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 Post subject: muscle definition in children
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 1:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 47
Location: Great Britain
I have just read an article in the latest DANCE EUROPE magazine where both Gailene Stock of the Royal Ballet school and Elizabeth Platel of Paris Opera ballet school were interviewed. One of the question asked of them both was 'what physical attributes do you look for in assessing a candidate for the school at audition?'. Both gave more or less the same response, ie, legs longer than the torso, small head, long neck, sloping shoulders etc, but Elizabeth Platel mentioned that 'muscular quality is quite important'. Can anyone explain to me as a 'ballet mum' and not a dancer, is this a naturally occurring thing in children of let's say, eleven years old? I have a child of that age who is very slim and has all the above attributes mentioned but one of her teachers recently told me she was surprised that she didn't have more muscle definition given how many classes she does per week plus a one hour body conditioning class on Saturdays, and that she would work with her on that. I didn't ask for more info at the time but reading this article has aroused my curiosity!


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 Post subject: Re: muscle definition in children
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Scotland/France
Aude, in young children (and I guess that's what both speakers were asked to assess, since this is usually requirements asked of very young children who have at best only limited training), muscle quality may not equate to muscle definition.
Things like long Achiles tendons is usually seen as a 'natural' (something you get without training) quality that will be favoured at audition. It's assessed usually by asking the student to bend the knees as much as possible without lifting the heels off the floor. The deeper the plié usually means the longer the tendon.
This is only one example of things that will be favoured by those schools. I'm sure there are a multitude of other exercises that will be asked of the young dancer at such audition (believe it or not, I did that type of assessment as a teenager, but I can't remember at all what we had to do specifically on the day -must be the nerves!) :)


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 Post subject: Re: muscle definition in children
PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 47
Location: Great Britain
Many thanks for pointing out the difference as I would have interpreted them to mean the same thing :confused: .
I have noted though that some children in my daughter's age group, doing the same amount of classes as her, seem to have muscle 'definition' in their legs and arms, I guess you might describe them as wirey or sinewy. these bodies seem to be more favoured by such schools as the royal ballet school, her teacher said something about them being able to see the muscles working more clearly if that makes sense.


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 Post subject: Re: muscle definition in children
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 9:27 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 29, 2004 11:01 pm
Posts: 110
Location: USA (Midwest)
aude, perhaps what this teacher is calling "muscle quality" is something also called "muscle tone." Toned muscles, while not necessarily showing a lot of definition, do have an appearance of firmness and I suspect that's what this is teacher is talking about. A person's ability to develop muscle tone is a function of many factors. Physical activity is of course one of them, but so are genetics and diet. Genetics you can't do a whole lot about ;) but diet deficiencies are often easily remedied. If a person isn't consuming enough protein, that makes it harder for the muscles to grow. And I've seen young dancers resist adding more protein to their diets because usually it feels heavier on their stomachs (and that's because it takes longer to digest). But it's well worth the battle to get them to consume more protein, especially in the growing years!


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