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DD Driver

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  1. What is your understanding here of 'diversity' in the expectation that organisations 'improve the diversity of their workforce, governance, audiences, visitors and participants.'? Humans are diverse in: age, sex, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, nationality, height and on and on....even their personal interest in Arts, Sport etc The What, How and Why needs to be understood in order to do something to 'improve' and meet the measurable outcome (quota) for compliance. If for example, football codes were asked to hire more females, then ask what is the definition of a female?, how is this to be determined (self-identify or medical certificate), and what is the social good expected from this requirement? Also, who is putting this ruling forward and was the policy publicly presented and supported by anyone elected by the broader community ? If for example, Ballet companies were asked to attract audiences of greater ethnic or racial diversity , then ask what is the definition of an audience member's ethnicity/race?, how is this to be determined (self identify, med certificate, nationality/citizenship) etc etc You can't comply if you don't understand the requirement and how it can be met!
  2. Yes - Building Resilience through graded exposure i.e. face the feared situation, in incremental steps, experiencing small successes along the way
  3. I liked the use of the term Eating Distress and talking, then intervening, as early as possible rather than going straight to talking in terms of an Eating Disorder. The students communicated the situation very well. On one hand they understand that there are many different body types and that they are athletes as well as artists. On the other hand there is still so much pressure, in the industry and from the selections made by future employers , to look slim and 'balletic'.
  4. Alison, that just shows how long it has been since I did school athletics! I do think basketballers are interesting as there are some incredible jumpers there. I think their training involves squats etc to work the whole leg and gluteal muscles. Hence Sara Mearns at NYCB and her squats https://www.instagram.com/saramearns/. My DD was involved in gymnastics until she was 11 years old. There was a lot greater focus on 'whole body' strength and cardio compared to ballet training e.g. at least 20 minutes warm-up including planks, walking hand stands, rope climbing etc.
  5. ProfDance, what exercise might be beneficial for the lengthening of muscles and what can improve a dancers jump? I am sure that we can learn from high jumpers and basketball!
  6. Yes, Tango Dancer - this is key! If more parents ask these questions when their children are auditioning or offered a position, then the schools will see that the potential issues are well known and that they need clear policies and procedures. That is the moment when questions are expected and the school is not feeling on the back foot or defensive. Also,contact with other parents is a great resource and protection for students. I once heard an AD say that he values all sorts of body types but the audience has expectations! This means that we - as the audience (hopefully soon) - need to be vocal about what we want e.g. If you see an emaciated dancer then you should consider communicating your concerns to the organisation.
  7. Thanks SissonneDoublee. The ballet school my DD attends is aligned but separate from her academic provider. They would usually have 2 dance assessment days each year. In these the class performs set exercises and solo variations over a number of hours. Parents can attend. A guest adjudicator is there alongside the faculty and each student wears a number. They receive a report based on that day plus general comments from their class teachers. That is good but the information could be improved upon. Anyway, the problem this year is that the Assessment Day could not take place. The students did Zoom lessons for 3 months. They have returned back to the studio but this is fairly recent. A report (written/verbal) would be very helpful now. This is a new situation for the school. Zoom classes make things harder but not impossible. This seems like the moment to influence the kind of information provided and to ask questions in away that elicits frank answers!
  8. I am looking for suggestions on how to get a full and frank Assessment from a full time/vocational ballet school. - What are some specific questions that I can ask? - How do I get their honest opinion of my DD"s ability? We are all familiar with 1/2 yearly reports and parent/teacher interviews at academic schools. This all still happened for my non-dancing children despite the lock-downs. These subjects lend themselves to many objective measures. Nevertheless, teachers comment on students' perceived potential and teachers do assess artistic works/performance in subjects such as Art, Music and Dance. I am spending a bomb on my DD's ballet! I want to know where she is at and what she can do to improve. I sense that many ballet schools find the rigour of Assessment to be outside their experience. I also understand that they need many paying students not just stars, at private studios. I get the 'subjective' line and I understand that a top student at a ballet studio can be passed over by upper schools and Companies. I just want frank and honest feedback from our ballet school's perspective. I am happy to hear it rather than have it written down. I need to ask the teachers the right questions and frame it so that they respond! On the up-side: Once a year we get a RAD exam result that does attempt to assess a range of standardised elements. My DD also participates in some competitions and this provides a cross section of adjudicator reports.
  9. In a study, a scientist will look at defining what pilates is and must control other variables (other training/practice) that could compromise the validity of the study. They want to test the impact of pilates alone. To not muddy the waters. So many professional dancers or vocational students may be doing a form of pilates that is not strictly/just pilates but rather a customised training regime. They will also do other activities that build strength and as an individual it is difficult to isolate what gains come from (their version of-) pilates from what is due to their other activities. Meanwhile, I find Sara Mearns at New York City Ballet fascinating. She does a very tough exercise regime e.g. squats with weights and training as seen in this video! https://www.instagram.com/saramearns/?hl=en
  10. It seems to me that people agree that pilates can provide significant increases in strength and stability when you begin. This would take a number of months. At a certain point it is about maintaining this. For athletes and elite dancers greater strength is coming from many additional activities. These people are also doing pilates with professionals that continuously add new and more challenging sessions and exercises for their clients. It is amped-up pilates. Weights are used and they work through to fatique.
  11. With strength training - doesn't the impact on the muscle (bulky v lean) depend on the type of exercise you engage in? I thought the idea was to go for repetition and not to add heavy weights?
  12. Yes - I try to do little things anyway. On social media I make sure that I give a like to pictures and stories about dancers that are different from the norm. I don't give likes to the glorification of emaciated dancers. I draw my daughter's attention to these issues and ignore the eye rolls I get back. I even got up the courage once to email my DD's ballet school expressing concern about an underweight dancer they highlighted frequently on their media as a success story. I carefully and politely mentioned their duty of care (and mine as a fellow school parent) to that dancer and the younger ones. I was put back in my box but I'm glad I made an effort to speak up. Maybe the drip drip drip of polite questions/concern from a number of parents or ticket-holders can build awareness. I imagine that parents of children in vocational schools - with government funding - may feel on the back foot when advocating for their child (on weight or other situations). It must seem a very powerless position.
  13. Yes, it was shocking. I remember seeing a documentary on Simone Biles a few years ago and thinking it was very odd that the Gymnastics USA training camp was happening at the head coach's own facility (the Karolyi Ranch). Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There are lessons to be learnt here for the ballet world! How many parents have been told not to enter the studio or talk to teachers? Vocational schools in particular hold so much power. When parents do speak up, what happens? Is there fear that there will be consequences for their child? What recourse do parents have when they are not happy with these top schools - other than bowing out? One example: Expectations around maintaining a certain - very low - weight are just one issue that screams out for change. An under-weight body (malnutrition) is repulsive to humans for a reason. It tells us the person is unwell and in jeopardy. Look at the body types that the AD's from companies and schools, PdL and YAGP etc select! And, yes, this trend also limits the diversity of races.
  14. So true! To progress in the dance world you need a lot of grit - the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere in the face of obstacles. Similarly - Resilience is built through graded exposure i.e. experiencing mild or moderately difficult situations and then progressing to harder ones. My DD has also been through some rejections and the embarrassment one feels because 'everyone' knows you tried and did not make it. It really tested her. I am so proud that she has learnt this early. It is necessary (for her) to work harder than many of the people around her. She has seen that hard work pays off!
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