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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Growth spurts and training


Teacher5

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My daughter is turning eleven and has grown from the eighteenth percentile to nearly the seventieth in a year or two. She is a very bendy kid and now with her growth, her technique has suffered somewhat. We are caught between a rock and a hard place as she dances at two different schools, one very formal and RAD which is only able to schedule 2 classes a week for her age, ( she could only fit one in this year) and the other which is Russian based and offers a performance program and ballet which involves a lot of extreme stretching etc. My daughter loves the second one but recently has come out of class complaining that her knees etc hurt. I don't think she is turning out from her hips even though the girls have flat turnouts and are doing more difficult steps than in the RAD. Her first love is ballet and I have been told that given her rapid growth, it might be better for her to stick with the slower RAD and forgo the Russian school even though ballet hours for one more year will probably be limited to twice a week. The RAD teacher is very experienced and taught at a well known professional school in the past. She starts her students on pointe at an older age. The other school put my daughter on point at ten ( she was in with girls who are mainly one to two years older) but we discontinued after a couple of weeks when she realized herself that she was not ready. She is also somewhat hyper-mobile and would love to continue in ballet at a higher level someday but does need to work of technique and get used to her new long legs etc. Both teachers are good but have completely different philosophies and opinions.

Are two classes a week in ballet enough for a newly turned eleven year old? It would be difficult going back to this after dancing four to five days a week but I wonder if more is not necessarily better in her situation as overall, she has made less progress in some ways this year. There are really no other alternatives.

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Teacher5, for a child with her body type and that much growth so quickly, my thinking is that slower is better at this point in time. My guess is that she is also hyperextended, and that is probably why she has problems with fifth position. Rotation cannot be forced. Alignment and weight placement are critical to using one's best rotation, and extreme stretching and going on pointe so early are probably not optimal for her. She needs strength more than stretch with hyper-mobility. Perhaps she could take the two ballet classes and add some Pilates work to help with her alignment and strength, and maybe take a different level class in addition to her own level at the RAD school, even if it's a lower level?

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Thank you Ms Leigh. That is my thought as well.

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