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Tulip
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If it's just jogging couple of times a week I wouldn't worry about building muscles. It would rather be a good cardio exercise. It's only not advisable if there are any back or knees (or ather joints) problems. But it's very important to remember to stretch after - especially hamstrings.

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She only ran to the park and she was puffed out. She was shocked as she said she was fit as they faced x amount of hours everyday. She now realises not enough cardio exercises though. Her aim is to run to the park and around it tomorrow, but we will see the rain may put her off ha ha.

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My dd who is ten runs cross country and athletics for her school.  It has improved her aerobic fitness, not sure about muscle development as she tends to do more longer distance, I am aware that sprinting may develop bulkier muscle, however it may depend on the individual and how much natural muscle density they have as to how their muscles develop.  At the moment though it for my dd it doesnt appear to be having a negative affect on her muscle development.

I am sure Dr dance or Anjuli will possibly be able to offer a more informative indepth reply.

Ax

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Remember that in a ballet class the warm up is very gradual, and aerobic energy is used because of that by the time things become faster moving. If going straight into a jog without warming up, the the body is working on anaerobic energy for about the first ten minutes, hence the breathless. The level of allegro etc that your DD will be doing Tulip is certainly enough cardio for any dancer and I bet your DD is never really breathless in class (on the same level as when jogging). Jogging is more 'sports specific' than dance & so in my opinion the two physical activities can't be compared like for like.

Gosh those were the days when we could jog AND go to vocational school all in the same day ;) Don't know how we did it!!

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She only ran to the park and she was puffed out. She was shocked as she said she was fit as they faced x amount of hours everyday. She now realises not enough cardio exercises though. Her aim is to run to the park and around

it tomorrow, but we will see the rain may put her

off ha ha.

Well, dancing is dancing and jogging/running is someting different. If she was so puffed it looks like regular jogging is a very good idea to improve her cardio and lung capacity.

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The only time I've ever regularly undertaken non ballet exercise, was running to increase me aerobic capacity for grade 8 dance a couple of years ago. It worked, and our dogs lost some weight too, but I saw it as a means to an end and I'm glad it's over!!

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I was a runner when I was younger and there is a skill to it. I would pace myself and I naturally knew how to breath when running. I know that she legged it full pelt around the park but she realised that she couldn't keep that up especially when only just building up some stamina. Being a typical perfectionist she wants to run further and quicker. She really enjoyed the run though and it is nice to hear after so many years that she is doing something other than dancing. When she comes home this weekend she has asked me to go out running with her, I am dressing it, I might need an oxygen mask ha ha. I know in ballet they all get breathless on repetitive jumps.

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The muscles used for ballet and jogging/running are used differently for each.  Running is done without turnout whilst ballet is movement, strength and balance with turnout. 

 

The warmup is different, too.  I would also be concerned about the surface upon which the running takes place.  And, a lot depends upon how much running is being done and what your child's ultimate goal is in dance.

 

If your child enjoys it, however, so be it.  Enjoyment is important.

 

As for the cardio aspect - I think comparing ballet dancers and runners is like comparing apples and oranges.  I think if a runner was asked to stand in arabesque - solidly balanced - leg at 90 degrees - and not move - I bet that runner would also be out of breath. 

 

I remember when I rehearsed, I always "double rehearsed" going through my dance twice without stopping so when I performed it I had no doubt I could get through it.  There is another aspect of breathing which is different for dancers.  They are performing and that means they are in a state of excitement/nervousness and that makes for quicker breaths and heartrate before they even enter the stage.

 

And, they have to smile.  They have to remember choreography and listen to music.  All that takes breath and boosts heartrate.  A runner doesn't have to worry about how he/she looks, what's happening with the characterization (if it's a story ballet), a costume, other people swirling around as well as all the other technical details.  Every time a dancer lifts her foot off the floor she has to remember to pointe it - that takes energy.

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I hope I haven't been mis understood but I wasn't comparing ballet to running, just asking would running affect my daughters dancing. Thank you for the responses so far though. Anjuli my daughters ultimate goal is to get into a ballet company when she finishes her training.

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I hope I haven't been mis understood but I wasn't comparing ballet to running, just asking would running affect my daughters dancing. Thank you for the responses so far though. Anjuli my daughters ultimate goal is to get into a ballet company when she finishes her training.

Well, then I think it depends upon how much running she does plus other factors like the surface upon which she is running, the warmup, etc.  And, some thought needs to be given to allowing the body to rest - depending upon how many hours she is dancing.

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Running is high impact so there is also scope for problems in hypermobile joints, particularly knees and ankles. Using an eliptical trainer might be better if your dd can get access to one?

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I recently saw this article about dancers and running. It seems to contain some useful tips.

 

http://www.pointemagazine.com/issues/februarymarch-2013/your-best-body-running-dancers

What an interesting article :)

 

However I don't agree with the sentence ...... "The truth is, dancers need to supplement their ballet training with aerobic activity: Studies show that technique class isn’t enough to prepare dancers for performance—the physical intensity of a show has higher aerobic requirements."........total none sense in my opinion. Bet the "study" was done by a sports scientist rather than a dancer. ;)

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My dd used to be quite a good runner, but at school her times for cross-country were getting worse and worse over the years rather than better (a source of consternation to DH who used to run half-marathons).

 

At a parents' evening we were talking to her PE teacher, and when we explained about all the ballet she does, the teacher said that the muscle groups needed for running and ballet were totally different and that explained why she was no good at running any more. All her muscles were trained for her legs to turn out sideways rather than go forwards!

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This running started for my daughter whilst we were on holiday. She challenged me an her father to a race and she beat us. She is normally never competitive but the joy she got from not only the running but also the winning. Because she went away to vocational school very young, she said for the first time ever I feel that I have missed out on other sport. I explained that she always wanted to go to ballet class, her response was but that is all I ever knew. When she did festivals she never had a competitive bone in her body she just loved performing and she did do very well. Sport was available throughout my daughters primary school but the teachers used to say in football she kicked the ball with a pointed toe, in basket ball when she jumped she pointed her toes, I think her teachers still remember her for that. She has been determined to go running since her holiday but the thought that she has put into it such as must avoid shin splints and injuries ect. I know she is right but I felt like telling her oh for goodness sake get your blooming trainers on and just run like normal people, I was only hocking of course.

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I don't know how old your daughter is Tulip but I would have thought a bit of jogging would be okay and possibly nice for you to do together!! As she does have professional aspirations for ballet though just a need to watch how much she does I would have thought as excessive jogging can damage the joints in knees and hips as others have said especially when running on roads etc. A moderate amount of running for enjoyment could be a good thing.....however if she is advanced ballet level I shouldn't think she would need to do another activity to support cardio etc. Ballet is supposed to be anaerobic and so on and I think this is because the exercise is broken up into different speeds during the class but try telling that to students at the end of a long class!!

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My daughter is nearly 17 an is at Central School of Ballet. I think basically she has discovered that she likes running. I might go running with her at the weekend Linn but I will have to buy some decent trainers. Really interesting reading people's views on this subject. I asked her this morning if her legs were aching, she said no but her ankle was sore. Clearly if this going to affect her ballet I know she will definitely give up the short lived running. Perhaps I'll hold off buying the trainers until Saturday.

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I agree that increasing aerobic capacity can be good for dancers, but I would be careful with too much running.  As Anjuli says, different muscle groups are used.  Problems I have seen with teenage pupils who also run seriously include general tightening of turnout - particularly the hip flexors, and also the calves and achilles tendons.  Another danger is shin splints.  Dancers sometimes have problems with this anyway, even though they are dancing on a sprung floor.  Running on hard surfaces can provoke it even more. 

 

A traditional way to increase aerobic capacity is skipping with a rope, at different speeds and alternating between using two feet and one foot (think boxers!!!).  Swimming is also generally recommended.

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Tulip, my daughter enjoys going for an occasional run and it doesn't seem to have done her any harm. She has been out a few times recently mainly I think because of the nice weather. Her view is that as she spends the best part of six days a week shut up inside it is a good way to get some sunshine! I think you will find that quite soon once they are in rehearsals for the summer performances she will have very little time for running anyway so let her enjoy it while she can as long as it doesn't seem to become obsessive exercise and she is not suffering any ill effects. I think that their awareness of their bodies and their dance training is so inbuilt that they automatically warm-up/cool-down adequetly and will stop immediately they feel anything isn't helping their ballet.

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What an interesting article :)

 

However I don't agree with the sentence ...... "The truth is, dancers need to supplement their ballet training with aerobic activity: Studies show that technique class isn’t enough to prepare dancers for performance—the physical intensity of a show has higher aerobic requirements."........total none sense in my opinion. Bet the "study" was done by a sports scientist rather than a dancer. ;)

 

Actually  - the "study" is not one individual study, but (as is often the case in scientific research) a collection of studies all intent on support/refuting the others. All studies agree. Most were done by dance scientists. As in, those who have completed Masters degree level study or above in DANCE science. Most also come from a dance background. As someone who spent hours of my life analysing the movement demands of over 60 classical ballet performances compared to that of a class I can safely say that the studies ARE correct, and I am also proud to call myself a dancer, dance teacher and dance scientist.

 

Obviously there are always limitations to the pure physiological research. Data regarding the physiological demands of class is  less difficult to collect than on stage, as there doesn't usually tend to be an audience present so gases inhaled vs gases exhaled can be analysed using a portable breath-by-breath analyser although the dancer still needs to wear apparatus which again may limit the reliability of the data collected. Sadly there is no real possible or practical way that this can be done for a true stage performance, so the closest that researchers can get is to analyse gases as a dancer comes off stage. By that time they are already recovering so in actual fact, the data regarding the on-stage demands is probably on the low side.

 

However - the research HAS shown (time and time again) that class tends to be moderate to high-intensity, intermittent exercise (bouts of 45 seconds to 2-3 minutes) which uses both anaerobic energy systems. On stage performance varies with a classical ballet company - the corps de ballet may be performing low-intensity movements for up to 10 minutes (definitely AEROBIC) while soloists can blast through a very high intensity variation in 1 minute.

 

If you're still sceptical about the validity of the research, I can point you in the direction of the published resources, all of which have been blind, peer-reviewed ahead of publication.

 

As for running - the article in the magazine pretty much sums up any advice I would give. Although there is some truth in that overtraining the aerobic system will result in a decline in the anaerobic system - ie a long distance runner has a very efficient aerobic system but would be awful at sprinting, and vice versa. What dancers need is a good aerobic foundation to allow recovery in between bouts of exercise, and the ability to perform moderate aerobic exercise. The best way to train for that is to do aerobic intervals. One minute of jogging, or equivalent, and one minute of walking over and over will help all round.

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That does make sense drdance, I also liked the article. It seems the running has been put on a short term hold as she has phoned to say that the tendons in her ankles are sore. I presume from listening to some of your comment, that perhaps her feet could be turning out whilst running, seems weird to a none dancer though.

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When thinking about other types of exercise when one's goal is a career in dance, In addition to considering the sprinter/marathoner question - is the question of how the muscle groups of the body are being used.  A balanced approach is a good approach but at the same time muscles which are being trained for a specific task are in the end - balanced more to one side of the ledger than another.

 

And, in addition to that, is that of opportunity for injury.  Dancers tend to be very careful of the possibility of injury occuring during other activities.  Of course, this doesn't mean wrapping oneself in a cocoon or not engaging in other activities - but dancers just as people who are seriously engaged in sports of all kinds, are aware of this possibility.  Just like a pianist takes very good care of his/her hands.  They still use their hands for all sorts of things (like cutting up a salad using a knife) but it is an awareness of the special equipment one has worked so hard to develop.

 

Another thing to be considered is the repetiveness of the movement.  Running is a repetitive movement (like walking) while dance for the most part is not.  In fact dance is about learning to put different movements together to look like one continuous movement. 

 

Running shifts the weight from foot to foot - each shift requiring a weight bearing impact of body against a solid surfface (the ground) while a dancer may spend quite a bit of time moving without a high impact of body weight against the solid surface as in adagio.  

 

All this again trains the body differently.  Most people who have a vocational aim to their training end up making choices.. 

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Sorry drdance but I am still very happy to stand and say that I do not agree with the following sentence "The truth is, dancers need to supplement their ballet training with aerobic activity: Studies show that technique class isn’t enough to prepare dancers for performance—the physical intensity of a show has higher aerobic requirements."

 

Your evidence may well show improved function and I did not say I was sceptical of the research. In fact I said it was an interesting acticle. However it does not show that professional dancers NEED to supplement their ballet training. Having been a very successful professional dancer and knowing many more, we have only ever prepared for performances with class technique and rehearsal hours. We don't see dancers at Covent Garden or wherever looking (or feeling) tired so clearly class and rehearsals ARE enough to prepare them for successful performances. That is the single aspect of the sentence that I disagree with, proven to myself through my own experiences.

 

As far as the study goes, a dancer is a dancer and a dance scientist is a dance scientist. They are not made up of the same thing and they do not think in the same way. If you don't 'get' this then you are not and never have been a dancer. A Masters degree does not make a dancer and analysing dancers does not make a dancer. It is only a dancer that understands dancing and the innate feelings whilst dancing. The dancers feel fine in their performances (because I know them) and so are clearly happy with their training, regardless of the scientists thinking otherwise. Academia has a very limited place in the real dance world and the majority of dancers are not impressed by big words or evidence.

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Pas de Quatre am interested to see swimming recommended......personally I think this is a great aerobic exercise for a dancer and shouldn't damage joints etc HOWEVER I clearly remember having a run in with my dance teacher when I was 14 because I used to swim for my school (though wasn't a swimming club member or anything and wasnt doing hours of training) and she was really concerned I would get big shoulder muscles and said I should stop going swimming regularly!! Ive always loved swimming and was loathe to do this. But people do have to make choices in the end if serious about something I suppose. For me it was probably the beginning of the end as the following year gave all the ballet up.....what with homework and Saturday job etc....just too many demands.

 

But I am always torn about such situations is it right to stop someone(who in this case enjoys running) doing something they enjoy because they might be developing the wrong muscle groups etc. At 17 I would think there is a lot of resilience as long as an extra activity doesn't become too excessive....but then at the higher levels of ballet one could get injured anyway from doing that even with all,the right muscle groups being in use!!

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DS was advised at the end of Year 1 at Central what sports/activities were good to do and which ones weren't.

 

Can't remember exactly what he said now but it was mostly activities like skateboarding and skiing (not that he does either of those) where a fall could mean a fracture.

 

When he's home he'll go swimming and cycling, all in moderation.

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