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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Articles: When is there a reason to not stretch?


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Traditional barre exercises are not being replaced- these other forms are being added.

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As a once upon a time competitive weightlifter, former track coach (throws), and one who includes weights in his regular exercise program, I can't believe I'm going to say this, but unless one is tremendously weak it isn't necessary for a ballet dancer to do any weight training. If a dancer wants to do weight training, it's a fine form of exercise, it's a healthy form of exercise, but it likely will not affect ballet performance much at all. It's unlikely to affect how one looks simply because a necessary condition for that to happen is to seriously train with weights, something that a dancer just doesn't have the time (or energy) to do.

 

With regard to stretching and warm up, one can do any version of the yoga sun salutation and you'll get both the rise in core body temperature and stretching in. I've used a "dancy" version as a standard warm up for both class and performance for many years. What doesn't raise your core temperature is holding a stretch for a long time (30+ seconds). In sun salutations, poses aren't held that long.

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Very interesting conversation....... Good points, Garyecht. I agree regarding weight training, stretching and warm-up, and sun salutations as a good example of a warm up stretch that has dynamic movement (not just a held stretch). Doing a little of this or other stretches before class seems really helpful, and a bit after, if desired, too. To me, a bit of cross-training -- i.e. a different dance form; swimming occasionally, and I am a huge fan of taking walks -- gets kinks out and seems to give ballet muscles a little vacation, too, kind of like a varied diet.

 

Stretching also seems to be a matter of personal preference rather than exact science -- as to what "feels good" in my opinion as well. I've stretched daily my whole life (for about 1/2 an hour just taking a break from sitting or working), so prolonged stretching as a main activity is not something I feel a need for....Different strokes for different folks, in other words. Though I realize others may have very different opinions entirely.

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