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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Jumps


Guest tipo'thetoes

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Guest tipo'thetoes

My daughter is tall with reasonably long feet for a girl of 11. She has good elevation in her jumps, but seems to have a few minor problems when jumping. I've noticed that she doesn't go right through her feet when she jumps. She's had this comment a few times from adjudicators she has come across at dance festivals, but not from her own teacher. To be honest her teacher rarely gives individual corrections. Classes are big and I could count on one hand the number of times my daughter has received an individual correction in the last year. With this in mind I wondered if anybody could suggest how she ought to work on improving this. I'll pass on your comments and hopefully it will give her something to think about in class. She jumps straight from the ball of her feet such that her heels don't touch the ground between jumps. Because of this, she does not really seem to plie between jumps, but because she jumps high, she has been told that she has good jumps. However, I know she is supposed to jump right through the feet and I wonder if jumping only on the ball of her feet is one factor in her starting to develop bunions.

 

Secondly, she seems to have difficulty stretching her feet in jumps. Her feet are very flexible with high arches and they look lovely and pointed at the barre and in adage. However when jumping her feet look quite different; not stretched much at all! Is it all related or is it because she has longer feet and there isn't much time to stretch them before she lands? How could she work to improve this?

 

Thirdly, because her right hip is looser than her left, it is noticeably less turned out in her jumps, even though it really has more turnout than the left hip. It doesn't look right to me as when you look at her from the front, it looks like shes is only plieing with her left hip. Presumably this could put her off balance.

 

Whatever pointers and suggestions people have for all of these, ahe and I would be really grateful!

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These are issues to be addressed by a teacher with the student in front of her. She is only 11. She is growing. Jumps take time and strength takes time, and that is why it takes so many years to train a dancer.

 

The only thing I will say is that she does need to be corrected, by her teacher on putting her heels down, good jump or not. It is not safe to jump from the ball of the foot. I don't know about bunions, but I do know it's not healthy for the achilles tendon.

 

If her teacher is not correcting her and she is not learning what she needs to be learning, then I would suggest investigating a different school. That said, I find very, very few 11 year olds who have it all together when they jump. That is one of the last areas to develop and almost none of them do it with control of their feet and rotation and correct usage of everything at this age.

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Guest tipo'thetoes

Thank you for your response. It's reassuring to hear that jumps are a common area of concern. I guess I was concerned because we had some watching classes (where parents watch class) last week and several of the other children seemed to have much more secure jumps.

 

I have known for some time that we ought to find a different teacher, but this teacher has the best reputation within travel distance for us. We already travel a long distance to get to her classes. However, I get the impression that the majority of her attention goes to her favourites and my daughter isn't one of them. Plus the sheer quantity of children in class causes much to go unnoticed.

 

As it happens my daughter will be leaving soon as she is starting full time at The Royal Ballet School in September. However, she and I wondered if there was something she could do to improve her jumps in the mean time. She doesn't want to turn up at the school in September with a problem that has to be fixed. She knows it will be very competitive there and doesn't want to have an obvious flaw when she starts. Are there some safe exercises she could do at home or is simply a case of practising?

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Tip'othetoes, if an 11 year old arrived at RBS without anything that has to fixed it would be such a miracle that they would not know what to do with her! :unsure: Seriously, relax. No one expects everything to be there at this age. All students have areas of strength and areas that are not as strong, and we (the teachers) know and expect that. They have to be allowed to develop and simply cannot be expected to be strong in everything as a child. It takes 10 years of solid training to develop a professional dancer. The fact that she is accepted into the RBS is proof in itself that there is potential. Just relax, let her be a child for the summer, and then the teachers will do their work in the fall! :D

 

[Practicing jumps at home is not a good idea. In fact, at 11, I would not encourage a lot of practice in anything at home, because they usually do not have enough knowledge of what they are doing to practice it correctly without a teacher. Bad habits can be built very quickly and easily.]

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Guest tipo'thetoes

Thank you. Sometimes I do need somebody to tell me to relax! I do worry about things and I guess my daughter has inherited the habit from me! I'm grateful for your reasurance. My daughter and I are both aware that appraisals come around not long after starting at the school and I guess that's what's causing the anxiety.

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Thank you. Sometimes I do need somebody to tell me to relax! I do worry about things and I guess my daughter has inherited the habit from me! I'm grateful for your reasurance. My daughter and I are both aware that appraisals come around not long after starting at the school and I guess that's what's causing the anxiety.

 

Your can help your dd's anxiety by relaxing. Let her know you will be proud of her no matter what. Then go ahead and be proud of her no matter what. There isn't much you can do in the way of her ballet development. RBS will take care of that. Your role as a ballet mum is to be supportive. There will be bumps along the way and she will need you to be her rock. Then there may be those days when she won't want anything at all to do with you. It is part of her growing up.

 

As far as her appraisal, she doesn't have to be perfect, as Ms. Leigh said. She has to be on track and making acceptable progress. Some make it and some don't. And it hurts the dk's and parents alike when they don't make it. Your dd just needs to know she will always be your precious child, dancer or not.

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Guest tipo'thetoes

I think she knows that. I'm very ambivalent about her dancing. I had several reservations about her accepting the place at RBS and I wouldn't mind at all were she to change her mind about it, but I don't want her to be hurt. She and I have been through quite a tough time and her self esteem is quite fragile. I simply want to do whatever I can to support her with what she wants to do and to avoid her getting hurt. I guess what you're saying is that there will be inevitable bumps and instead of attempting to avoid them, it's preferable to find ways to cope with them. I don't know much about the dance world. It's a rapid learning experience for me and I'd like to know more about those bumps in order to be prepared to cope with them.

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Just keep reading these forums, tip'othetoes! I think you will discover all the bumps and more here. :shrug:

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Just remember, moral support is the parent's best skill! Employ that, and you will be doing the right thing. :shrug:

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