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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Exercises for hypermobile 8-year old dancer


iol

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Hi,

 

My DD is 8-year old and she takes 1h weekly ballet lesson, next fall will be 2x1h, this is the max amount they want 8 or 9-year olds to do. Last year she took preballet and before that creative movement class. She saw a physiotherapist for tight achilles tendons and we were told she has some hypermobility and should be careful to strech correctly. Her ballet teacher also mentioned that she needs to become stronger because of her flexible joints.

 

So what kind of exercises should she do to gain strenght? She has swayback and needs core strenght to help with her posture. Her feet and knees are also hypermobile. I'm thinking she should do regular exercises rather than ballet exercises.

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I would suggest you check in with her Physiotherapist and her ballet teacher for guidance regarding age appropriate concerns and exercises. The ballet exercises done under the guidance of her teacher will be very helpful for her. At age 8, sway backs and 'teddy bear bellies' are quite typical due to the nature of children's developing and maturing muscles.. The ballet training will help with that as her muscles develop and mature.

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iol- Welcome to Ballet talk for Dancers!!!! How many ballet classes and other movement classes does she take per week? How long are her ballet classes?

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I will have her ask her teacher for suggestions. She wants to practice home and used to strech but I have told her not to as her physiotherapist said she does not really need to strech anything else except what physio told her to do and I often see her do some ballet as well. I think it might benefit her more to do some nonballet exercises.

 

Yes, the physiotherapist said the same thing about the posture (that it is very common at this age) but DD complains that she needs to be corrected about the posture all the time. I think her core just does not have enought strenght.

 

She only takes one 1h class each week and next fall will take two classes (either 1h or 75min each, not sure). She does not take any other dance classes or sports. Her school is only ballet at this age and this is her first year she could take real ballet.

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"Patience, grasshopper, patience". :D

 

I would suggest she listen to her physiotherapist and her teacher. :)

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My hypermobile daughter is 12 now - she has had several physical therapists use the rubber band analogy to explain her situation. She's bendy, like a rubber band, but rubber bands are rather weak. So more stretching just weakens the muscles. It has taken some time (and is always a work in progress) but we're starting to get the right combination of strengthening and stretching. She will still notice a decrease in strength if she focuses too much on stretching, and has to remember that it is all a balance. At 8, though, it was very little work outside of class unless she had a specific problem (joint pain, etc).

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My DD has always been very petite and struggled with strength issues. When she was that age, the best advice I got was to make sure she got plenty of time outdoors to play (run, skip, jump rope, climb trees, whatever kids like to do) and to take her swimming. Both my dancers also have hypermobility in various joints, which has actually resulted in strange patterns of muscle tightness where they weren't strong enough to control the joint.

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It is funny because I have always thought her more as a strong child rather than flexible. She is lean but has a muscular build. I never noticed the joint flexibility before physio pointed it out and she is not super flexible. When I asked she told me that she was more flexible than most in her ballet class.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd like to chime in as I have 2 daughters with different flexibility. Being "flexible" is not just one and the same thing.

 

DD14 is hypermobile, her knees and elbows hyper-extend (straighten then go more than 180 degrees) Her back is also like that. Her lower body muscles are tight and she has hard time with splits.

 

DD11 is what people flexible, she can easily lift her leg and touch the ear… but her knees look slightly bent and that's how far she can push them. Also her back cannot bend backward like her sister.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about it as your DD is still little and growing. Just be careful with her training.

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