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Are taller dancers more prone to injury?


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Interesting that two tall principal males in the company are injured (and that doesn't imply a lack of sympathy for them - both lovely dancers that they are).  In my skating days I was told that taller athletes find jumping & spinning harder on the body, tending to more injuries and shorter performing careers.  People in the West grow taller and bigger every generation and with so much emphasis on specialised training in sport you'd think that ballet too would have specialised training routines, tailored to the taller dancer.  Or is it too anchored in the past to consider modernising?

 

I know a lot of people will respond that ballet is an art, not a sport (and I agree it should be) but when you look at the new ballets being created today, it does seem far more demanding and more like gymnastics than the purely classical ballets of the past.  And younger, newer audiences expect so much more pure athleticism than before, used as they are to seeing more sport than dance in the media. 

 

Shouldn't training be modified to adapt to the new demands placed on the dancer?  Or at least, dancers shouldn't be expected to dance in both styles in one short season.

 

Linda

 

Note to moderators: if you think this is too off-topic please feel free to start a new thread. 

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I think training is SLOWLY changing at least at Company level .....in that company members get a lot of support with injury and just general after care from performances etc .....not sure how much has filtered down into schools yet.....and whether students get truly individualised training.....according to body type .....suspect not that much in reality.

 

In activities like Dance and Gymnastics it is obvious....to me at any rate ....that people over about 5ft 7 ins will be at a disadvantage generally speaking. Doesn't mean can't succeed but it will be harder.

 

Not sure if this is the right thread though!!

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Member love classics post is most interesting and I wondered if there could be some mileage in this thought.

 

However my recollection of, for example, SFB is that they are generally much taller dancers overall than we are used to seeing in our UK companies.  

 

I'm not being very coherent here but I was just wondering if having dancers who are of a more uniform stature helps with injury prevention as they would all be doing the same steps in the same way in class and in performance.

 

Thanks love classics for suggesting this separate thread.

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That's really interesting taxi4ballet.

But I'm glad to hear that attention is being given on a more individual level.

 

I'd be interested to know if they teach turning slightly differently ......just as an example sort of thing I mean ....do they stress going for more elegance in the turn whereas stressing pure speed more for shorter dancers say?

 

One dance teacher Imhave always stresses( no matter what size) the movement coming from the whole leg ....top of leg....not just the foot etc...almost certainly for a grand battememt movement.

 

And to just add that for say doing a tendu ....it's the taking of the leg out ( not the foot) the foot only points (or just comes off the floor as in glisses) as the natural extension of the leg .....so in effect you end up using the foot more because it stays on the floor till the final moment of extension of the leg.

Sorry if this has got into doing dance a bit. But the development of the muscularity is very important in dancers especially long legged ones so you don't get overdevelopment of the thighs or calf muscles etc

Edited by LinMM
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That's really interesting taxi4ballet.

But I'm glad to hear that attention is being given on a more individual level.

 

I'd be interested to know if they teach turning slightly differently ......just as an example sort of thing I mean ....do they stress going for more elegance in the turn whereas stressing pure speed more for shorter dancers say?

 

One dance teacher Imhave always stresses( no matter what size) the movement coming from the whole leg ....top of leg....not just the foot etc...almost certainly for a grand battememt movement.

 

And to just add that for say doing a tendu ....it's the taking of the leg out ( not the foot) the foot only points (or just comes off the floor as in glisses) as the natural extension of the leg .....so in effect you end up using the foot more because it stays on the floor till the final moment of extension of the leg.

Sorry if this has got into doing dance a bit. But the development of the muscularity is very important in dancers especially long legged ones so you don't get overdevelopment of the thighs or calf muscles etc

The timing of movements seem to look different to me (although I am a very long way from being remotely knowledgeable in these matters) and certainly when dd was a year or two younger and had had her growth spurt earlier than others, it often looked like she was out of kilter with everyone else. On one occasion the teacher explained that the speed and timing of movements would be different for dancers with long limbs as they had further to go in the time available! Does that make sense? 

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The timing of movements seem to look different to me (although I am a very long way from being remotely knowledgeable in these matters) and certainly when dd was a year or two younger and had had her growth spurt earlier than others, it often looked like she was out of kilter with everyone else. On one occasion the teacher explained that the speed and timing of movements would be different for dancers with long limbs as they had further to go in the time available! Does that make sense? 

 

Yes. I have heard long-limbed dancers explain it the same way.

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If a dancer thinks of a leg movement coming from the foot, it makes quick work much easier - and quicker!  The foot takes the leg to wherever it goes, and as it's the extremity if it goes fast, everything is fast!  The same applies to arms/hands.

Some very tall dancers can move surprisingly quickly, and some small dancers cannot. 

To do with training and enforcement of various speeds of enchainementst in class - or not....

Dancers nowadays tend to do preparation steps at the same speed as the steps they are supposed to be preparing for, which also slows down tempi more and more (and doesn't allow for exciting dynamics either).

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Yes, that does make sense Taxi. I am also a long way from being knowledgeable but the link between speed, timing and long limbs is logical and allowances would be needed, otherwise there would be a sort of Corporal Jones from Dad's Army situation, not that he was particularly tall but he was always a beat behind.

Then again I have seen some so called professional performances where the issue of being out of step has either not been addressed or the performance itself was so bad, perhaps they just didn't care. By the end of the show, neither did I!

 

 

 

This paragraph below written by Janet McNulty

 

Sorry Jacqueline, I inadvertently entered edit mode by hitting the wrong key and I seem to have lost half of your post.  That will teach me to check which keys I am hitting, I was only trying to hit the "like" button.  My sincere apologies, can you resurrect the rest of your post?

Edited by Janet McNulty
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Yes, that does make sense Taxi. I am also a long way from being knowledgeable but the link between speed, timing and long limbs is logical and allowances would be needed, otherwise there would be a sort of Corporal Jones from Dad's Army situation, not that he was particularly tall but he was always a beat behind.

Then again I have seen some so called professional performances where the issue of being out of step has either not been addressed or the performance itself was so bad, perhaps they just didn't care. By the end of the show, neither did I!

 

 

 

This paragraph below written by Janet McNulty

 

Sorry Jacqueline, I inadvertently entered edit mode by hitting the wrong key and I seem to have lost half of your post. That will teach me to check which keys I am hitting, I was only trying to hit the "like" button. My sincere apologies, can you resurrect the rest of your post?

My post is all there I think. I did quote post 9 by Taxi which is all that is missing from my entry?

I was going to edit my post by saying I was always the tallest girl in my ballet classes and no allowances were made. When we starred in the annual pantomime, I guess the audience thought it was all part of the show!

Edited by Jacqueline
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Yes, that does make sense Taxi. I am also a long way from being knowledgeable but the link between speed, timing and long limbs is logical and allowances would be needed, otherwise there would be a sort of Corporal Jones from Dad's Army situation, not that he was particularly tall but he was always a beat behind.

It's more to do with having to finish a beat at the same time, so they have to anticipate and start a millisecond earlier than the others, or (in the case of grand battements for instance, move the leg faster as it has further to travel to the same musical beat). This gives a different 'look', even though it is the same movement, and possibly why orchestras will play at different speeds for variations depending on the soloist (not that I'm a musical expert either!).

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