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Thigh muscles - advice how to reshape/reduce

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13 minutes ago, Pas de Quatre said:

Are we re-inventing the wheel here? In the 18th Century the renowned teacher Noverre identified the two types of legs, arqué and jarretté, and the way they affected technique.  Arqué means bow legged, normally a tighter tendon and muscle formation which gives rise to great jumps.  Jarretté is more difficult to translate, but in effect means knock kneed and ankles that roll in. Much looser leg structure, which allows more flexibility, but is a physique that finds it harder to jump. The first type tend to be shorter and the second type taller, but not always so.

Definitely not re-inventing but surely progressing the wheel and trying to make the environment safer for the dancer, especially for the younger dancer. A documentary about the Russian academy recorded the director saying “he has Japanese muscles”, these are the things that may be dangerous in my opinion. 

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If you compare ballet to basketball: I have never heard anyone complaining about small people being excluded from a career, so why the complaints about ballet favouring a certain body type?

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59 minutes ago, Aurora3 said:

If you compare ballet to basketball: I have never heard anyone complaining about small people being excluded from a career, so why the complaints about ballet favouring a certain body type?


Because

1) in basketball the better players are taller, because they score more points, which is the aim of the game. In ballet the aim is more subjective, so it’s not as easy to say what is and isn’t desirable. Is the aim to dance beautifully and move audiences? In which case does body type matter? 
2) People cannot change their height.  So anyone who struggles to get selected for a career in basketball for this reason accepts this reality and seeks a different career, and plays for fun. Many dancers are told to change their body shape (which isn’t actually easy) so end up having issues with this which may be dangerous. 

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To the last point: I fully agree. It is hardly possible to change the genetic body shape!

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@Niko Kolokythas: Can you tell me something about the difference between jump and pointework? Do jumps require more Type IIX fibres than pointe? Or is it just another coordination?  I´m pretty sure there must be a difference - I´m much better at pointework than jumps and I also see on other people that most have one which is better!

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11 hours ago, Aurora3 said:

@Niko Kolokythas: Can you tell me something about the difference between jump and pointework? Do jumps require more Type IIX fibres than pointe? Or is it just another coordination?  I´m pretty sure there must be a difference - I´m much better at pointework than jumps and I also see on other people that most have one which is better!

Think of it more like jumps need strength and the ability to “express” strength fast. Maybe you simply haven’t trained power and therefore you don’t feel as confident. Anecdotally I will tell you that girls who jump less than 25 cm feel they can’t jump (and they can’t really:))

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I was thinking about this thread in the gym yesterday. I work out with a personal trainer (have learned to lift quite heavy weights - it’s a revelation!) and he was getting me to do box jumps onto a plyo box. I’d guess it was about 50 cm. The aim is to jump up to the top from standing and to try to land on top of the box as silently as possible. So that means i have to  really lift up my knees and control my landing. I land in a fairly deep squat to do this, so it’s not pretty! But my trainer was saying that box jumps are one of best core exercises around, as well as good for glutes. 
 

I was definitely jumping higher than 25cm! (and in a set of exercises over about 25 minutes I probably did around 200 jumps).
 

But the main thing that I struggle with on the first few is not the height, but the fear - of falling, of tripping up. Weird ...

 

but it certainly trains my jumping - I notice in ballet class that I can access much more push - not that Zoom classes contain much jumping at the moment. 

 

 

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Plyometrics fascinates me; I first came across it on Matthew Ball’s Instagram page during lockdown.  Is it quite new, or only new to me? 

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@Kate_N Yes, you did jump higher than 25 cm, but you didt stretch your feet and legs - that´s another difference between ballet and sport: If a baketball player hits the basket, nothing else matters, but in ballet, the jump must be according to the rules!

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10 hours ago, Anna C said:

Plyometrics fascinates me; I first came across it on Matthew Ball’s Instagram page during lockdown.  Is it quite new, or only new to me? 

New to you! I first learned about it being recommended for dancers in 2004, but it has been used in sport for much longer. 

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13 hours ago, Kate_N said:

I was thinking about this thread in the gym yesterday. I work out with a personal trainer (have learned to lift quite heavy weights - it’s a revelation!) and he was getting me to do box jumps onto a plyo box. I’d guess it was about 50 cm. The aim is to jump up to the top from standing and to try to land on top of the box as silently as possible. So that means i have to  really lift up my knees and control my landing. I land in a fairly deep squat to do this, so it’s not pretty! But my trainer was saying that box jumps are one of best core exercises around, as well as good for glutes. 
 

I was definitely jumping higher than 25cm! (and in a set of exercises over about 25 minutes I probably did around 200 jumps).
 

But the main thing that I struggle with on the first few is not the height, but the fear - of falling, of tripping up. Weird ...

 

but it certainly trains my jumping - I notice in ballet class that I can access much more push - not that Zoom classes contain much jumping at the moment. 

 

 


Box jumps are scary. Fact! 
 

Interestingly though, you feel like you “jumped” that distance, and it’s true that your feet moved that distance. But in order to move your feet that distance, as you said, you had to really lift up your knees and land with very bent legs. Therefore it’s unlikely (unless you started the jump in the same position that you landed in) that you jumped the whole distance - sorry! 
 

As you’ve discovered though, box jumps are a great way to improve your jump for dance - it’s to do with the number of landings and take-offs as much as anything. 

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As we've got so many experts contributing to this thread can I ask about ballon.

 

Can that hanging in the air moment be taught or do you have to have a natural facility to achieve it?  Ashley Dixon of Northern Ballet always looks as though he isn't going to come down from jumps and I notice a lot of male Danish dancers have the same facility which is why I wondered about the training.

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3 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

As we've got so many experts contributing to this thread can I ask about ballon.

 

Can that hanging in the air moment be taught or do you have to have a natural facility to achieve it?  Ashley Dixon of Northern Ballet always looks as though he isn't going to come down from jumps and I notice a lot of male Danish dancers have the same facility which is why I wondered about the training.

 

Definitely trained or 'trainable'! 

 

The Danish teacher and choreographer Bournonville was well-known for his love of ballon and trained dancers specifically to achieve this, focusing on reducing the amount of contact time with the floor and using a speedy plie in between jumps. The allegro in RAD Grade 7 was inspired by his style. Interestingly this is a technique used in plyometric training too! (It is known as making the most of a muscle's stretch-shortening cycle).

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10 hours ago, drdance said:

But in order to move your feet that distance, as you said, you had to really lift up your knees and land with very bent legs. Therefore it’s unlikely (unless you started the jump in the same position that you landed in) that you jumped the whole distance - sorry! 

 

That's really interesting @drdance - no apology needed! When I started doing box jumps, I was trying to land  on top of the box in the same upright position that I had on the ground - that was scarier & louder & much harder (my trainer judges my effort on the noise of my landing). So I have almost jumped that height. I've also jumped the next plyo box height up - probably 65cm, but not for a while (lockdown of course), so we're starting back slowly ... 

 

10 hours ago, drdance said:

focusing on reducing the amount of contact time with the floor and using a speedy plie in between jumps

 

And yes to this in my gym training: the aim is to jump up (landing without sound) step down and immediately jump back up. It's tough when you do 30 in a row without stopping! Which is what I did on Friday - a pyramid 5,10, 15, 20, 25, 30, then back down again with a sled push at 80kg in between each set of jumps. Slight DOMS in my quads today ... ballet class later today will be nice.

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35 minutes ago, Aurora3 said:

@Niko: But you have no explanation for the difference to pointework?

Other than that it’s probably exposure/training related nope!

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Posted (edited)

There is a certain innate ability to jump but it still needs good training to make the most of it. Natalia Osipova has beautiful jumps with balon, she flies through the air. Tamara Rojo on the other hand has little natural elevation. At a masterclass I was watching some years ago she explained how she had learnt to make her landings soft and keep her ports de bras floating to give the illusion of being in the air for longer.

Edited by Pas de Quatre
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I've seen Ms Rojo working in class (years before she was AD of ENB) and while she may not have elevation, boy, can she turn! 

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Posted (edited)
On 24/07/2020 at 06:52, Pas de Quatre said:

Please can you be more specific when you refer to your students Emma, are these the Associates you teach once a week (who get most of their training elsewhere) or are they students who are full time with you?

I am discussing just my full time students.

At ABA - it runs 6 days a week now with juniors and seniors

Edited by Emma northmore
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On 02/08/2020 at 21:18, Kate_N said:

I've seen Ms Rojo working in class (years before she was AD of ENB) and while she may not have elevation, boy, can she turn! 

 

And conversely, my tall, long-necked and very long-limbed daughter has amazing ballon but is not a natural turner by any means.  

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@Anna C - that's really interesting. I remember  Ms Julie Felix (extraordinary master teacher) saying something like that in a summer vacation class once to a large group of intermediate to advanced dancers, of mixed ages - from 13 year olds, through to Elmhurst students on vacation, through to us adult ballet dancers of ages up to around 60. There were a couple of talented, thin long-legged 15/16 year olds with potential as dancers, but struggling with clean turns. Ms Felix was really sweet to both them and us (middle-aged women with hips) saying that in terms of the physics of turning, it was harder for  these long thin bodies to turn, whereas our mature adult bodies with hips and shoulders, had a greater potential for the torque that is needed - the kind of energy via opposing forces that helps you round in a pirouette.

 

It certainly made me feel a little braver in a class with all those young girls! 

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50 minutes ago, Kate_N said:

@Anna C - that's really interesting. I remember  Ms Julie Felix (extraordinary master teacher) saying something like that in a summer vacation class once to a large group of intermediate to advanced dancers, of mixed ages - from 13 year olds, through to Elmhurst students on vacation, through to us adult ballet dancers of ages up to around 60. There were a couple of talented, thin long-legged 15/16 year olds with potential as dancers, but struggling with clean turns. Ms Felix was really sweet to both them and us (middle-aged women with hips) saying that in terms of the physics of turning, it was harder for  these long thin bodies to turn, whereas our mature adult bodies with hips and shoulders, had a greater potential for the torque that is needed - the kind of energy via opposing forces that helps you round in a pirouette.

 

It certainly made me feel a little braver in a class with all those young girls! 

 

Yes, that makes perfect sense, Kate.  In one of dd’s associate classes there were shorter girls with a lower centre of gravity and stronger, slightly shorter legs who were physically more mature - these girls could turn so quickly and cleanly and, as you say, had the necessary torque, especially to do quick multiple turns.   Dd being tall, narrow hipped and willowy always felt she wasn’t physically designed for multiple turns, especially en pointe - perhaps the ground seemed too far away. ☺️. Her adage and port de bras always looked so beautiful though so that was some consolation! 🤷🏻‍♀️

 

I love teachers like that, who are so adept at explaining WHY and not just HOW. 

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