Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Stretch Only Class


TheCheckWriter

Recommended Posts

Our ballet school offers a stretch class once a week for one hour. My 11 year old DD wanted to take the class because she really wants to increase her flexibility, particularly to attain the splits. I was wondering if one hour a week would even make a difference one way or the other? She of couurse has stretch during her three regular ballet classes and during her jazz class, so she is already stretching four days a week. Is an extra hour a week/an extra day a week going to give her a leg up or should I just encourage her to stretch as much as possible at home? I already feel like I spend every waking minute in my car driving to dance, so unless this extra class is really necessary, I would rather not sign her up! :thumbsup: Can she get just as much, or more from following her own stretch routine at home, especially if she stretches every day?

Link to comment

I apologize if I am speaking out of turn with the teachers but I wanted to put in my 2 cents here. As a parent I feel that it is important that students, especially younger students, be given more formal instruction about proper stretching as injuries can occur if they do not know the limits which they should follow. We have seen some horrific things occur due to self-guided stretching, and we know a young student who ended up with a serious hip injury due to stretching her leg up in a door jam beyond her actual range of motion.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

I think she is doing quite enough for 11 years old. I also do not encourage a lot of stretching at home except for working on the feet with a theraband, if she has learned how to do that correctly. At home they are not properly warmed up for flexibility stretching, and I do not trust that that age group has enough knowledge to work unsupervised by a teacher.

 

By the way, doing splits is SO not critical to ballet, plus, doing them is how one achieves them. They ARE the stretch for flexibility, but, they must be done when fully warmed up. Kids seem to think that once they achieve that they have arrived. Nope, sorry, doesn't work that way. Splits are not even in the vocabulary of classical ballet. They are just a stretching exercise.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

We were posting at the same time yankee, and I totally agree with you. You are right on and we are basically saying the same thing.

Link to comment

Thank you Ms. Leigh and yankee. I didn't think about the possibility of injury if she wasn't properly warmed up at home. Yankee, I am glad you mentioned the door stretcher. My DD had seen pictures of them in a dance magazine and had said she wanted one. I couldn't find one in my local dance store and now I am thankful because I would not have let her use it after I read your experience with one. I am also very happy to know that I won't be holding her back by not signing her up for another class. My three other children already give me enough push back for our current classes. Speaking of stretching machines, are the contraptions that are made to stretch the foot (I think you put your foot inside of them) just as potentially dangerous as the door stretcher? I had not considered getting one, but thought I would ask the question because some parents may look at these ads in the magazines and assume they are all safe for use.

Link to comment

Again, speaking as a parent I personally would not allow my daughter to use something that stretches her feet. She is continuing to focus on proper execution of tendu and releve exercises, among others, and has also been taught how to use a theraband.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

As a teacher I do not recommend foot stretching devices except for therabands. I really feel that the work has to be done by the student, not by a device which is probably not even effective. If the student learns how to WORK her feet, and to really USE them well in classes, plus some stretching with the help of the theraband, that should be quite sufficient. :)

Link to comment

Thank you Ms. Leigh. My DD does use therabands in pre-pointe class. Hopefully other parents who might consider purchasing these "gimmick" products will read your comments and will know to avoid them.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

Actually, we have some topics from the past that discuss these things, but I'm not sure where they are. Probably YD 13-16, or Pointe Shoe Topics. Sorry, I don't have time right now to search, but if you are interested, they are here somewhere! :)

Link to comment

I think it's worthwhile an 11 year old attending a stretch class. In her regular class she may find that she only has a couple of minutes to stretch and it may be just a question of splits each way before continuing with her class. I know that's how it is in my classes but then the classes aren't long enough to do much more. We do have a body conditioning class available to students which includes stretching.

 

With a dedicated stretch class she could be learning a lot more about how to correctly stretch a variety of muscles. Proper stretching can help reduce muscle bulk so learning to stretch the glutes and quads (for example) correctly may help to lengthen the muscles and reduce bulk which can often be a problem. They might also cover foot stretches which could improve her arch and back stretches which would ultimately aid her arabesque. It's very hard to cover that many different stretches in regular technique class and give each student some time with the teacher.

 

It probably isn't really necessary younger than 11 but I would say now onwards would only help her. It's just a shame that the stretch class doesn't fall straight after a technique class, then it could be shortened as a warm up wouldn't be required and it would save another drive to dance!

Link to comment
Preferably from the ballet teacher.

Ms. Leigh,

Do you think it would be fine if I bought the book and thera bands that Gaynor Minden puts out? And maybe have her ballet teacher review it with her? For some reason this hasn't come up. My DD is 11 yo and has good feet (nicely pointed toes and high arch) but I see those girls with incredible feet (born naturally that way...???) and I was thinking maybe with some work on the feet she can come along nicely. Thanks for any suggestions.

Link to comment
  • Administrators

If she has good feet already, the major thing she needs to do is learn to really use them and work them well, with a lot of articulation. Nothing develops great feet better than learning to articulate good feet. :)

 

Unless they have improved them, the Gaynor Minden therabads are not very strong. And I really don't think a book is needed. Better to learn from a teacher.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...