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Are back flips and cartwheels a required skill for ballet?


ScottishDancerMum
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My dd had a one to one about eighteen months ago with Miss Lewis from EYB. She made a point of saying that ideally kids who wish to persue ballet seriously should not do gymnastics. She believes that kids are taught lots of conflicting things when they try to do both. She actually told by dd she must choose as she's hypermobile and so she definitely should not do both. 

As for 'tricks' my dd can barely do any however she is a beautiful dancer with lots of personality so it has never affected her winning at comps.

Edited by Sarah2203
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Must admit in my DS' festival days it seemed to be a never ending procession of gymnastics, especially in character and to a lesser extent modern.  But your daughter is only 8 - it really, really isn't anything to worry about.  I don't think lack of cartwheel ever stopped a child getting a place at good associate scheme or similar.

 

 

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They are not required for classical ballet, or certainly were not when my dd was auditioning for upper schools.  Cartwheels can come in handy in some Contemporary repertoire though and it's never a bad thing to be versatile given the scarcity of classical contracts.  No need to go to gymnastics classes though; a decent PE teacher should be able to teach a cartwheel. 

 

Backflips and walkovers - not necessary for ballet or contemporary IMO and often not very good for young spines. 

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Hi Scottishdancermum

 

Your dd shouldn’t worry forward rolls are taught in gymnastics classes to teach the basic shape of a somersault and a cartwheel is a tumbling skill.  Probably not skills your dd would want to progress if she doesn’t enjoy them and she most certainly won’t need them in a ballet class.

 

Maybe your dd is capable of doing a forward roll and has a mental block.  If she’s really determined to master one, you could try to get visualise herself doing a forward roll maybe the night before and then try to do one with a qualified coach or teacher spotting her.  My son learnt his backwards roll on an inclined mat to give him a bit of extra momentum.

 

Walkovers need lots of shoulder flexibiliy to ensure the lower back isn’t overcompensating....

 

Good luck and even if your dd doesn’t manage her forwards roll or cartwheel ever, I am sure it will have no bearing whatsoever on her ballet 😊

 

Xxx 

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I believe, in Desmond Kelly's day, that on the last day of company class at the end of the summer season he used to lead cart wheels across the stage.  Friends who saw these displays said lots of dancers didn't do them.

 

As Trog mentions the Jack-in-the-box does cartwheels in the BRB Nutcracker but, over the years, I have seen one or two dancers doing an "approximation" rather than cartwheels! 

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Rather off the point I know, but this thread has made me smile at the end of a difficult day. When Dd was 7 and learning  her first modern solo, the teacher asked if she could cartwheel. Dd answered proudly, ‘Ooh yes, can you?’ ‘Yes I can,’ said the teacher seriously. ‘Well, go on then ‘, said Dd (as I cringed in the corner) and the teacher duly did! Still makes me chuckle! 

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If your children are ever going to in future audition for any cabaret type shows, many often have a Can Can finale. Cartwheels at the audition are often asked to be seen. I spent months practising them for the Moulin Rouge audition. [ I was still useless, even after doing them for a year] !

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I took her to a gymnastics summer taster program 2 years ago... I figured it would be fun as she loved dancing so much.  Nope.  She begged to quit, on the second day.  She doesn't like the vertigo feeling of her body being above her head, and I think it's developed into a mental block.  I've left it as I didn't want to make it worse.  

Her PE classes in school don't cover gymnastics (very small school) and I was just hoping she could work around it.  But she's gotten all worried she'll need them for senior associates, despite being reassured by our director that it's not a requirement.  

I told her it would be easier to learn a cartwheel now than as an adult...

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She definitely won’t need it for any type of classical ballet associate class Xxx 

 

My dd is an MA and has never been asked to show any type of gymnastic skill.  

 

She can cartwheel incidentally but has a real mental block with a forwards roll 🙈, luckily it’s not something she’s ever been asked to do.

 

Tell her not to worry and put it out of your mind x 

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Going back to complete basics with no pressure can help with blocks in gymnastics, so maybe rocking backwards and forwards on her back on a mat my help her gradually build more confidence the sensation of rolling for her forwards roll without actually going over.  

 

This is if she ever wanted to learn one, although I am 100 percent sure she’s never need one for a ballet class or audition ! 😊 Xxx

Edited by Snowflake
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17 minutes ago, Snowflake said:

Going back to complete basics with no pressure can help with blocks in gymnastics, so maybe rocking backwards and forwards on her back on a mat my help her gradually build more confidence the sensation of rolling for her forwards roll without actually going over.  

 

This is if she ever wanted to learn one, although I am 100 percent sure she’s never need one for a ballet class or audition ! 😊 Xxx

Good advice thanks snowflake xxx

I’d ask your dd to teach mine at the easter intensive but I’m not sure she’d appreciate me sharing her irrational fear of breaking her neck 😆 

Edited by Balletmum55
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40 minutes ago, Balletmum55 said:

Good advice thanks snowflake xxx

I’d ask your dd to teach mine at the easter intensive but I’m not sure she’d appreciate me sharing her irrational fear of breaking her neck 😆 

 

Yes 😂 😂 you are welcome Balletmum55 😊Xxx

 

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While I completely agree that you shouldn’t need to do any trick sort of thing in a ballet class- I watched a ballet associate class with an ex Royal Ballet dancer and RBS associate teacher and mid way through a beautiful ports de bras he popped in a forward roll. He is a total character, but you never know what a choreographer/teacher may feel like throwing in on a whim. 

 

I teach a child who hates being upside down, we spent a few weeks doing a downward dog sort of position and then lifting one leg gradually before she happily did the upside down lifts. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

At WL students have a gymnastic class on Saturday where students are expected to do basic gym such as cartwheels.... as my dd was and is spectacularly awful at gym( bit like watching a baby giraffe trying to coordinate legs in air😂)... it causes us all amusement except the teacher. It’s not a huge part of their life but does indicate that some skills/ flexibility required even there... my daughter never had any kind of training in any of her associate etc classes prior to this

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My DD doesn’t take any gymnastic classes but her studio offers Acro classes. She has found that the Acro has not just given her additional flexibility but more importantly the confidence in Pas De Deux workshops which was evident at the SS’s Especially when the boys were  lifting the girls and beginning to support their partner in some rather ‘challenging’ positions which can be rather alien to those more used to being in control in regular solo performance. 😉 

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16 minutes ago, balletbean said:

My DD doesn’t take any gymnastic classes but her studio offers Acro classes. She has found that the Acro has not just given her additional flexibility but more importantly the confidence in Pas De Deux workshops which was evident at the SS’s Especially when the boys were  lifting the girls and beginning to support their partner in some rather ‘challenging’ positions which can be rather alien to those more used to being in control in regular solo performance. 😉 


This i where / why  the  dance focused acro syllabuses  and things like PBT have come around ... 

also notable the move  that 'disco' / 'freestyle'  and cheer  have had away from  other forms of dance 

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No. They are not required.  

 

 

Still.....my daughter does a lot of Contemporary/Contemporary Ballet classes in addition to her hours of Classical Ballet training.  This is out of personal interest but also her school views this genre as very important.  Many big competitions award half the marks to the Contemporary solo and many companies have modern works in their repertoire.

 

These classes, over a number of years, have helped to increase her flexibility and strength.  As a result,  she does one-handed and aerial (without touching the floor) cartwheels around the house.  It is a hazard and annoys her sisters greatly.  So far no interest in backflips or other tumbling skills. 

 

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4 hours ago, JulieW said:

Also, I don't want to sound harsh, but it's a bit early (with an 8 year old) to be worrying about a future ballet career. Keep up the dancing and I hope she continues to enjoy it.



I totally hear you, Julie - I don't think you are being harsh.  My daughter talks more about wanting to be an astrophysicist than a ballerina, but she's really a lovely dancer so if she can do something with it either recreationally or whathaveyou, I'd be happy.  I'm not after a pro career at this point, but am trying to help her over this barrier.

This thing about cartwheels is a bit of a stumbling block for her - all her friends can do them, dance related or not.  I thought she would have loved gymnastics but it was a no go.  

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1 hour ago, ScottishDancerMum said:



I totally hear you, Julie - I don't think you are being harsh.  My daughter talks more about wanting to be an astrophysicist than a ballerina, but she's really a lovely dancer so if she can do something with it either recreationally or whathaveyou, I'd be happy.  I'm not after a pro career at this point, but am trying to help her over this barrier.

This thing about cartwheels is a bit of a stumbling block for her - all her friends can do them, dance related or not.  I thought she would have loved gymnastics but it was a no go.  


the  Performing arts have a Physicist problem or  perhaps the  physicists have a performing  arts problem,   Prof B Cox,  Dr (squared) B May,  Ms ( soon to be Dr ) M Moore

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