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Academy

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Academy Students 2008-2009
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The level of training at the Academy is very much like Olympic training, as it is
the highest standard possible, and looks to a long future for the student. The
level of physical development is such that the muscles must develop in
extremely specific ways so that the student can have the level of mastery of
the steps needed to meet global standards for classical ballet. Consequently,
the type of outside activity must be limited so it does not contradict specific
muscular development. The Academy recognizes that today�s youth are
encouraged to participate in sports activities. Many public and private schools
recognize ballet training as equivalent to sports, but some do not. It is up to
the student and his/her parents to understand the unique demands of classical
ballet and be sure that nothing is being done to contradict or undermine the
ballet training.

Ballet dance technique requires the dancer to use what is called 'turnout',
which is the full rotation of the hips. The muscles that control turnout are small,
and are located at the top of the leg, in the hip joints, and around the pelvis.
Training the body to rely on these secondary and tertiary muscles takes time
and constant exercise. To make these muscles strong enough to perform
classical ballet steps well takes years of development. Any repetitive use of
the large muscles of the legs (quadriceps and gluteus maximi) will lead to their
overdevelopment, and contradict the use of the smaller muscles. Therefore,
any sport or activity that demands of the body to work constantly with the
legs in a parallel position works against the ballet training. Track and Field,
cycling, jogging, and knee bends are counterproductive to the child's
development.

Likewise, to achieve maximum efficiency of movement unencumbered is also
an essential basic element of ballet technique. The dancer must have absolute
control of every single muscle in the body, and know each muscle�s strength,
range, flexibility and speeds. It must not be over developed, nor developed
with artificial stresses or confinement, for if a muscle is confined or
overdeveloped, it will not function reliably or properly. Just as the body must
be free of unnecessary excess fat, so too must the muscles remain free of
internal scar tissue because any extra weight slows the speed capacity of the
muscle and interrupts the brain�s ability to communicate with that muscle.
Therefore, weight training also works against proper development of the body
for ballet.

We recognize that team sports can provide much benefit to children, can help
in development of social skills, and give a child a sense of accomplishment that
is widely recognized by their peers and society in general. Should a child want
to participate in school sports, they should be encouraged to do so. However,
once an Academy student achieves a particular level of technical ability, the
study of ballet must take precedence in their lives, and they will most likely be
given athletic requirement credit for their work in ballet. Academy students
must consult the Head Master if participation in a sport is of interest. It is
recommended that the student, their parents and the coach of the sport have a
meeting with Academy staff or Head Master to outline what is required by the
sport, and to coordinate the sport training with the ballet training so there is no
conflict for the developing body.

Below is the list of sports that work well with classical ballet training:

Baseball/Softball
Basketball
Billiards/Pool
Diving
English style equestrian sport and dressage
Hand Ball
Fencing
Field Hockey (without excessive running in training sessions)
Gymnastics
Polo
Soccer (without excessive running in training sessions)
Squash/Racquet Ball
Surfing
Swimming
Synchronized Swimming
Table Tennis
Team Handball
Tennis
Volley Ball
Water Polo
Wrestling (without weight training)

The Body Mechanics classes offered by the Academy will also help the
student to understand the proper application of muscle use for a specific sport,
and should the student excel in a sport, a special Body Mechanics seminar can
be developed and offered to the other children on that sports team so they
understand how the dance training can enhance and augment their performance
in the sport.

                                                                                                                                                               

Margot Fonteyn Academy of Ballet. Copyright ©, 1986-2017. All Rights Reserved.