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Recovery Room for Adult Recreational Dancers


mimi66
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I am off my regular classes at the moment - not an injury, just suffering from a medical condition which affects my balance. I do not feel comfortable doing turns, jumps and grand allegro in general, I am happy going to beginners class to work on my basic techinique for a few weeks before I resume my normal classes.

 

In addition, I would also like to do some ballet specific exercise, preferably floor bound.  I have been looking at internet to find some that looks safe and effective.

 

Then it came to my attention that a lot of people in this forum suffer from injuries from time to time, and I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread where adult recreational dancers can help each other  or get a helpful advice from experts to re-build their strength and may be even to imporve their basic technique (turnout etc) post-injury. 

 

I also think we could use this thread to whinge a bit, too... Our non-dancing family and friends are loving and supportive, but sometimes they don't quite "get it"... they wonder what is the big deal, it is not as if we are professionals....which of course isn't the point(e).  I think one would find more sympathetic ears here...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have decided that I would like to use my "floor bound time" to work on my lower back flexibility (among other things)... I have seen a couple of nice exercises in another thread, which I shall try out stating tomorrow.

 

Today I did a bit of ballet floor barre exercise - luckily one of my ex-professional ballet dancer friend offered me a one-to-one (I must have been whinging very loudly!) After a 45 min session I felt so much better.

 

My friend rent me a book on floor barre  so I can do some of them on my own. The book is called "Maria Fay's floor Barre". 

 

It is already a classic book so many of the people in this Forum probably already know about it, though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       
 

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The Royal opera house shop also sells a floor barre DVD which uses pupils from the John Cranko School. I believe there are 3 different levels to this but you can order online. I would say start out with the most basic as the middle level is quite tough or I am particularly unfit which is also the case????

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I've not heard of Maria Fay's Floor Barre, but I'll find out more about it now.

 

I know what you mean about non-dancing people around you not 'getting it'. In fact, I have a work-social coming up on the same night as one of my classes, which I don't want to miss. But I know if I don't go along to the work-social, my colleagues will say, 'But it's just ballet, surely you can miss one class?!' They've said it before and I'm sure they'll say it again :(

 

But I have a funny story to share as well. Recently while sewing ribbons onto pointe shoes on an early morning train (I was in a rush to get them ready for class that evening) the woman who sat beside me on the packed train asked me if I was a professional dancer from one of the UK companies! :D At first I thought she was joking but she was actually serious and all because I had pointe shoes in my hands! It was lovely though, we had a nice chat about ballet and I think it was the first time she got to see real pointe shoes up close. She even gave me some tips with sewing (I'm really slow at sewing). So it's not all bad with non-dancing people not understanding ballet!

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Well I've barely danced since September :( I have Achilles tendinopathy (tendonitis) which comes and goes but September was the worst it's ever been and I could barely walk for days!

 

So I got straight to the Physio and I've followed his instructions very carefully (gentle calf and soleus stretches followed eventually by eccentric stretches plus of course ice, elevation, supportive shoes and I've been taped up etc).

 

I've been so desperate to dance but every time I tested myself I knew it wasn't right, I could barely drive at one point with the back of my shoe digging in whenever I pressed the clutch - thought I was going to have to trade in for an automatic car but I just changed my shoes instead lol! So I've been really careful as the last thing I wanted was a rupture!

 

In the last few weeks I've just started doing barre with no rises on my left leg plus some gentle centre exercises, definitely no allegro yet! Back to body balance and swimming (which strangely also aggravated it!) and it's OK, not perfect, I'm still aware of it but I'm getting there!

 

I'm desperate to get back to Zumba but I think that would certainly be pushing it!!

 

So no real point to my post, just a bit of a moan which it sounded like it was ok to do on this thread! But glad to be getting slowly back to normal now!

 

Sorry to hear about your difficulties Mimi but sounds as though you're doing the right thing going back to basics for a while, nothing is worth risking your health or chronic injury for!

 

I bought a membership for barre concept, it's one of the many popular barre workouts around. You can pay £9 to have access to their online workouts for a month and there are some floor ones in there. Don't think they would really help with technique but some exercises help with core strength and flexibility and for me it was just something different I could do while I was out of action and better than a class because I could pick and choose the bits that I knew I could manage!

 

I also do Boris Kniaseff's floor barre sometimes, the style of it seems to suit me better than others I've come across though I'm sure they're all very good :)

Edited by Aurora
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When I was last allowed to swim properly (as opposed to just doing my hydrotherapy exercises), I wasn't allowed to use my arms and legs at the same time. On my front, I used to put a float between my knees and just do front crawl arms. On my back, float between knees again and scull with my arms.

 

If swimming using your legs aggravates any injury, this might be a way forward. If you have an upper body, arm or shoulder injury, the opposite can be tried - i.e. laying on your back, hugging a float, and only kicking with your legs.

 

Obviously check with your physio first but if anyone likes swimming but their injury precludes using legs - or arms - this can work really well.

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I do that with a float sometimes, just for variety as I do quite a few lengths when I go. I'm not really a massive fan of swimming though so didn't mind missing out, it was just odd as I thought swimming would be the one thing that wouldn't cause pain!!

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Aurora, I am sorry to hear about your achilles tendinopathy - must be frustrating not to be able to dance for a while...Yes it is fine to have a good moan here, I believe it is very threaputic ;) .

 

I must try Boris Kniaseff's Floor Barre DVD some time...apart from the recommendation from Balleteacher and Aurora, John Cranko School's students demonstrating sounds very enticing. 

 

Dancer Sugar Plum, what a lovely story!  But then the lady on the train must also noted you poise before coming to her conclusion.

 

I have one burning question of the moment.  When you are more or less floor bound, how do you warm up before stretching? Normally I would either walk on the spot for about 10 minutes (normally watching some ballet Youtube video) or do the stretch after a hot bath.

 

I have seen a floor-ish warm-up exercise as well, but curios to know if there other ways to warm-up.

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Was it breast stroke which aggravated it do you know......did it hurt more when doing breast stroke?

I'm not sure really as I change strokes for each length but I do a lot of breast stroke so it's entirely possible! It just started really throbbing after a while!
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I have one burning question of the moment. When you are more or less floor bound, how do you warm up before stretching? Normally I would either walk on the spot for about 10 minutes (normally watching some ballet Youtube video) or do the stretch after a hot bath.

 

I have seen a floor-ish warm-up exercise as well, but curios to know if there other ways to warm-up.

I don't think a wam up is really essential if you're doing floor barre as you start with the easiest exercises and there's no body weight on your joints or anything. I guess you could do things on the floor like ankle circles, hip rotations and should rolls.

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I don't think a wam up is really essential if you're doing floor barre as you start with the easiest exercises and there's no body weight on your joints or anything. I guess you could do things on the floor like ankle circles, hip rotations and should rolls.

 

Oh, i was not clear on this... I was thinking about when I do not want to do the full floor barre session but still want some stretch.  I know I might be becoming a bit paranoid may be, but then I am not getting any younger...

 

I guess I could also use some pilates (I have Darcy Bussels' book somewhere) warm-up sequence.

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When I had my right sided back problem recently which made it particularly painful to bend towards the right or backwards (apart from the general pain) my osteo said if I went swimming (which I haven't for ages anyway) to be wary of doing too much breaststroke it would be better to vary the strokes but a bit of breast stroke was okay.

 

I wondered in the poster who had a foot problem whether its because in breast stroke there is more use of the foot in the kick out etc whereas in crawl its more of a relaxed foot though still repetitively active!

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Oh, i was not clear on this... I was thinking about when I do not want to do the full floor barre session but still want some stretch. I know I might be becoming a bit paranoid may be, but then I am not getting any younger...

 

I guess I could also use some pilates (I have Darcy Bussels' book somewhere) warm-up sequence.

Yes I should think some Pilates or floor barre would suffice as a warm up. I guess just increase the intensity of the stretch very gradually to ensure you're properly warm rather than dropping straight into splits or something!

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I had some improver swimming lessons last year and was hilarious doing the butterfly I need another ten years to master that one!!

 

Those dolphine kickes, so difficult!

 

I feel I need about 10 years of imporver's swimming lessons in order to make swimming meaningful aerobic exercise for me... I can swim, but can't really able to swim 20minutes or so uninterupted.

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In the butterfly it's finding the rythym of the stroke which I find difficult and it is so totally exhausting to do you would wonder why anyone would want to specialise in it!! But when it is done by an expert Olympic level swimmer it does look rather good and they make it look so easy(parallels with ballet there!) Just occasionally if I managed just two good flows with it I got to the joy of the stroke but usually I was exhausted by just halfway down the LEARNER pool!! It's a stroke which is probably not that compatible for young serious ballet dancers as it must build up the shoulder muscles more than even crawl does!

However for older adult recreational.....but also serious....dancers swimming can be good especially if injured just doing a bit of each stroke(I learned how to do backstroke properly last year too) is good exercise for the joints and can build up aerobic potential.

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Back from tonight's biginners+ class.  No grand allegro in this class.

 

Tried out double pirouette, en dehor and en dedan - both fine! :) Balance issue (medical) getting better, I think.

 

However being in the centre is still somwhat disorientating, so will keep away from my normal classes  just yet.

 

Worked a lot on turn out and articulation of my feet - who said beginners' class are easy???? :unsure:

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Back from tonight's biginners+ class.  No grand allegro in this class.

 

Tried out double pirouette, en dehor and en dedan - both fine! :) Balance issue (medical) getting better, I think.

 

However being in the centre is still somwhat disorientating, so will keep away from my normal classes  just yet.

 

Worked a lot on turn out and articulation of my feet - who said beginners' class are easy???? :unsure:

 

If you understand that beginners' classes are not easy, then it is proof you are an advanced dancer who has been well-trained and very accomplished. :)

 

I'm glad your balance issue is getting better.

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Guest chinafish

 who said beginners' class are easy???? :unsure:

 

Quite often my muscles ache more after a beginners class than an intermediate class...!!

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The worst injury I suffered during my career was a badly torn groin muscle.  The ability to do larger movements came back within 6 months.  The finer - smaller - movements such as petit battement took a year.  It was 3 yrs before it was completely healed.  I could lift my leg to 90 (and above) degrees and hold it there long before I could lift it two inches and hold it.

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If you understand that beginners' classes are not easy, then it is proof you are an advanced dancer who has been well-trained and very accomplished. :)

 

I'm glad your balance issue is getting better.

 

Dancer Sugar Plum, nice of you to say so - I am very flattered!

 

I certainly have been well-trained in that allof my ballet teachers (past and present) are all great teachers.  Full of  passion and love for ballet, and so much patience!

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Glad to hear you are getting better, Balleteacher!

 

 

The worst injury I suffered during my career was a badly torn groin muscle.  The ability to do larger movements came back within 6 months.  The finer - smaller - movements such as petit battement took a year.  It was 3 yrs before it was completely healed.  I could lift my leg to 90 (and above) degrees and hold it there long before I could lift it two inches and hold it.

 

I did not know that smaller movements takes more work... how interesting!

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