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Knee strain?


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My 6yo dd just got accepted to the minis competition team at our studio and recently finished a 3 day "intensive" at the studio. She's really thrown herself into practicing and stretching too. For the past few days she's been complaining of knee pain, especially when doing even mild stretches. It's not been bad enough to stop her, but it has me a bit concerned. Is this just normal soreness our should I have this checked by a Dr? I have no experience with dance, and really don't know what to expect as she learns and tries more advanced things...

Edited by LittleDivaDancer
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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, LittleDivaDancer. :)


There is no way to know what happened, but she was doing a whole lot of dancing for a 6 year old, especially if she is practicing and stretching on her own. They really do not have enough training at that point to know how to practice, and stretching should be carefully controlled in classes. Most likely she just strained her knee a bit, and if it does not continue to hurt I would not worry about it. If she complains of pain over a few days, then get it checked out.

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Since my DD is a former gymnast, the practicing of gymnastics elements on hard dance floors gives me the willies. And, mini age group is full of gymnastics tricks in the comp world. Is it possible they have been doing gymnastics elements and she jarred it or landed badly?

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Thanks for the quick replies!


Ms. Leigh - Thanks for the welcome! I'm so glad to have found these boards. I was not aware that she should only be doing stretching in classes! She's just been doing some of the basic things they did in the 3-day and class - plies, "butterflies" (not sure if this is a real term? while sitting w/feet together, flapping knees towards floor like a butterfly?) and working on her splits (has had straddle - I think that's the term? - split down for ages, almost has left & right). Also some *very* basic leaps (more like running hops...lol) and practicing spotting when she turns. Are any of these ok to do at home? Classes are out for the summer and won't be back till "boot camp" in August, and she wants to stay limber and ready. Plus, I don't think there's any way to keep her from dancing for a whole month! lol


dancypants - she doesn't do any gymnastics-type tricks at home.Our floors are hard wood and not good for any kind of tumbling. She uses a yoga mat just for stretches! And they haven't done much in the way of tricks yet. I think they may have started learning cartwheels (I'm sure there's a dance term for those but I don't know it :blush:), but I don't think she could have jarred it. The DT was basically lifting them through the motions, but slowly. But I guess it could be a possibility?


Thanks again for the responses and I will definitely keep on eye on her.

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I think cartwheels are always just cartwheels. Interestingly, side and front aerials are referred to as "butterfly turns" in rhythmic gymnastics, and they are the only tumbling moves allowed.I might be the only one who finds that interesting.


My DD is a comp dancer, so I see a lot of mini dances that are primarily gymnastics, so I wanted to throw it out as a possibility. It sounds like you have a good idea of what is going on, safe, etc, which is great! For all my "willies" about the hard floor, my DD is "girl who does aerials and backhandsprings" for all her comp and recital dances. I'm comfortable with it for her, but I see a lot of very frightening gymnastics at comps and I think in general, dance teachers should not double as gymnastics teachers.


Have fun with her, that age is amazing! They are just finding their passion, and it's so precious.

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LittleDivaDancer, in ballet we do not encourage 6 year olds to practice at home. They do not have enough training to know what things to do and how to do them, and will only build in bad habits.Splits are flexibility stretches and need to be done when warmed up from ballet, and watched very carefully for doing them correctly. They can actually put quite a lot of stress on the knees. Unfortunately, there are a lot of schools and teachers who do not really stress that, but instead just tell them to 'do' them. Leaps and turns should also not be practiced at home. But, since she is in a different kind of school, I have no experience with expectations of a 6 year old for a competition company. In ballet schools 6 year olds are in pre-ballet, usually with only one class a week. They move to 2 classes a week when they get to Ballet I, but they would still not be encouraged to practice at home. The more they do without guidance and correction, the more things have to be relearned later.


Not trying to discourage her enthusiasm, but I'm afraid that I do have a problem with most competition schools. While there are some that do actually have "real" ballet training, to some extent, many do not. I hope yours is one of those schools that does, but in most the students are focused on learning "routines" and performing, at the expensive of learning technique.

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Thank you again for the fast and very helpful replies!


dancypants - I have seen some, what I feel, are more gymnastics routines than dance routines performed by some minis groups, and have always found them odd. Our studio does have a comp team that is strictly acro though. The "regular" comp teams don't seem to do an excessive amount of this though, which I think is nice. I'm not overly concerned with her injuring herself by doing crazy gymnastics stunts on a hard stage! And I am loving 6!! I've said a few times over the year that I wish I could just freeze her here. She's old enough to be able to do so many things, but still young enough to be a little girl who loves to hang out with Mommy! lol She's just come into he dancing passion in the last 6 months or so (even though she's danced since she was 4) and it's been so wonderful to see. :wub:


Ms. Leigh - She'll be starting pre-ballet in the fall. The school does stress ballet (in fact, you are not allowed to be enrolled in lyrical, jazz or acro classes w/out also being enrolled in ballet) but as far as it being "real" ballet I don't have enough knowledge yet to know. I know I've seen the older girls perform at recital and they dance beautifully as far as my untrained eye can see. I do know our studio does stress technique - especially in the comp girls. My dd is required to take pre-ballet, pre-jazz and beginning acro in addition to a strictly technique-only class for the comp team weekly, in addition to any extra time rehearsing numbers. They are encouraged to take lyrical as well. She'll be in 4+ hours of class a week this year (haven't decided on the lyrical yet). Seems like a lot to me, but she's in heaven! lol I was not aware that splits put a lot of stress on the knees - I will definitely have her hold off on those and see if that helps the knee strain. She's been working really hard on "getting her splits" and I'm wondering if she's doing it improperly and that may be causing the strain. Thanks soooo much for that info! It never occurred to me that the splits would put strain on the knees, but I can see how it would. And I'll make sure leaps and turns are only done in class. No one told her to practice them - she just really enjoys it! It seems I have a lot to learn! :blush:

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