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advice for young boys spinning (tours and pirouettes).


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Our 9 year old son is in his second year of ballet at a top ballet school. He has not been taught any spins yet in class (sorry I don't know the terms, but I think they are called pirouettes (when one foot remains on the floor) and tours (when spinning in the air). He often on his own fools around with spins, trying to emulate the pro dancers he is on stage with when he does child roles, and the older more advanced boys he has become friends with. Any advice on whether doing these spins can be counter-productive for injury, bad habits, etc. And if he is spinning pretty well, should we perhaps ask the school whether he can get any advice on spins so he practices correctly. Thanks so much for any advice.

Edited by dancepop
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Hi, dancepop, and welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers! :(


In general, the little guys often try to emulate what they see the "big boys" do just as they do in baseball, football and any other activity that they see. Sometimes they do it correctly, other times not. It's just goofing off, and is usually a self-correcting phenomenon, whether by the individual who's doing it (that wasn't right!), or his peer group (jeez, don't do it that way, you'll hurt yourself) or a friendly passing teacher, if the action is REALLY dangerous. And you've got it right. Generally speaking, "pirouettes" have one foot on the floor, "tours" have either both or no feet on the floor! And steps en tournant (turning) aren't spins. They are controlled movements which happen to turn. An old friend of mine, when he was first taught the ballet "Les Patineurs", which closes with what are probably the most famous grands pirouettes in ballet history, was told by the ballet master, "Don't think of these as turns. Just let go and spin, spin, spin!"


Again, speaking generally, we don't recommend that students practice unsupervised until they've reached a certain level of competency. At this point, "unsupervised practice" might safely mean demi-pliés and tendus. They're not exciting, but at least they'll be relatively mild, and any corrections that happened last class will still be fresh in the student's mind.


Why don't you drop on over to the Welcome forum and tell us a bit more about yourself and family? Our Welcome Wagon Lady will be more than happy to see you!

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Looking at this a second time, I think it would be best forwarded to the "Parents of Boys" forum, as this one (Men's Forum) is meant for the student dancers themselves. There, many more people will have input for you, based on their experiences. :(

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To add to Major Mel-


If you trust the training, don't worry that he's not quite learned tours and pirouettes yet. He's only 9 and in some academies, those movements would not be taught until the child has mastered the basics. I wouldn't feel the need to ask for advice on his behalf because the school would likely tell him not to be practicing those things at home anyway.


All things in due time... :shhh:

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Thanks to you all for the great advice. And sorry if I may have been unclear in my question. Just to clarify, I was not at all suggesting that my son has been yet taught anything at all about spinning in his ballet school --he has not. And I was not suggesting that we were in any way in a hurry for him to start spinning early. Instead, I was just wondering if there is a general concensus in theh ballet world that young boys should avoid spinning and other more other advanced techniques until they learn them in class. I assume my question is somewhat akin to the question parents of young girl dancers have as to whether they should discourage their daughters from fooling around at home "en point" prior to their school deemin ghtem ready and teaching them proper technique. Thanks again to everyone fo the great advice.

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Instead, I was just wondering if there is a general concensus in theh ballet world that young boys should avoid spinning and other more other advanced techniques until they learn them in class.


I am far from being an expert and have no advice, but here's some thoughts on the subject from a previous thread: http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=37913

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Sorry dancepop! :o Didn't mean to insinuate anything.....


Do check out the thread, and when I have more time, I'll try to answer your question better. :shrug: In the meanwhile, Major Johnson may have a better answer! :shrug:

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Ever try to stop a boy from physical self-expression? It's nearly like trying to hold back the ocean's tides. The only difference between ordinary boys and boys who dance, or study kung fu, for that matter, is that the latter have ready access to observe the phenomenon of turning, whether in the air or on the ground. They see it, and if it strikes their fancy, they'll do it. They are in no more danger than the kid who tries to do a one-handed diving catch in baseball.

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