>The Reluctant Ballerina

>My daughter has been actively feising for over three years now and has done well. She’s in Open/Prizewinner in her Reel and Hornpipe and Novice in the Slip Jig and Treble Jig and consistently brings home medals. Not bad for an eight year old right? Yet there’s one judges’ comment that keeps appearing on her result sheets and that’s “Turn Out”. It’s not just in one dance either – it’s across the board. I thought with practice she’d outgrow it and the issue would be resolved yet two feisianna into the year there it is again – “turn out”, “toes out”. Lately another comment has been appearing and that’s “posture”. Over the past year I would gently remind her before each event to concentrate on her turn out while dancing.  Teachers have also reminded her about it classes and private lessons and while she’s gotten better the problem has not been resolved. I’ve tracked her feis progress for the past year and it became clear that she’s flat lined – getting the same results, same placement and same points. It’s occurred to me that until she fixes her turn out and posture nothing will change. As I’ve mentioned she’s been in solo classes and private lessons in additon to her weekly class so for me it was time to take a different approach to help her – the addition of a ballet class and she is not amused!

Being a former competitive jazz dancer I began to look back over my practice routine and realized that I always began a lesson and performance with warm ups of ballet stretching. The warm ups would consist of a round of plies, reveles and  rond de jambes to name a few. The routine helped strengthen my legs and maintained my flexibility. I still use the practice as part of my workout warm ups. Her Irish dance studio shares a space with a ballet school – how convenient is that? So a few days ago I pulled the trigger and enrolled my daughter in a Saturday morning ballet class. She took a ballet/tap class for two years prior to Irish dance so at least it will be familiar to her and she won’t have to start at the very beginning. When I broke the news to her this morning on our way to school the whining began! “Mom! I hate ballet!” Truthfully so did I but I’m big believer that the practice of core ballet techniques should be part of every dancers routine – along with yoga and pilates but that’s for another blog.  I assured her that this was only temporary and as soon as her turn out, posture and flexibility improve then she can quit. It’ll be interesting to see if my theory is correct and how soon her technique will improve – if for no other reason than to get out of ballet. The first lesson is tomorrow and I’m sure over the next few weeks I’ll have plenty of material for upcoming blogs! to be continued Slainte!


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