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Strange and dangerous exercises!


tomuchtallent
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My dds ballet teacher was ill and someone came into cover for one lesson.She started with stretching and before the barre she made all the girls one by one stand facing against the wall in second,they were holding on to two handles.They had to plie as far down as they could while she held their bodies flat against the wall.The girls couldnt go all the way down to grande plie apart from my dd with ease and she was finished straight away .They looked very uncomfortable!what was the point of this?It looked like it was very bad for their knees.Im glad she wont be teaching my dd again!

Has anybody else seen strange excersizes and wondered why would they do that!!

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Never seen that one before!

 

A couple of the girls in my dd's Associate class do a stretch at the barre before the teacher arrives for class. They place one foot onto the barre but then slide the supporting leg away from under them, to simulate splits.

 

I was absolutely horrified at them doing this and have banned my dd from ever trying this, on pain of death (explaining what would happen if the supporting foot slipped).

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I didn't think any splits type exercises should be done until after a full warm up. When the teacher is there they do the splits (on the floor) after a full warm up and at least 45 minutes barre work.

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I find what you're all saying interesting because it is an exercise that I see being done daily to warm-up by kids who are younger than 13 and unsupervised... I suppose they are all dancing everyday... To me, it's always been normal and part of the routine! And actually when DD who's 12 auditioned for RBS, most kids were doing it or big splits on the floor or against a wall as part of their warming-up routine...

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I dislike that particular exercise up against the barre. It always looks to me like what Anjuli once called "a no rescue" stretch (or something like that; apologies if I've misquoted you Anjuli! :-)

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It's frightening how many young dancers think that to warm up they must stretch.

 

I don't know where these young people are getting this message but it's up to us as teachers and parents to instill into them that the first part of a warm up must be cardio based, anything that gets them out of breath. It can be as simple as jogging on the spot, star jumps, playing a game of tag etc.

 

Once they're physically warm some gentle stretches are ok as part of a general pre-dance routine.

 

tomuchtallent I think I can see the idea of that teachers exercise in that it's trying to get the dancers into a flat plie but a) stretching like this before class is bad news and yes it's bad for knees, hips etc. Not every dancer has the ability to get into a flat plie in 2nd because of the way the hip joint is made. Knees can twist once bent, although they're not designed to so to force it is very bad.

 

(edited to remove a random smiley that crept in!)

Edited by dancerbabe82
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Personally, I think that a lot of the young dancers do these sort of stretches before class because they are showing off. They do not have the knowledge, because of poor teaching, to understand not only that it is dangerous but that being ultra flexible in it's own right does not necessarily mean that one is a talented dancer. I have seen some quite frightening poses in my time!!

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I agree with Jellybeans. How many times do you come across someone when they find out you do ballet, the first thing they ask you is ,"Can you do the splits?". I used to get it all the time. I even remember once playing outside with friends, and they all asked me to do the splits. Of course, i wasn`t warmed up,and i wasn`t about to explain that to them.So i went down[rather gingerly] into the splits for their entertainment. If i hadn`t, they might have thought i had no talent or something. Silly thinking about it now, but i guess when you`re 11 these things are important.!

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From above:

 

"It always looks to me like what Anjuli once called "a no rescue" stretch (or something like that; apologies if I've misquoted you Anjuli! :-) "

 

Pretty close! I don't ever recommend doing a stretch which doesn't give the body a "way out." Why is doing a split along the wall better than one down on the floor where if something should give way - the body is close to the floor with two hands ready to take the weight if necessary. Why is stretching the backs of the calves and Achilles tendon better on the edge of a step when the same thing can be accomplished much more safely on the floor by stepping back and leaning forward.

 

I agree that many times these showy stretches are done for the "wow" factor.

 

As for stretching the first thing in class - only very gentle stretches - leave the big stuff until thoroughly warmed up. I had a substitute teacher who started class off with grand battements. She said it would it either make us or break us. No thank you! I walked out.

 

As for grand pliés -except in 2nd position, I think they are counter productive and put the knees in jeopardy. I stopped doing them in 1980 and never noticed that it negatively affected my dancing. I also ceased teaching them in my classes. There was and article many many years ago written by an orthopedist who specialized in dance injuries who railed against grand pliés in any position except 2nd.

 

In discussing this with other teachers - they agreed with my thoughts - but continued to give them in class. They said the students expected grand pliés.

 

So, in an exercise - what to do with the "extra" music? Do two demi-pliés instead. You get the same amount of "good" with none of the harm.

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All my DD's teachers - local, associate and vocational - have stressed the importance of NOT stretching before being warmed up.

 

At the workshop RBS ran for yr 6 JA's to prepare them for auditions, they were specifically told not to do those types of stretches before the audition class - they acknowledged some candidates would do.....but they would be cross if they saw any of the associates trying it!

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