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Rond de jambe a terre


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I have heard from a few sources recently that one of the best exercises to help increase rotation is Rond de jambe a terre and I guess this makes sense. Do the experts out there agree?


Assuming that it is indeed a good exercise, at what sort of frequency could it be practised for optimum effect? Just in class, or at any opportunity? Would she have to be fully warmed up for this? I remember after my daughter was born I was given exercises to do as often as possible and told that in the supermarket queue was as good a place as any. Now, I'm not suggesting she do rond de jambe at the checkout, but I hope you get the idea!

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A lot of teachers use this as the first exercise at the barre to warm the hips up so no, in theory she wouldn't have to be fully warmed up to do it although she would probably benefit more from the exercise if she was. For optimum effect it could be done a few times a day! She needs to do it carefully though and ensure she is working on the turnout as she does it, not just allowing her leg to go round and round!

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But remember - we're talking about a pre-teen here. Although rond de jambe à terre is done at a fairly early stage in the barre, and can be done without harm by most people without a lot of pliés and tendus before, just doing them without a teacher can just be the ballet equivalent of doodling; harmless, but not particularly productive, so she doesn't HAVE to do them at all outside of class. Best to have a teacher around.

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I've noticed that you have been posting quite a bit about your concerns for your daughter's flexibility, muscle development and turnout. As several teachers have noted here, at the age of 10, this is simply not a valid concern. I understand how easy it is to get caught up in our children's ballet journey and analyze and plan for how we can help them achieve their goals. But, I think that you are treading on very dangerous ground when you start trying to assist in the training process.


The most important thing you can do to assist your daughter at this age is to get her the best training that is available in your area. A good teacher will quickly assess her strengths and weaknesses and will help her to slowly and properly fine tune those areas that need work. Your daughter is still too young to have full use or even a full awareness of the muscles that she needs to engage in order to fully rotate from the hip, allowing her to use the turnout she has to its maximum capacity. The class work that she will do in a good ballet class is going to help her toward that end and slowly stretch the right body parts to allow her to fully utilize her facility. Pushing it might achieve the desired results sooner, but it might also be at the risk of injury or overuse. Hips are delicate things and she will need both of them all of her life. So, measured training is very important.


While I am an American, my daughter did attend the RBS Summer School, so I understand a bit about the British ballet training timeline and I wonder if you may be wanting to maximize the possibilities of her acceptance to one of the major British schools and feel that the way she is using her turnout now is a problem. I can assure you that the faculty at the major schools are quite good at determining which students have the facility necessary to sustain serious pre-pro training, regardless of whether they are currently fully utilizing their turnout when they dance.


If/when your daughter becomes concerned about some aspect of her development, encourage her to talk to her teacher on her own. You can do her a great service by helping her learn to approach her teacher herself, ask questions and become actively engaged in resolving her own concerns. Role play with her about how to ask her questions or express her concerns. This will serve her well during her training years and into her pro career, if that develops. Our dancers are far more in tune with their progress and their weaknesses than we often give them credit for and she will likely know when some aspect of her training is causing her to fall behind and is in need of attention. Helping them learn to be their own best advocate is a priceless gift.


In spite of all the arbitrary milestones that you may see ahead and want to successfully navigate, I cannot stress enough how important slow and steady excellent training is for our children. Resist the urge to rush your child, push her development or manipulate her progress. Regardless of her current interests or aspirations, it will be at least 5 years before you can really say with any degree of certainty (and even then it will be only an educated guess) whether she has all the right stuff (facility, interest, passion, personality, body type, strength, etc.) to succeed in this very difficult profession. In the meantime, what you need to do is find her a good teacher who will lay the proper foundation. Her turnout and other technique concerns will take care of themselves if she is training with a good teacher. There is no magic bullet or quick fix pill that will make her into the ideal young dancer. Consistent and good classes, personal desire and TIME are the best elixir. :yawn:

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Thank you for your replies.


Mr Johnson, I love the analogy of ballet doodling and I do see what you mean!


Balletbooster, thank you for your concern and thorough reply. You are right that I have posted several questions about the areas you mention and also probably right that the best I could do is simply to leave well alone. Whilst I agree with this in principle, it is easier said than done as it is only natural to try and help where you can. The problem we have is that my daughter's regular teacher, whilst very good technically, does not always see the bigger picture and it is with this in mind that I sometimes look elsewhere for advice. As far as local training goes, for a variety of reasons, this is the only option available to us at the moment.


I do also know that whatever will be will be and that most things are out of my control anyway. My daughter does indeed wish to audition for vocational schools next year and I am encouraged by your comment that they will look beyond what they see in her at the moment.


Please be assured that I do have my daughter's welfare at heart and would never, ever, do anything that I thought would hurt her in anyway. It is also important to me to be able to manage her expectations of success, and to do this I feel that I need as much information as possible. This is why I ask so many questions, not just on this extremely helpful forum, but from other sources as well!

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I have no doubt that you have your daughter's best interest at heart. :yes: Every parent here can relate to your concerns for her future in ballet and your desire to help her succeed. What I am encouraging you to do is relax a bit. Allow time, maturity and natural development to take their course, utilize your home teacher to her maximum potential and help your daughter become involved in solving her own training challenges by having her approach her teacher and enlist her help.


I understand that each of these suggestions present their own set of challenges. But these actions can produce great long term benefits for your daughter and can increase the chances of her success in ballet. The ballet journey is a long one and slow and steady really does win the race. I know that is hard to hear and even harder to execute, when you are at the starting line with so many other eager and talented young dancers and their moms all jostling for position. But I hope you will reread my earlier post and ruminate a bit on the ideas it contains.

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