The latest French GRAZIA (a weekly fashion mag) has a double-pager on Chinese child-athletes under the title "Martyrs to the Stadium".
The article concerns the techniques allegedly used in China for training child acrobats, gymnasts and athletes, accompanied by photographs of children in severe pain, grimacing and weeping.
Various pictures resemble to a T the techniques used in many dancing schools today, tecniques designed to achieve the abnormal range of motion now the norm. For example, child goes into full frontal splits with each leg over a stool. Adult sits on the child's legs to increase the so-called "stretch".
One quite marvels at what Daniel GOURY, technical head of the French Federation of Gymnastics, has to say about this to GRAZIA,
"...This criticism of China is most unfair (faux procès, in French). Droip round to take a look at the petits rats of the Paris Opera, and you'll observe similar things. The performance the audience expects to see, can only be achived by going beyond the body's normal amplitude ... The aim is to push children to reach a dream level (sic), like the Olympics. Once they get there, they thank us."
I beg to disagree with Mr. Goury, whose name in French, BTW, puns nicely on the expression "a ghastly mistake" (se gourer).
In Miss Pawlick's recent book on the Vaganova School, Gabriela KOMLEVA refers to precisely this issue (paraphrase, I can't find the book in my library):
"our duty is to educate the public's taste, and not to follow blindly after those who see dancing as a sports event"'.
For a summary of the views of various specialists on the issue of "normal range of motion"http://augustevestris.fr/spip.php?page= ... rticle=124