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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet and Gymnastics - Beneficial or Detrimental?


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I totally agree that the time committment is starting to become a big issue now that my dd is taking more ballet classes and has started en pointe. She is managing at the moment, but I foresee a choice having to be made between the two in the next year or so. My dd's love and interest is starting to lean more towards the aesthetics of ballet as well--she loves the costumes, the onstage performances to live music and yes--the pointe shoes!! Since my dd is "a thinker" when it comes to gymnastics skills, fear issues are continuing to set in her for on the harder scarier high flying skills. Thankfully, she has not encountered any "fear issues" with ballet as of yet!

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Agreed, it is very hard to do both that is why it is rare, but also extraordinary. I think what makes it worthwhile is the facilities that could help to develop as previously discussed. I recall Marie Tallchief wrote she was stunned at Suzanne Farrell's facility in her bio. I believe ballet training could give you 99% ability needed, but 1% distingushing quality needs to be acquired at early age even if it is in you. And that acquisition could go beyond balllet training itself or regular pillate classes, and gymnastics helps! Certainly it comes at a cost like bad hand or arm or back habits. But they are correctable and teachable, facility is something that is UNteachable! You can't blame an AD recruits a less perfect technician with spectacular extension over a perfect technician but average facility.


Granted, gym world champion Shawn Johnson could never be picked up as a ballerina although she won the Dancing with Stars, but I believe olympic champ Nastia Liukin would make a fantastic ballerina if she wants to. The argument that gym develops wrong muscles is not necessarily true and it depends! In the end, it is an ultimate private decision.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In regards to Shawn Johnson (I'm a super fan of gymnastics so this topic inspires me :)), I don't believe it is gymnastics that CAUSED her to not have a balletic body. Gymnastics overall is more forgiving as in if you can acheive the skills, you will be able to compete. There are many gymnastics competing now that definately have the body types that could be beneficial in ballet, especially if they were trained that way.


There is actually a lot of discussion about how far away gymnastics has come from being "artistic". If you look at the old soviets, they had extensive ballet training. The skill level and dismantling of the Soviet Union has created much more athletic gymnasts, who don't pay as much attention to dance and grace.


But I digress. It definately gets hard to do both because ballet and gymnastics are hugely time consuming. My DD took gymnastics starting at age 3, but by age 7 she was already training about 14 hours a week. She loves ballet and wants to be able to still do someother things, so couldn't commit to continued gymnastics training, although it has made her very flexible and strong...and very confident.

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  • 10 years later...

hi I suggest asking your DD which one she likes more because if you keep up with the 2, I'm afraid your DD wont have a perfect dancers body since a body of a gymnast is usually really muscular with short legs while the body of a dancer is usually really skinny with long legs. Thats just my opinion though.... If your dd wants to do both then thats fine this is just what i recommend doing

Edited by Redbookish
Edited to convert text speak to standard English for the wide variety of non-English speakers on this messageboard
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