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Everything posted by drdance

  1. Why do you want Grishko or Russians next time if you say the Suffolk’s fit your arch? Where did you go to get them fitted? I’m a little concerned that you didn't know how/where to tie the ribbons or what type of elastic is best or where to sew the elastic or ribbons. Usually a teacher or the shop assistants should advise on all this if it’s your first pair? Where did you buy them from? Also, where are you taking classes? How old are you? Usually beginners only do one pointe work class a week unless they’re late starters so a bit older and stronger.
  2. Hi, I’m in Warwickshire and could have a look if you’re concerned? I’m a Ballet teacher and dance scientist (Plus sports massage therapist, injury rehabilitation and strength & conditioning coach) with lots of experience working with adolescent dancers. I do agree with the advice about auditions and not worrying your DD - at this age they’re looking for a love of dance which might be impeded if she’s worried about her shoulders!
  3. Sounds like a dance research project needs to be done!!!!!! Interestingly (or not) I also do north-west Morris dancing and the polka step in clogs is VERY different! Although it has the same rhythm.
  4. Interesting, because I wouldn’t say this is a ‘pure’ arabesque at all (largely because of the arms and upper body line) and from this photo it is difficult to see which direction he is facing in order to reference his alignment. Eg if he is facing the side, his supporting leg appears parallel and his body is twisted towards the lifted leg. However, if he is facing the corner, then it changes things, but then his lifted leg doesn’t appear to be behind him. Case in point of trying to apply fixed position “rules” to a professional, probably in motion, maybe even turning, performing a stylised movement.
  5. The above video is incorrect for the ISTD polka too. I’ve found a version of it being shown sideways on YouTube so at least you get an idea of the step....
  6. Personal opinion is all - I’ve seen it done so badly particularly in festivals that I developed a dislike for it early on! As an RAD trained dancer I wasn’t exposed to it until I began teaching in my 20s and didn’t quite understand the relevance of it, especially as I was seeing it done so badly most of the time! I’m sure if I had seen it done beautifully and properly from the outset my opinion would be different!
  7. It’s an imperial ballet step and is like a forward galop ending in a fondu derrière. In my opinion it’s a hideous step and making them look good is very hard. The dancer has to have straight, turned out legs on the first ‘galop’ phase, and then bent, also turned out legs in the second phase which looks more like a curtesy position. From this position the back leg moves through a petit developpé devant on the “hop” preceding the next galop. All while keeping the body lifted and pulled up (tricky bearing in mind the rhythm and the fondu moment) and the step often looks heavy when it should have a light, lilting quality. good luck!
  8. Square hips all the way! Professionals have the strength and control to change the alignment of their hips if the choreographer asks for it, but in my opinion at least, this no longer makes the movement a 'pure' arabesque. Festivals........ well...... can of worms there!
  9. Hi, Sorry to hear this - sounds like a stressful situation. Two things jump out at me from your post: The first was the argument about social media. Could it be that social media has somehow influenced her decision? Has there been any online bullying? Or nasty comments on her posts? Something that has knocked her confidence maybe? Secondly, the mention of the boy that she likes and that they've been 'talking' - is this online talking or face to face talking? With this generation a lot of young people 'talk' online and form close attachments to people who they've never met and this can be hugely influential. Has this relationship influenced her decision?
  10. Hi Efftee, I'm so sorry to hear this but really pleased that you are getting help and support. I hope you don't mind my asking but have you considered putting off the upper school applications for a year, until your DD is better? Perhaps it would be more beneficial in the long term to focus on that without the added pressure of auditions and schools. Medical history may well come into the applications in the later stages and as tempting as it may be to keep this hidden from the schools, you would be doing your DD a disservice not to disclose it (in my opinion however that is one of a teacher and dancer-health advocate not of a parent). Thinking of you all.
  11. In an effort to begin to lobby the dance societies to insist on mandatory CPD I have set up an online petition here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/mandatory-child-protection-training-for-all-dance-teachers?share=fcbfafa4-d470-42a3-87bc-9fd775a1c3f9&source=rawlink&utm_source=rawlink&share=cbc2e73e-9319-4e7f-82bc-4c4daf82f97c Please share and sign. Thank you
  12. There are many qualified teachers promoting it, yes, that is exactly my point. Extreme stretching is most likely detrimental to the majority of children. We do not have long term data on this topic and while there may be qualified teachers who know who can do it and who can't, this does not apply when the entire class are being made to do it, and children are in tears. Also, if teachers are applauding/celebrating those children with a natural gift for mobility, what will all the others think? What will they aspire to? What harm will come to them in trying to emulate the mobility of their peers? Furthermore, there are much safer and more effective ways at training hip flexibility than putting one leg on a chair and another on the floor, and sitting in the middle of it. Even if a child has natural flexibility, sitting in extreme passive stretches is dangerous and unhelpful and should be discouraged, certainly not praised, not even for those who can do it. There's no need for it.
  13. @Danceforfun I applaud you and I have done so openly on social media. What I cannot get my head around is the number of parents who defend and support these teachers who are most likely causing their children permanent physical and emotional harm. @Bluebird22 I think the issue here is that unless safe dance practice/ child protection/safeguarding courses are mandatory CPD, those who need to hear the message will not opt to do so. Teachers working in state education have to complete mandatory safeguarding CPD every year. I think this should be the minimum. The church of england (for example) require everyone involved in a church who could have contact with children and/or vulnerable adults are made to complete online safeguarding training which has a pass/fail test so it wouldn't be too hard for the big exam boards to insist on this. I think that in terms of educating the kids/parents via social media the message has to come from people that they will listen to - ie not someone academic and uncool such as myself, but a celebrity choreographer, director or tv presenter. Or, as has been suggested, if somehow the big schools/companies/directors etc could all come together to make some kind of campaign. But I have no idea how to do this, and my connections are limited to the dance science world. What we need here is a way of contacting/recruiting some industry professionals for a marketing type campaign...
  14. I’ve tried to be proactive on social media about this in the past and have been subjected to personal threats and abuse from teachers who felt attacked by my concern for the safety of children. Never once did I mention any particular teacher or student. It was vile and hateful and several of them did gang up against me. It has recently happened to another colleague who dared to speak out. While they did have a lot of support, there was also significant backlash on social media which got very personal and nasty. Hence my wondering how best to deal with this issue.
  15. Hi everyone, this is a query for parents and teachers really as to the best way you think that the message regarding safe/healthy/happy/effective dance practice should be spread. In recent weeks people have shared with me various social media posts whereby children are being exposed to dangerous practices including (but not limited to) children stretching box splits with one foot on a chair and the other on the floor with comment from the teacher about 'pain and tears but then the children want to do it more next lesson', children as young as two years old being celebrated for taking part in acro/'strength' classes wearing ankle weights, teachers boasting about children training for hours on end and more. We know that the dance training industry is not regulated, and we know that teachers who are guilty of dangerous practices may or may not be qualified or registered and this apparently makes very little difference. We also know that some of the schools who partake in this sort of activity are also highly successful at competitions and have a lot of media exposure including being scouted for tv shows such as Britains Got Talent, The Greatest Dancer etc. Is there a way that the message about safe dance training, child-appropriate dance training, and protecting our young dancers' bodies and minds can be shared effectively?
  16. It’s all about what the dancer wants to achieve by way of their supplemental fitness training, and current workload already in place. More is not necessarily better, rest is crucial and the phrase “train smarter not harder” is worth remembering. Be critical and analytical of everything in the schedule - ask yourself why am I doing this, what do I want to get from it and is it sufficiently demanding to elicit the desired physiological changes? Following that, ask yourself am I varying my schedule /allowing enough rest time for the physiological changes to take place? The biggest mistake I come across in terms of dancers and training, is people filling their schedules with too much that is unnecessary and undoing the good work that they may have done in one or two good quality sessions by wiping themselves out doing six.
  17. I’d disagree with ruling out running completely (personal opinion of course and I don’t know your daughter and haven’t seen her to know her physique). The research in dance science has shown that all types of dance are high-intensity, intermittent forms of exercise which requires a good aerobic foundation in order to recover quickly in between bouts of activity, to avoid cumulative fatigue which is a high risk factor for injury. So, first and foremost all dancers need a good level of aerobic fitness. How they choose to train this is up to them, of course, but it must be challenging enough to cause a training effect. Dance class alone is not sufficiently challenging. It has to be something that gets the dancers heart rate elevated to 70-80% of maximum, without dropping, for at least 20-30 minutes. On top of this aerobic foundation, local muscular strength and endurance at the major joints is good to protect and guard against injury. The best way to do this (again, opinion only and without seeing an individual, I cannot be prescriptive or personalized) is to use general, whole body movements such as squats, deadlifts, pull ups, press ups, crawling, etc. I think that CrossFit has fantastic crossover for dancers as a class (programmed effectively by a good coach) should include an element of whole body strength training and then has the metabolic conditioning (aerobic/anaerobic) element too. It’s popular with gymnasts, a lot of whom are hypermobile too. Please feel free to PM me if you would like to discuss this more or arrange a session where I can advise you individually.
  18. It isn't clear what has contributed to the intial complaint, and as such, I would guard against trying to self-diagnose and therefore to self-treat. Having said that, for anyone who is interested, rotating discs are very helpful for dance students to engage the deep hip rotators to externally rotate the head of the femur at the hip joint.
  19. Another vote for Audacity here - user friendly and free.
  20. It's worth remembering the take-home message in the article which isn't actually very clear (IMHO) If you want to retain strength and control then passive stretching immediately before is the last thing you should be doing. Sports/dance scientists have known about this for a while. The science behind this is that when muscles and other elastic structures are stretched to the max, their ability to subsequently contract in order to produce force, or to contract to provide stability, is reduced. But this is temporary. If you want to improve flexibility, passive stretching is still one of the better ways to do this, but it must be done safely - so, when muscles are warm and tired (and not expected to then produce lots of force), and in stretches that are not likely to cause damage to joint structures or bones, and in positions that have an 'escape route' ie a position that can be changed instantly if pain is felt. It is also important to remember that joints that are very flexible are more prone to injury so should be strengthened at every part of the full range of motion.
  21. Dance physios have reported an increase in hip and lower back problems in competition dancers with extreme flexibility. And of course lets not forget the extremely rare but still-horrifying case reported recently of a child left paralysed after being 'forced' into back and splits stretches.
  22. Not necessarily - yes US is filled with students who have trained elsewhere and lots are from overseas, but that doesn’t mean they’ve trained in ways that are arduous, excessive or harmful. It may even be that they’ve already experienced several years of this type of fantastic quality, well-rounded, periodised training which is in line with the recommendations from dance & sports scientists meaning that they’re ahead of the schools that are only just implementing it! (Not likely, I realise, but not impossible either!)
  23. About time!! Some of us have been saying words to this effect for 10 years or more! But in all seriousness, I’m pleased he’s put this out there as many more people will listen to a person in this position rather than a bunch of “know-it-all” dance scientists.
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