CriticalDance Forum

Arthritis and ballet.
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Author:  FalleSafe [ Sun Nov 06, 2005 11:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Arthritis and ballet.

Hi there. I'm new to the forum, and I've actually never taken any dance classes before. I'm really interested in learning ballet for my own enjoyment. It's beautiful to watch and I think I'd just love it. Although I'm probably way too old to go jumping around like Baryshnikov (I'm 27), my flexibility and overall fitness are very good.

As much as I'd like to go for it, there are two things that bother me. One is that I have mild arthritis in my hip. The other is that my body type is really not ideal for this. I have heavily muscled legs and I'm over 200 lbs. lean. So I'm kind of concerned 1) about the impact of my body weight on my joints, and 2) The effect that turning out my feet may have on my hips. I'm afraid that I might get two years of good fun out of this at the cost of messing myself up pretty bad.

But I just don't know about that. So I'm wondering what advice you might give? Can people get by okay in ballet with arthritic joints, as long as they're not trying to do extremely difficult things? Or is it all pretty harsh on the joints? I guess I could try a kind of dance that's more forgiving (modern). But I don't like modern dance anywhere near as much.

Author:  Joanne [ Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:02 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi fallesafe

Thank you for posting a very interesting point.

I think the only person who can probably answer your question fully is your doctor/physician or maybe it would be best to consult with a physician that has knowledge of sports or dance injuries to see whether starting dance of any kind would have any impact on your condition.

It would be wrong of us to give what would be a medical opinion as known of us are qualified to do so.

However I hope you do consult with someone and I hope that the answer is positive as you seem very keen and enthusiastic and that is really the best qualities a beginner can have.

Good luck

Author:  Beth Kurtz [ Thu Nov 17, 2005 7:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

Fallesafe, Joann is right, a consultation with a sports doctor would probably be helpful.

I had to give up ballet at 50 because of arthritis in my knees and feet, but am still teaching and doing quite a bit of ballroom dancing. One thing I know is important to keep you moving is to keep the leg muscles strong -- sounds like you're doing that already. (I do it with various weight-training exercises, sitting on the mat with ankle weights. It helps tremendously.)

As for your 200 lbs. -- you didn't mention your height. If you are considerably overweight, then yes it will help protect your joints to lose some of that. But if you're 6 ft. tall, well then no need to go all anorexic.

Good luck to you.

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