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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tries too hard? How does she fix it?


pumpkinangel

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pumpkinangel

My 15 year old dd started ballet at 11. She studied at a recreational school for 1.5 years before moving to a pre-pro. She has worked so hard to catch up to her peers and I am so proud of how far she has come. She is now working with her teacher in private lessons. Her teacher told her that she tries too hard and needs to relax. How does she do that? She is attentive, asks questions, and does everything that is asked of her. She frequently gets comments from her teacher and the AD that she has improved greatly and has a great facility for ballet. However, my untrained eye can see that she is not as strong as her peers and still needs to do extra to catch up, if she ever will. She and I just don't understand how to relax when there is still so much to do. Can anyone give any advice or is this just something she has to figure out herself?

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learningdance

Perhaps the advice might be worded better as "be patient with yourself."

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Victoria Leigh

She needs to use the "Just Do It" mantra! :wink: Seriously, she needs to realize that ballet cannot be rushed, and that she is still young and has time. She cannot catch up all at once, and needs to allow herself the extra time. Spend more time allowing herself to just dance and enjoy it, and not over-think everything! I find working with a student's breathing helps, and also really getting them into listening to the music and letting that motivate their movements.

 

It's not easy, but nothing in ballet is easy! But I think the teacher who is telling her to relax needs to use some methods of helping her do that! If this teacher can't do that, maybe a different teacher would be better for her at this point, in terms of privates. But the main thing is that the child must understand that the "catching up" cannot be done yesterday! And, it doesn't have to be. She has plenty of time. :)

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If her teacher is talking at all about relaxing her body as she dances, then yoga might be something good to add, even if it's just once a week. My daughter started doing yoga regularly the year she graduated high school, and found that it taught her the difference between tight muscles and relaxed muscles in a way that ballet class itself never did. She was then able to apply what she learned to her ballet classes. Her yoga classes were Bikram hot yoga.

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I think learning to relax is one of the paradoxes of ballet dancing. It seems like it takes a lot of effort but it actually is done accurately when you are relaxed and using the proper muscles and placement. This takes a long time to learn. In my experience, the teacher needs to point out the places where dancers are holding tension and help them to 'let go' in that area through a lot of repetition. Your dd should be given lots of affirmations for her earnestness and determination! She sounds like a wonderful student.

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She mught be thinking too much about the steps or combinations rather than letting them flow naturally.

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pumpkinangel

Thank you everyone. I will tell DD to ask her teacher to be more specific as to how she can relax. She does have an end-of-year conference with the AD in a couple of weeks, so that will be a good time to discuss this. I know she was disappointed to hear this. Since she has worked so hard to do well, it just seems like another obstacle. But, in reading posts on here over the years, it seems like that is the nature of the beast, so to speak.

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pumpkinangel

lovedance - I think you might have hit the nail on the head. I believe she does think so much about each movement. Like Ms. Leigh mentioned, she can't catch up all at once. This is an area that her peers have an advantage with the years of repetition and muscle memory that she does not have. DD probably just needs more time to cook before things will come more naturally.

 

Ms. Leigh - it is nice to hear that there is still time for her. Sometimes we feel like 15 is so old in terms of ballet training. It can make us feel a little panicked in trying to catch up. :)

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Clutterbug

Hello pumpkinangel, I had a deja vu moment when I read your topic title because I posted the same question on this forum a couple of years ago! As usual all the collective wisdom of the members helped immensely. That's why I love this forum :clapping: . Here is the link http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=54486&hl=+tries++too++hard if you haven't found it already.

In our experience it seemed to be a "stage" that DD had to work through. She still tries very hard in lessons (it's always commented on in evaluations) but she has also learnt how to relax to allow her movements to flow and also to enjoy the moment.

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pumpkinangel

Clutterbug-thank you for the link. I have started reading the posts and there are some great suggestions.

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