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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Jumping Help and Building Strength


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Throwaway account because this is obviously really embarassing to me even though it probably shouldn't be. I'm a 16 year old girl and I started ballet for the first time a few months ago. It was something I've always wanted to do and I decided to just go for it. I'm not unrealistic, I don't have any professional aspirations, i just want to improve and eventually go en pointe. I do it because I love it. I thought I was doing really well because I quickly moved up from ballet I to ballet II but apparently it's the same type of information just ballet II moves quicker. Still, it's nice not to have to be in with 1st graders where the class stops constantly because they need to be reminded which foot is right and which foot is left. 

Part of my issue is that I'm not small like the other girls. I'm 5'8 and I don't know how much I weigh (I'm recovering from an ED so I'm not allowed to know exactly. I accidentally saw it in my chart a while back but I don't know how accurate or current it is). This doesn't bother me in terms of looks or anything, I'm comfortable with and proud of my body, and since I don't want to be a professional it shouldn't be that much of an issue. Besides, there's a girl in a higher level than me who's bigger than I am and also teaches there so I'm not too worried. But I think this is relevant to the strength issue. I'm terrible at jumping. Horrendous. I can sorta point my feet in the air doing temps leves in 1st and 2nd, not so much in 5th. I just can't get off the ground long enough to bring my legs together in sous sus and point my feet. And my assembles and jetes are even worse. I literally wince every time I see myself in the mirror. I can't help it, it looks so ugly. I know what it's supposed to look like and I'm not even close. To be fair, I did sprain my ankle in August (right as I was going into class, I slipped and fell. It was the second class of the semester and my first time in ballet II. I was devastated), but it's mostly better now, even though it's still weaker than my other foot. It's not for lack of trying either. I know what I'm supposed to do, I know how I'm supposed to do it, but my body just won't cooperate and it's so frustrating and embarassing when literally every other person in class can do it right. I push myself so hard every class, by the end I'm soaked with sweat and about ready to pass out but it still isn't enough. There's another girl in my clsss, a bit younger than me who's been doing it for about as long as I have, a few months less actually. But she's so much better than I am and my teacher has said he's considering her for ballet III soon. I know I shouldn't compare myself to other people because everyone's different and she's smaller than I am anyway so it makes sense that she doesn't have as much difficulty lifting herself off the ground but I can't help it. Her older sister used to bully me and even though she's super sweet to me I'm always secretly competing with her - and failing. I feel like everyone in class is judging me for not being able to do these simple things and I feel even worse because I worry that they're already judging me because I'm not thin. I feel a lot of pressure to prove that I can be just as good as everyone else regardless of what I weigh and I'm failing. By the end of every class I'm on the verge of tears, it's so upsetting. I genuinely feel like I'm the worst person in class. There are two that might be as bad or worse but they also almost never show up, only a few classes a month out of 8. I'm here every week except for when I first sprained my ankle and I'm still terrible. This isn't to say I haven't seen improvement because I have, but I still don't feel like I can compare. 

I think my main problem is that I'm not strong enough to get myself off  the ground yet since I weigh more than most girls there, I need more muscle to jump high enough. My teacher said in class that if we don't point our feet when we jump, we'll start building bulk. Is that going to interfere with my dancing? Looks wise I couldn't care less, just as long as I can dance. But I can barely point my feet at the barre. And in the center? Forget it. I asked him about this and he said I should push on the barre, at least until I can pointe my feet in the air without it. Well, that works for my temps leves in 5th, but not for my assembles and jetes. And the barre I practice with at home is aluminum so I'm really scared I'll break it or bend it which would be so embarrassing and also a huge waste of money. That barre was my early Christmas present. 

Sorry for the long vent, I needed to get it all out.

What do you guys think? Are there any bigger girls here who have any advice/tips/tricks that helped you? Will building bulk hinder me in the long run? What are some exercises I can do to build the right kind of strength for jumping? Repeated plies and grand plies? How much weight can those aluminum barrels hold anyway? I'm using the Vita Vibe 5 foot aluminum double barre.

Thanks in advance for any help and advice!

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Sorry, Throwaway, but the rules of the Young Dancer Forum state that members cannot respond to questions prior to a Teacher Moderator response, I had to hide ppixie's post.

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