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jazz class- teaching methods? getting more flexible ?


Ellen
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Hi ,

 

My daughter came out a jazz class saying that the teacher pushes them down to make them stretch more and the girls were a little upset and in pain ??! -Iim not sure if this is acceptable practice? she's only 8 yrs!

Anyway that plus a few other things has cheesed me and her off completely - shes' not going there any more ! 

 

She s good at ballet but needs to become more flexible any dvd's etc out there that we could invest in instead of this jazz lesson ? 

 

 

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Flexibility is achieved slowly and should never be pushed.

 

I know many people think highly of DVD for such activities.  However, I do not.  Nothing replaces an experienced teacher.  Especially for the young student - supervision is essential.

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Hi,

 

Could you ask your DD's other teachers for some helpful homework exercises? As long as the teacher makes sure she is doing them safely and correctly that would be preferable to DVDs or YouTube videos. I don't think there's any need for teachers to be pushing kids to the point of pain and tears in flexibility work. 

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As a mum I wouldn't be happy with that at all and would be pulling her out of that lesson as you have. Ballet classes don't seem to involve a lot of stretching, especially at that age. Would she be interested in trying gymnastics?

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My daughter's flexibility increased a great deal when she started gymnastics - more so when she was moved into the 'non recreational' group and attending 3 times per week. She never came out in tears but I did see coaches using their body weight to push the children down in stretches (aged 7-8) which I found quite scary - they would 'sit' on the children, without using their full weight I presume! That was at the top club in the region!

 

She eventually left there and had a year off, she recently started at another gym club where I do see some physical pressure but not nearly so much, though she is in a recreational group now.

 

Dd's dance school does have specific stretching classes too but they're not as intense as gymnastics - much better for them I'm sure, but also not as effective!

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My youngest DD did competive gymnastics before she took up ballet and she also said there was a lot of forcing done regarding flexibility !! In fact they even had a machine that was used to stretch their backs !! But on a good note it made her very strong and sometimes she says perhaps I shouldn't of given up gym.

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Funny thing is - during a chat with another parent at dd's previous school she mentioned that her dd did a lot of stretching at gymnastics, and that the gym teachers would lean on them and push them down etc.

 

Another parent (overhearing) said that she worked for the local LEA and to her mind this was tantamount to physical abuse of children and shouldn't be allowed under any circumstances...

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My dd aged 9 gets "pushed" but as far as I can tell its only to check they can feel resistance rather than pushing excessively into a stretch, and not to cause any pain. This is in a stretch class.

 

Certainly none of them are upset or distressed as they love it. Mostly they do things they can control themselves up against walls and it looks safe and I've questioned things a few times and always got thoughtful answers.

 

Any stretches she does in ballet or other classes appear less extreme and they aren't man-handled for those such as frogs, splits, etc

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Teachers are not usually allowed to come into Physical contact with children if working for most LEA's these days......at least it has to be reasonable

So this would not be allowed in an LEA school.

 

However in a privately run class like gymnastics it might be more acceptable even though I personally don't approve that much of all this forcing I think if the kids are happy with it and they are not getting injured then maybe it's okay....but of course if any child doesn't want to be physically pushed or forced then a good instructor should respect this.

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Yes exactly it has to be an individual choice and so much depends on the relationship with the Instructor.....if this is a very good one then I don't suppose most kids would mind the odd push and done in the right spirit and so on. As long as its not becoming sadistic which in most cases it won't be!

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Hi Aly, stretching can be tough for young dancers as it does involve some degree of pain, as a teacher I try and explain to my pupils the difference between "good pain" and "bad pain" in their stretch class, I also let them have the choice as to how far they push themselves as pain thresh holds vary!

On the topic of stretching at home, I encourage it, as stretching once a week/a few times before class isn't really enough to improve flexibility greatly.

For leg flexibility I normally suggest my dancers sit with their legs together in front of them and fold their chest over their legs to stretch the hamstrings and hold this stretch for minimum 30 seconds, then repeat the same with legs in a "frog" position in front of them (feet together,knees out to side) and then sit in splits, both legs and then in second (box) again for at least 30 seconds. If she does this every day, after a good warmup (very important) and under supervision whilst she's young, your DD should see a big improvement! If her splits comfortably flat then putting a folded towel/pillow under the front foot will increase the stretch! Hope this helps! X

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