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Other dance styles that help Ballet?


tomuchtallent
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I'm not really sure that other dance styles really 'help' ballet as such (apart from contemporary perhaps), but they certainly help to produce a rounded dancer, and potentially more employable one.

 

Conversely I think ballet definitely helps with other forms of dance - you can definitely tell a jazz or modern dancer who has been classically trained.

 

There was an interesting program on TV over Christmas where Darcey Bussel was 're-creating' classic dance scenes from the movies in other genres, including a Fred and Ginger number, and a Tap number. She commented that it was like having to unlearn what she had been trained to do. (Of course she did it all brilliantly, but with her natural humility she got across that it didn't come naturally to her).

 

I would say be careful of gymnastics - the posture required is very different from the ballet posture so there can be a conflict (probably not an issue when they are young, but if they get to a high level in both it could be a problem).

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I wondered what the view was on acro with ballet-dd recently gave it up (simply because she had too much on) but I have heard that the lower back needs to be so 'bendy' for this discipline that it can then be difficult to keep a straighter lower back for ballet. Having said that, acro really helps with flexibility so I'm not sure we have done the right thing!

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I think gymnastics can also develop muscles differently from ballet, e.g. The Quads.

 

My dd does ISTD Modern actually as a contrast and relaxation from all the ballet, but when you see her dance you can see the classical influence. It looks lovely, particularly in the lyrical Modern pieces.

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I think tap is the exeption to this, as you don't turn out in tap. Sometimes ballet dancers have a problem remembering NOT to turn out when tapping. I know my ds sometimes has a problem with this as he has really good turnout. As far as gymnastics go, I think it helps flexibility, but different muscles are used and also they are encouraged not to turn out because of balance. My dd gave up for this reason as she suddenly started to struggle with turnout at ballet.

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I agree re. tap. My dd is studying Grade 5 tap at the moment, in case she wants to go down the musical theatre route at a later date. She's a really good tapper but the top half of her always looks like she's doing ballet! :-)

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My daughter is the the same spannerandpony - her feet are great but she doesn't look quite right from the waist up! and I have to say having also watched the TV prog on Darcey Bussell over xmas (which Glowlight mentioned) I actually didn't think she looked like a tapper at all -she may have hit every beat but it didn't look natural to me (my opinion)

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As far as gymnastics go, I think it helps flexibility, but different muscles are used and also they are encouraged not to turn out because of balance. My dd gave up for this reason as she suddenly started to struggle with turnout at ballet.

 

I totally agree as this was my daughter's experience also (regarding turnout). I guess it depends what kind of gymnastics you do too. Artistic gymnastic training (4 piece) will change their whole body shape giving them broad shoulders and a tiny waist resembling an upside down triangle and each move starts with a presentation involving a hyperextended back, not sure these are the qualities favoured by RBS! Again ballet benefitted her floor work but gymnastics certainly didn't benefit her ballet (mind you she was training for 19 hours per week at the time! :unsure: )

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The muscles and posture that are developed for ballet are quite specific and different than other forms of dance and sport such as gymnastics and/or ice skating.

 

The Russian schools have (in the past at least) had quite strict rules about the students undertaking other forms of physical activity. I think at one time they limited it to recreational swimming. They did incorporate folk dance but it was folk dance done in a classical style - such as is seen in classical ballets. They may have very well opened out their structure since to include some contemporary/modern. I'm not aware of to what extent, however.

 

I had a teacher who claimed that he could pick out in class those ballet students who has taken up other forms of dance in addition to ballet. He called them "tainted" - his words not mine. To some extent this is true - but I would not use the word "tainted."

 

I know that all through the years I was in ballet class there were always a large contingent of modern/contemporary dancers (professional level). They were there for the core strength and structure of ballet. They said their command of contemporary movement was improved by ballet. On the other hand, their ballet never looked "pure." Their ballet movement seemed somehow blurred - the sharp edge wasn't there.

 

Also, there is quite a difference in how the music is made visible.

 

I remember once a modern/contemporary dancer (she was the dance dept. head of a college) and I took a piece of music and we choreographed it as a balllet (since I had no traning in contemporary - whilst she had had years of ballet). We each did the same dance, same steps throughout, at the same time. But, it looked very different. In ballet the musical impetus is up and up - whilst in contemporary the dancer goes down to go up.

 

Her emphasis was on the downbeat while mine was on the upbeat. As we watched ourselves dance in the mirror - beginning and ending at the same time - doing the same steps (ballet steps) - the dance looked entirely different.

 

It was a fascinating experience.

 

I am not aware of any other form of dance which improves the ballet dancer physically except that the dancer is more knowledgeable.

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I strongly believe that the 'disco' class my dd took when young helped tremendously with her overall dance training. Nothing to do with the actual steps but they were expected to pick the routines up very quickly - the teacher had a commercial dance background and often spoke about how these type of auditions were run - but also they often performed the same routine to different pieces of music i.e. needed to adapt tempo etc making them very aware of listening to the music and timings.

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I definately think (or rather my dd does) that the ability to pick things up steps wise is something which can only be a bonus. She is very classically orientated physically and musically but is not perfect technically. However when she dances something which is Lyrical modern or contemporary based she comes alive. She has done very well at out local dance festivals with her lyrical modern solos and on the strength of this has been asked to do duets and goups. On top of her normal syllabus classes of ballet, modern, contemporary and jazz she also does 2 non syllabus ballet classes a week and still knows exactly what she should be doing! Makes my head spin! She also loves street and hip hop although does not look natural!

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