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Sunday, June 05, 2005



Re: Ballet Mechanics for Riders: as a Ballet Dancer, former Gymnast, and someone who has often (although never competitively)ridden horses since childhood (my uncles owns 12 horses, 3 of which are Arabians). I can attest that Ballet Mechanics are indeed exactly what any athlete doing any sport can use. This includes riding -- perhaps even more so bc of the balance necessary to be efficient. Why? In ballet our goal is to achieve harmony and balance between the bone alignment and musculature on any human body. DO NOT CONFUSE BALLET MECHANICS WITH BALLET TECHNIQUE -- you refer to turnout etc and ballet poses which is the TECHNIQUE OF BALLET...the practice of actual ballet dancing -- meaning what we do in ballet dancing to achieve certain feats that only ballerinas need to achieve (turnout facilitates moving side to side without moving forward as well as developpe to side and back, and also allows the muscles to develop in a lean manner because of the weight load shifting between muscle groups -- particularly away from the quads which are disengaged as much as possible when turned out--this is why all top level ballerinas are so lean -NO WE DON"T STARVE! Not the real professionals -- kids starve to look like professionals! Note it is physically impossible to completely disengage the quads but turnout allows as much as possible to create a lean legged physique) Mr. Apatow is a leading biomechanics expert and of course ballet is Biomechanics in its most advanced practice. The Mechanics of Ballet refer to the principles we study in ballet to achieve balance on a quarter sized platform -- also how we can efficiently work to put the least amount of stress on the human body and as you state about isometrics -- ballet is the mastery of this human stability through the use of opposing muscle groups (you may not understand that given the rate of injury in dancers -- but they get injured bc they do the technique without the mechanics practice)Basically -- the mechanics of ballet are the mechanics of all human movement and can thus be applied to any human endeavor. Specifically it develops the most strength without strain and as such enables a range of motion, a level of balance etc that can not be achieved through traditional exercise. It focuses on alignment which enables the body to rather easily do a number of seemingly impossible things! This is why at the Olympic training level ballet and ballet mechanics are used in virtually every sport. I myself trained a Trinidadian 400 runner, for the 96 Olympic Trials using only ballet mechanics (although he did not study the ballet technique--menaing he wasn't dancing around) and of course he not only improved, but also reduced his injured hamstring, redeveloped his back etc. All on the mechanical principles, not the technique, of ballet. The use of barre exercises in ballet to train athlestes enables them to gain dynamic stability of their alignment and the tests of balance will show you whether you are aligned properly. You can't cheat. Hopefully this informs you a bit because to read your response and also your research you focus primarily on ballet technique and not the mechanical principles used at the basis of the technique. I can teach you principles that can make you stable, strong and of course a much better rider and I guarantee you that THE BEST RIDERS USE IT-- even if they don't call it that. I can tell you without looking at them for example where their shoulders are and where their bones are in bc there are physical facts that guide balance and human movemnet and its called mechanics.

Prof Brian A Rothbart

Visit my research site on the link between poor posture and musculoskeletal pain

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