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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet class focused mainly on stretching


myrrha

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My 7 yo DD did a trial class at a ballet school today. The teacher for her level has a background mainly in rhythmic gymnastics so the whole class today was spent mainly doing stretching rather than learning ballet technique. My older DD that is 11 yo did a 4 week SI at this same school and has started classes there for the fall, she was previously at another ballet school. I know this is a good school, my older DD really loves it and they have had many graduates that have gone on to become professional ballet dancers. I didn't know what the classes are like for the younger students at this school though, is it good that for the younger dancers they are mainly focusing on stretching and becoming more flexible rather than learning technique? At my older DD's former school, she was being taught more technique rather than just focusing on stretching.

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Maybe they don't do that every class and your dd just happened to try the class on a week that they were doing stretches. I occasionally spend a lesson working mostly on stretching although rarely now as we have separate stretch classes, and not with 7 year olds. I also wouldn't do it on the day somebody was trialling the class as it wouldn't really give them a sense of what we normally do!

I would wait and see what the next class is like I think.

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I agree with BalletTeacherUK. I would also wait to see what the next class is like.

 

That said, there are schools-of-thought which state that one should get them stretched-out whilst they are young enough.

 

I try to get them to get used to stretches, as they are not easy for everyone, considering their growth rates are quite different one to another, as well as other reasons. But, we seldom spend more than five minutes on stretching in a one-hour/week class.

 

-d-

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Oh yes we do a little bit of basic stretching with little ones - touch your toes, sit with legs wide and put your head/shoulders/chest/tummy on the floor, sit in butterfly position etc. but it's never forced and I would never spend more than a few minutes in a class doing them.

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Thanks for your input. I was planning on waiting to see what the other classes are like. She will have class 2 times a week one hour each. When my older DD did the summer intensive there, the teacher that will be teaching my younger one is the one that taught the stretch classes, and as I said, she is not really a ballet dancer, she was rhythmic gymnast trained in Russia, so she had a lot of ballet classes as part of her gymnastics training. I just find it odd that a rhythmic gymnast is teaching ballet. My older DD said that her stretch classes are really good and she has become a lot more flexible over the summer because of them. I hope though that she does get some ballet technique in. My younger DD liked the class but she did say it was hard and she was pretty sore the next day. One exercise she said was hard was they would kneel and then roll forward onto her chest and try to bring her legs up and forward. I've watched my older DD's class do that exercise and some kids can bring their feet all the to the floor in front of them. Is that an exercise a 7 yo should be doing? She already has some flexibility in her back b/c she also takes gymnastics and they do bridges a lot. I wouldn't be opposed to her becoming more flexible, I suppose it would be good for both ballet and gymnastics, I just don't want her to get hurt.

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Hmmm. My daughter used to be in a class just like that. And it stayed like that for the whole year. She didn't like it but she loved being in the school's (very good) nutcracker and their spring show.

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My DD was a rhythmic gymnast. As long as the stretches are student led (ie, no one is pushing or pulling on her) I don't think there is much risk of getting hurt. And flexibility is much easier achieved while young. Also with a rg background, it is natural the teacher finds flexibility important. If it were me, I'd wait to see what the rest of classes were like, perhaps once a week is a flexibility heavy class, and the others more technique based? At 7 how much technique is really necessary, or is it mostly body awareness type things? (I don't know, my DD didn't start ballet as anything but supplementary to gymnastics until age 11)

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My DD had a teacher (who was also a current professional dancer) when she was 7-8ish that did stretching a lot in class too. I always felt a tad annoyed (but never said anything) as it felt like she did these all-stretch classes when she was not prepared with combinations and/or was feeling a little lazy.

 

Soon, this instructor was gone and the new instructor (owner and Co-AD) gave a speech to the kids about "you are never too flexible for ballet" and "we are not going to waste our technique time stretching when you should be doing that at home." Both my DD and I were happy with that strategy! And, to this day she is really committed to stretching at home and loves to arrive for class 20-30 minutes before class and stretch in the dressing room.

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