Advice for dancers.
AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT FORDHAM UNIVERSITY Fordham University (fôr`dəm), in New York City; Jesuit; coeducational; founded as St. John's College 1841, chartered as a university 1846; renamed 1907. Fordham College for men and Thomas More College for women merged in 1974. , LINDA HAMILTON, PH.D., IS ALSO A LECTURER, A PSYCHOLOGIST, A FORMER DANCER WITH NEW YORK CITY BALLET New York City Ballet, one of the foremost American dance companies of the 20th cent. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine as the Ballet Society in 1946. , AND AUTHOR OF ADVICE FOR DANCERS (JOSSEY-BASS).
I saw you on a recent television program called "Dying to Be Thin" [see Presstime press·time
The time at which a publication, especially a newspaper, is submitted for printing. News, Dance Magazine, December 2000, page 32]. It was inspiring to know that dancers are finally receiving professional help from people like you to manage their weight and, hopefully, prevent serious eating problems. As a new dance teacher, I also want to make a difference by helping dancers stay fit and healthy. Do you have any suggestions?
Michelle From Rockland County, New York Rockland County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York, 12 miles north-northwest of New York City. As of the 2000 census, the population was 286,753. The county seat is New City. The name comes from "rocky land," an early description of the area given by settlers.
I always have ideas when it comes to dancers becoming healthier. As you saw in the Nova documentary (which has aired several times since it premiered in November 2000 on public television), it's best to prevent eating disorders eating disorders, in psychology, disorders in eating patterns that comprise four categories: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, rumination disorder, and pica. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation to avoid obesity. because they're extremely difficult to treat. Dance teachers can play a significant role by helping dancers develop a positive body image, especially during puberty.
What can you do? First, be aware that teenagers are hypersensitive hy·per·sen·si·tive
Responding excessively to the stimulus of a foreign agent, such as an allergen; abnormally sensitive.
hy about their changing body shapes and weight--so the less you focus on this, the better. Instead, gear your comments to your students' dancing while emphasizing the importance of healthy eating to maintain energy. Once they're ready to audition, you can bring up the topic of weight management in the privacy of your office, with a referral to a nutritionist nu·tri·tion·ist
One who is trained or is an expert in the field of nutrition.
nutritionist Dietitian, see there . Teachers who make emaciated e·ma·ci·ate
tr. & intr.v. e·ma·ci·at·ed, e·ma·ci·at·ing, e·ma·ci·ates
To make or become extremely thin, especially as a result of starvation. dancers sit out class also send a clear message that dancers' health comes first.
Ever since I injured my back last year, I've been feeling really bed about myself. I try to do what my doctor says and skip certain steps, like arabesque arabesque (ărəbĕsk`) [Fr.,=Arabian], in art, term applied to any complex, linear decoration based on flowing lines. In Islamic art it was often exploited to cover entire surfaces. , but I feel like I'm being lazy unless I do everything full out. My back is getting worse. Will I ever be ready to audition for a ballet company Noun 1. ballet company - a company that produces ballets
troupe, company - organization of performers and associated personnel (especially theatrical); "the traveling company all stayed at the same hotel" ?
Going Nowhere in New Jersey
I know how hard it is to be injured. But the only way to get better is to listen to your doctor. To keep from feeling lazy', why not investigate safe ways to stay in shape (with your doctor's permission), such as doing floor barre and Pilates exercises? I've known many dancers who actually improved their technique this way. You'll also be more likely to get a job in a dance company if you let your injuries heal.
My daughter went through a difficult anorexic an·o·rex·ic
Relating to or suffering from anorexia nervosa.
ano·rex stage this year that had me worried sick. She pulled out of it with professional help. The problem now is that she seems to be going in the other direction, eating extra portions for lunch and dinner. Should I say something to her? I don't want her to get fat.
Mum's the word! It's natural to overeat o·ver·eat
To eat to excess, especially habitually. for a few months after a period of starvation. If you draw attention to it, your daughter may revert to her old ways. Your best bet is to have lots of healthy foods around, such as fruits and vegetables, and encourage her to stay active. Once her body adjusts, she should ease into a more normal eating pattern, as long as she's still in therapy. You might also contact your daughter's therapist (with her permission if she's over the age of 18) to check on the situation.
This summer I sat in on one of your lectures at The Alley School on how to make the most of your summer dance program. I found your advice very useful--in particular, the part about ways to handle competition. I used to compare myself to every other dancer in class and feel like I should quit. Now, I try to keep my attention on me and what I can do every day to be a better dancer. It's really helped boost my confidence. Thanks se much.
You're very welcome! There's nothing more important to me than helping dancers achieve their goals. And the more you know about ways to deal with problems in dance, the easier it will be to succeed. Besides dealing with the competition, dancer also need to know how to manage weight requirements, injuries, unemployment, and early retirement. Having a positive attitude helps, but it only gets you so far. It's also necessary to have strategies to handle the potential pitfalls along the way.
This summer I took four ballet classes every day and worked harder than almost everyone in my class. The first week of my dance program was great, but then I started to feel weak and my tendons acted up. It's time to go home and my biggest fear is that my teacher will think I look worse than before. Is it possible that I haven't made any improvement after all this work?
Jenny From Denver
I hate to say it, but sometimes hard work doesn't pay off, particularly if you've developed a bad case of burnout Burnout
Depletion of a tax shelter's benefits. In the context of mortgage backed securities it refers to the percentage of the pool that has prepaid their mortgage. . Dancers who take four or more technique classes a day often develop problems such as fatigue, injuries, and lack of progress. Burnout also occurs when dancers dramatically increase the number of weekly classes, rather than easing into a more demanding schedule. Dancers who develop these symptoms during a summer program need to back off for three days, and if the injury continues for a week or more, they should see a physical therapist or orthopedist. It also helps to get weekly, massages and spend the weekend in bed rather than sightseeing. Once the summer is over, take three weeks off to give your body a rest. If this is impossible, then try to get at least ten hours of sleep a night. Your body needs time to recover.
SEND YOUR QUESTIONS TO: Linda Hamilton, Ph.D., at 2000 Broadway, PH2C, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , NY 10023 and read her answers exclusively in Dance Magazine.