacher about the air-conditioning.

 

Yes, I'm a guy and we typically like it a little cooler. I'm always willing to lend warmups to people who still have not yet warmed up.

 

My question is:

 

Why do people who get the chills always pick a barre spot under the vent or by the A/C?

Why aren't the chilly folks working harder?

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Hmm. I'm a naturally cold person, and I always go to a place at the barre that is away from open windows, etc (we don't have air conditioning in England! ha!) I do sweat, quite normally, but I find that my extremities are often cold, and that I feel there is a big difference between being superficially warm and really, deep, down, internally warm. Further, being a naturally muscularly tight person doesn't help... and as I've become older my body just takes longer to get that deep warmth. And yes, my doctors have also given me reasons that further explain why I might feel more cold than others.

 

I totally understand this, and thus always take warmups with me, etc....

 

I do work hard... very hard.... or, as ingve put it, sensibly.... I also like to think thoroughly...?

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MJ, firstly, my heart goes out to your accompanyist. Nothing amusing abt suffering through the attendant symptoms of diabetes.

 

And to all the chilly folks in your class who are aware of the situation but refuse to use the A/C, I have only one thing to say: Have some heart people, or at least learn some basic human decency!! If you can afford ballet classes, then surely you can pony up a few bucks for warm-up clothes. :angry:

 

By the way, using the A/C for stowage, which can effectively prevent its efficient and immediate usage for which it was designed, poses some liability concerns in my mind. I don't know where you're located, but here in California, we are generally lawsuit-happy people who will only be too happy to see anyone else in court. :)

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Oooh, I thought this would be a complaint about dancing in AC'd spaces. I hate humidity, but when dancing, I'll take heat over cold any day. I hated having AC when I danced at a school in the south where the visual artists had to have it cold to protect their art and we dancers were always suffering for it because we weren't allowed to wear warm-ups to compensate and I hate it now, closer to home when, instead of using a judicious amount of it -- just enough to take the edge off, people crank it up so that they feel "pleasantly cool" at others' expense.

 

In my mind, there are two problems with AC:

 

One is the cold factor, though if dancers are allowed to wear warm-ups to compensate, this is pretty much taken care of.

 

The other is that AC often means dry air and/or dust being blown around. For asthmatics and those with allergies, this can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing fits, etc. Not fun. And not much remedy for it, either, I'm afraid.

 

My plea for those who insist on AC is not to crank it up too high. Even if you don't care about the people around you, think of the pollution you're causing, or think about how much hotter and stickier it will feel outside after you've been dancing in an icebox for a couple of hours!

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One studio I know of handles the air quality problem in an interesting way. They have a big honkin' A/C, but also a standing dehumidifier, which removes humidity from the air, but spits it back out into the room as 90°+ air. (This is the way all HVAC systems used to work once upon a time.) Then they have one of those ionic air filter towers in another corner of the room, which sucks up small particulates. No matter who you are, you can find a place at the barre which is comfortable to you. I'd hate to have their electric bill, though!

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Since it is such a a rare treat to have an accompanist, all kindnesses should be given to them, IMHO.

 

I'm going to insist the frigid, er um I mean less warmly people dance next me in the scalding boiling hot studio. Especially during pirouettes. I will fling pints, litres, and hogsheads of sweat in their direction. :)

 

AC removes a lot of humidity in any room, which allows your sweat to evaporate, which prevents heat exhaustion.

 

I've never taken an adult or company class where warmups were forbidden. Children's class needs a little more structure, and immediate corrections are difficult with warmups on.

 

 

 

I opened a poll about AC, feel free to answer.

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Guest pink tights

When I arrive at my AM classes, it is always FREEZING. So, I layer and I take barre in the warmest part of the studio. My preferred spot also happens to be the warmest place in the studio in the winter. Our studio is huge with very high ceilings--if the A/C isn't kept on, the studio turns into a furnace by 2:00 PM. So, the A/C is a necessary evil. If in center work, I feel cold, I re-layer. No big deal...

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I am reminded of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA), whose main objective is to create accomodations for folks with limitations and have to carry on with their lives. Arguably, some of the requirements laid down by this act may pose inconvenience to those who must comply or face punitive action, but the spirit of the act is to accomodate those with limitations while they move forward with their lives.

 

A little give-and-take (and common sense) certainly goes a long way.

 

Now, I am getting off my soap box.

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Our small studio just put in air-con this summer. I was so grateful! The studio is in a shopfront facing west, and most classes are 4 pm or later. I was looking forward to getting back to class after the spring show, but dreading the long hot summer. A/c makes it much nicer for everyone.

 

It's hot and dry out here anyway. The a/c isn't frigid; it just brings the room from 90+ to the 70's.

 

My body seems to try to cool down by sending all the blood to my cheeks; I'm flaming-faced halfway through class. The air conditioner really makes those long summer afternoons doable.

 

My heart goes out to MJ's accompanist; hearing about that incident makes me want to go into "battle" for her! :sweating: Surely there is a way to let other people know that "Ms. Melody needs it cooler in here, she is a diabetic." Maybe the teacher could set a policy and inform the class.

 

Desert Lily

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When I was a child, the AC never went on until it was absolutely boiling outside (this was in Alabama!) because it was "bad for us." Then again, it was also "bad for us" to drink any water at all during class.

 

As an adult, my studio has both room-zoned AC units and ceiling fans that can be used either together or apart. My teacher asks if we're hot or cold and rare is it that anyone speaks up either way. I'd be hard pressed to tell you if the rooms are typically warm or cool so they must do a darn good job figuring out what temp is comfortable. I'm always sweating bullets but I'm never melting from heat.

 

If someone had obviously requested, it's just plain rude the way the other dancer acted. If you're chilly, there's no reason you can't wear a shrug or move. Geepers.

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Guest ingve

I always felt that my muscles never got rally warm in an air conditioned room. But then there is a big difference now on the machienery. Now you have a lot more of them that also keep a clean air, so you do not have the problems insidesoloist described.

 

One time on tour in China I realized for the first time that an Ac can be IMPORTANT for dancers. One of my colleagues collapsed from the heat because the theatre did not want to put on the AC before the show to save money.

 

Another place I trained they got a very sensful solution. They had the AC on full power in between classes, but turned off during class. But that was a quite small studio, so the effect was quite immediate.

 

I guess used with common sence the AC is a great thing, but to train in a completely chilled down room just to "stay fresh" was never my thing.

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My guess is that my studio is kept in the mid 80's temp wise....all year round. Various people turn on the heat or air when they feel like it between classes and the teacher makes changes as preferred during class.

I wouldn't be cold in class unless is was 72 or lower and I was sitting still. I do have classmates who are cold while I am sweating bullets and have occasionally had to sit down for getting overheated, light-headed, and mildly nauseous despite drinking water in class. I have not really told anybody that is why I was sitting out.

My age and weight must have something to do with it.

After a couple of years I thought I would be more used to it but not really. I just decide to go and sweat as if I were going to one of those hot Yoga classes. I do wish for more a/c but I know it can be a problem for some; especially when it hits you right on the neck or something.

I thrived on dancing in un-airconditioned studios in the summer in Louisiana many years ago in college. We generally soaked through our leotards, dripped sweat on the floors, and kept dancing in 95 degree temperatures with 99% humidity. It actually felt pretty good.

 

Laschwen

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My teacher isn't a big fan of air conditioning, and in summer I'm usually pretty uncomfortable by the end of the barre. My teacher sometimes puts the air conditioning on during the five minute break before centre, then switches it off. I find it hard to dance as I'm overheated, and it's frustrating to know that I could dance better if I wasn't so hot.

 

I agree, if people find it too cold, they can put more clothes on. I survive in winter.

 

So I'm in favour of the air conditioning (within reason of course - it shouldn't be glacial!).

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Knock knock!!

Just a side note--air conditioning is also VERY un-environmentally friendly...turning the thermostat even one or two degrees up can save a huge amount of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere :shhh:.

I still think it's a necessary evil for the reasons mentioned above, but concern for the planet is, imho, a VERY compelling reason to use it in moderation!

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