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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet and gymnastics

Guest tokyorose

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Guest tokyorose

Hi there


My daughter whom is 11 later on this year, is currently taking classes in ballet, tap and modern.

This term she will be taking about 5 hours of ballet a week, as well as some classes of jazz, modern and tap.


She also takes gymnastics classes 5 - 7 hours a week, about 3 hours of this is spent conditioning and stretching. Although she is only in a recreational class, she is part of the elite group who are expected to compete in the out of age national competitions so it is quite serious and they train on bars, beam, vault and floor.


Although she loves her gym she is starting to take her dance far more seriously and also has a place on 2 associate programs.


My question is - Should she be thinking about giving up the gym now? And how detrimental will it be to her dance or more specifically ballet?


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Edited by tokyorose
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Hi, rose.


At the outset, ballet and gymnastics seem to have a lot in common, but as the student advances, more and more things start to conflict with one another, like where to spot in turns, line in various poses, and even how to stand! Eventually, there will have to come a parting of the ways when it comes to study of the two disciplines, so if it's coming naturally, probably best to let it happen.

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Guest tokyorose

Hi Mel


Thank you, that's exactly what I would have thought, however if the parting of the ways doesn't happen naturally, when should I try to encourage this?


What I mean is how long can she continue to do both without it causing problems with her ballet?

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We were told that the parting of the ways needed to come when going on pointe. The dance studio said that the need for squared (parallel) hips for gymastics conflicted too much with the turnout needed for ballet at that stage of training.

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Guest tokyorose

Thanks for that. That isn't a problem for us yet then. Not sure what her teacher has in mind, she goes to the point class but isn't on point yet. I haven't asked as I trust her teacher implicitly, she isn't one to put them on too early. :yes:

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My daughter did ballet for 4 years, then did gymnastics for 4 years (got up to USAG L6-7) and is now back in ballet for almost 2 years. When she first started gymnastics, they kept telling us that they had to get the dancer out of her. Then she returned to ballet and they said they had to get the gymast out of her. But, I think gymnastics did amazing things for her as a dancer - she came back to dance a lot stronger than when she left, especially in her core, feet and ankles. But, she had to lose the muscle bulk that she developed as a gymnast and work on strengthening and lengthening those muscles, especially in her thighs. And as someone mentioned in an earlier post, she had to re-learn turnout.


I just asked my daughter and she said another thing she struggled with was carriage. In gymnastics they want shoulders back, chest out.So, it was hard for her in ballet when she had to work in keeping shoulders over hips, especially on pointe.


Oops, I just realized that I was in wrong forum. The daughter I am referring to is 15. But, I do have a 12 yo tap dancer if that keeps me out of trouble. I was wondering why none of the topics looked familiar and I couldn't find a topic that I started. :yes:

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I don't think the stronger was all gymnastics....she was also 4 years older! Even if it was, I don't think it was worth it in view of all the things that had to be re-trained.


Rose, I would think that now might be a good time to lose the gymnastics, if she is indeed more serious about ballet.

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Guest tokyorose

Thank you for all these comments.


I guess I knew the answer, but was hoping that perhaps it wouldn't be a problem to keep it going for another year or two.


I think one of the reasons it will be so hard is that my daughter has made a lot of friends and their group is very small (only 7) and they have all become very close, and me with the parents so its a social thing too.


She has a competition in October so perhaps we will do that and then knock it on the head! The next level is much harder anyway and she is already worrying about it, so this is a way out.

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Doubleturn was kind enough to send me some thoughts on the matter via PM. You may be in a similar situation, so it may be useful to you to know from a tactical and psychological point of view as to how to time the break, or to massage the timing to cause minimum stress:


I have a pupil in very much the same position, she has just turned eleven and has been competing with much older age groups in gymnastics and trampolining. The clash of techniques has become obvious over the last couple of years and this spring I told her mother, in the nicest way possible, that she would not fulfil her potential in ballet if she tried to do both.


The mother's reply was that in the Autumn (i.e. now) the child would reduce her hours at the gym because new age restrictions were coming into force and younger children would no longer be able to compete in older age groups.


From the social standpoint, there's no reason why she can't keep her friends from gymnastics, they just have to adjust their point of meeting to other than the gym!

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I would have her quit only if she's realy ready to quit herself.Because especially when it's such a small group of gymnasts you should not underestimate the bond there is between the girls.

Gymnastics is hard and they are all going trough the same,so they stick together.

My daughter quit rhytmic gymnastics last year after being traumatised by two russian coaches. And now,after a year of tears and missing her friends and rg in general,she decided to go back.

So now she's combining ballet and rg.

The combination of rg and ballet is not as difficult as the combination of AG and ballet,because ballet is a rather important part of rg,but still it won't be an easy year.She has 14 hours of rg and 4 hours of ballet.

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Having had a DD who did competitive gymnastics alongside ballet early on, I don't think you need to make a decision for her. She will be able to make her own decision soon enough. At 11 there may still be enough hours in the day to do both but at 12 and 13 she will have to cut back on one naturally to make way for a more intense schedule for the other.


Given that neither activity has a golden road to success, I suggest you begin implement the truths that while ballet will compliment her gymnastics throughout her gymnastic career, gymnastics will not complement her ballet the further up the ballet ladder she wants to go. Pave the way that a 1st choice will need to be made soon and then allow her to make the choice naturally. It is her choice to make in the end. As mom, you will be the one in the wrong if you make the choice for her so just speak the truths about each program, that there will be conflicts and allow her passion and desire to do the rest through open discussion.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest MasterPuppeteer

The other day, DH and I were talking about our peewee dancer/gymnast and speculating, based on her personality, which activity she'll likely pursue in the long haul. My take is that gymnastics might win out because of all the bouncing and flipping and tumbling. DH's take: "She better end up in the activity that gives out the most amount of college scholarships."


Men. What are ya gonna do about them?

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