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Ballet Talk for Dancers

The differences between gymnastics splits and ballet splits


shortstuff203

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Belski, here at BT for D we do not feel that oversplits are pretty in the air at all.

 

 

I think oversplits can look very appropriate and stunning at times. I also think that today it is necessary for dancers to have more than a 180 degree split. It is very rare to have strength to hold a position if it is in the max range for flexibility. Have an opinion, but being a moderator doesn't give you the abililty to make up everyone else's minds.

 

P.S. I know I'm going to be told that I am rude, tasteless, inexperienced, etc., but I don't think that what the moderators have to say should have to be regarded as definitive truth. :D

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We are not making up anyone else's minds. You are welcome to like an oversplit, and please do go right ahead and do them. They have their place in acrobatics, gymnastics, and Cirque du Soleil, which is fine. I love Cirque du Soleil. However, they are not needed, nor, to most trained and experienced eyes, not pretty in classical ballet. As professional teachers, the moderators of this board also do not feel that they are safe to do.

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It is very rare to have strength to hold a position if it is in the max range for flexibility.

 

That is actually true, however, how long do you have to hold a split in a grand jeté? Perhaps a quarter of a second, maximum? As in the French, you're just tossing the legs to the open position and there's no loiter time (hang time) to speak of. Strength of that sort is not an issue.

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I can easily do an oversplit since I was trained in acrobatics and gymnastics as well from a very young age. But I still cannot do a proper ballet grand jete. So I don't think oversplits are very useful or necessary as well :)

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Nicely said, twinklingdance!

 

When I was little, I had a lot of friends who did rhythmic gymnastics and they would sit in these crazy oversplits forever. I thought it was amazing and that if I did oversplits my extension would be at my ear and my jumps would soar past 180 degrees. Guess what? Everyday I did oversplits, working up to huge huge oversplits and holding them for about fifteen minutes and oh my, extensions in ballet require proper placement and alignment and my grand jetes did not get extended beyone 180 degrees. Thank goodness for this site because I learned a while back how dangerous they are. And I prove to be a case where they aren't useful either.

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Just a reminder that this is a Young Dancer forum. Parents cannot post here, sorry.

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  • 2 weeks later...
The fact that ballet dancers work as hard or harder, or have some similar injuries, or may indeed be considered athletes, simply does not make ballet a sport as well as an art, in my opinion.

 

I really agree with you. But, when defending the fact that ballet dancers are "wusses" to people who think traditional sports are superior to ballet (strength wise) then having proven facts that ballet is a "sport"- or at least as good as any sport, it definitely comes in handy. =)

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Ballet is an art and does not need to be defended. Anyone who thinks dancers are "wusses" should be invited to a ballet class. :wink:

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At my school we learn that you must have correct alignment as well as extreme flexibility and strength if you want even a shot at company placement nowdays. We take classes in plyometrics for strength and agility as well as modified pilates and yoga for flexibility.

 

I don't understand how you can get a job as a professional ballet dancer if you can't do these things when all of the students we are seeing at the Prix de Lausanne, Genee etc. have also been trained in this way. How can you compete against these other students in the audition room if you don't have it all - artistry, technique, flexibility, strength, natural facility etc?

 

What I have seen so far is that the extent of a dancer's flexibility must be much greater than it used to and things like oversplits, high developpes etc. are just expected now.

Edited by belski
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I can't speak to how contestants in Lausanne have been trained, but I would be mightily surprised to find that Genée candidates were "all trained that way". While it is true that extension expectations are higher (all senses of the word) than they used to be, the illusion of effortless ease carried over a long period of time as a ballet æsthetic is still in force. Gymnastic standards are different. Yes, to compete successfully for a job in ballet has many requirements, and always did. Now on to batterie, temps d'elevation, petit allegro and pirouettes. Ever see a gymnast do even a jeté battu?

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