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Subject: "RB Injuries" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #2568
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Shirley

16-03-02, 09:57 AM (GMT)
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"RB Injuries"
 
   Haing read the comment in the Telegraph (thanks for the link Brendan) about injuries, I was wondering that although the RB say they have 12 on injury leave, just how many dancers are carrying injuries and still performing!

If the rumours are believed I would guess at least another 6 or 8 may be injured and still dancing. If that is true then I don't think it is 'just fate' !


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: RB Injuries alison 16-03-02 1
  RE: RB Injuries PhilipBadmin 17-03-02 2
     RE: RB Injuries Brendan McCarthymoderator 17-03-02 3
         RE: RB Injuries alison 18-03-02 12
     RE: RB Injuries Viviane 17-03-02 5
  RE: RB Injuries Bruceadmin 17-03-02 4
     RE: RB Injuries katharine kanter 18-03-02 6
         RE: RB Injuries Bruce Madmin 18-03-02 7
         RE: RB Injuries Brendan McCarthymoderator 18-03-02 8
             RE: RB Injuries katharine kanter 18-03-02 9
     RE: RB Injuries SLH 18-03-02 10
         RE: RB Injuries alison 18-03-02 11
  RE: RB Injuries Bruce Madmin 18-03-02 13
     RE: RB Injuries katharine kanter 20-03-02 14
         RE: RB Injuries Robert 20-03-02 15
             RE: RB Injuries Brendan McCarthymoderator 20-03-02 16
                 RE: RB Injuries Carly Gillies 20-03-02 17
                     RE: RB Injuries katharine kanter 21-03-02 18
                         RE: RB Injuries Helen 21-03-02 19
                             RE: RB Injuries katharine kanter 21-03-02 20
                             RE: RB Injuries Robert 21-03-02 21
                             RE: RB Injuries katharine kanter 21-03-02 22
                             RE: RB Injuries Brendan McCarthymoderator 22-03-02 23
                             RE: RB Injuries EmmaL 23-03-02 24
                             RE: RB Injuries Bruceadmin 23-03-02 26
                             RE: RB Injuries alison 25-03-02 27

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alison

16-03-02, 04:51 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #0
 
   LAST EDITED ON 16-03-02 AT 04:53 PM (GMT)

Speaking as one who doesn't believe in "fate" as such, I find it can be an awfully flip comment that can cover up a myriad of other possible causes . And yes, I'd be surprised if other dancers weren't dancing through injuries - they usually do. But a dozen RB dancers is rather more than Rambert's average 10%, isn't it?


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PhilipBadmin

17-03-02, 10:26 AM (GMT)
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2. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #0
 
   I note with interest that the Bolshoi is dancing 5 different productions this month - and I don't mean minor pieces either: Beauty, Giselle, Swan Lake, La Fille and Bayadere. There are 5 different productions to follow in April. Are they being stretched too thinly?

I also do not believe in fate - the sports science applied to top tennis players, athletes, american football players, etc. hardly gets a mention in dance. Deborah Bull's belief in dancers resting for 1 whole day (big whoop) before a production are considered heresy by the dance world (or at least the management). When questioned about diet (what and when to eat) at the last Insight Day, for R&J, Vanessa Palmer said that everyone just experimented and found what worked for them. (Implicitly: or not.) Extraordinary. Imagine Linford Christie winning the gold medal on a trial and error diet!

Ballet needs to move into the modern era and get more professional people in complementary disciplines involved with the dancers full-time. Maybe this leaves 5% less practice time but with 5% more dancers available to dance and in 10% better shape to do so.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

17-03-02, 10:33 AM (GMT)
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3. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #2
 
   Not to gainsay Philip, but it is relevant that the Bolshoi has more than three times as many dancers than does the RB.


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alison

18-03-02, 01:33 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #3
 
   ... and of the ballets mentioned 3 are Classical, 1 Romantic and 1 Ashton, so presumably not subjecting the body to such strain as contemporary works might.


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Viviane

17-03-02, 07:19 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #2
 
   I have to say I was as surprised as PhilpB, to hear Vanessa Palmer mentioning about the 'experimental' basis of the dancers-diet (if they get the chance (time) to eat something during the hectic scedule !).
And, as an aside : asthonished that there is no real acting/drama support (in form of occasional classes) in the company.
Dance-medicine is taken very serious and on a high level nowadays... I hardly can believe my ears that there is still a large gap to fill with the "real danceworld" of certain companies. Well, during last years they finally discovered Pilates in Europe !


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Bruceadmin

17-03-02, 11:37 AM (GMT)
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4. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #0
 
   Its all a bit different as everybody adjusts to new ways forward under changed management I think. The company is clearly under strain and the news (from the Guardian and if true, blah, blah, blah) that Cojocaru's opening of the Giselle run is not going to happen will pile on more pressure.

It must be difficult: companies would normally 'bust a gut' to honour a commitment to a gala especially for somebody as illustrious as Beryl Grey. To be able to field no pairing in a company with roughly 40 soloists and above indeed speaks volumes of injury levels, pressure and priorities.

But there is something in what a recent review of John Percival noted "Also, if Stretton wants the dancers to maintain the "new levels of fitness" of which he writes in a programme note, it might be wise to shed the load more widely, thus perhaps reducing the unduly high level of injuries he has inherited."

Much casting has looked very concentrated and more than a few Soloists and Principals rather ignored up to now must wonder when they will get some stretch and opportunity. One assumes that Stretton is casting those he likes and inevitably - pointless to pussy foot around - hoping that others who attract his attention less will review their lot and perhaps make decisions to 'progress their life opportunities elsewhere'. It would be a very odd transition if no more dancers left RB this year (and next) then have done on average over the last few years say. Its horrid but nearly always true of such transitions. However Rome was not built in a day and perhaps the load does need to be more evenly spread even if artistic sensibilities need to be compromised for the overall best.


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katharine kanter

18-03-02, 10:28 AM (GMT)
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6. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #4
 
   Would someone mind kindly re-inserting the aforesaid Telegraph link on injuries ?

Thanks


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Bruce Madmin

18-03-02, 10:32 AM (GMT)
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7. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #6
 
   It was in last weeks links thread - not been removed! Here you go (not that it's a long read)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2002%2F03%2F16%2Fnbul16.xml#6


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

18-03-02, 10:36 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #6
 
   It was from the 'News in Brief' section of Saturday's Telegraph. It is short enough to quote without, I hope, breaching copyright:

Injuries take heavy toll on ballerinas

THE Royal Ballet said yesterday that it was having to chop and change dancers because of an unusually high injury list.

A dozen of the company's 82 dancers are on injury leave, says the Royal Ballet, but it insists that there is no threat to performances. Darcey Bussell pulled out of a gala last weekend after reportedly hurting an ankle. The company said yesterday that she was fit for performances.

A Royal Ballet spokesman denied that the season was unduly demanding and said the higher than usual injury list was "just fate".

The original is on this link


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katharine kanter

18-03-02, 11:28 AM (GMT)
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9. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #8
 
   "New levels of fitness" are clearly being achieved.

Bravo !

Where was Swift's Modest Proposal when we needed it !

Of course dancers can be asked to work twelve or more hours a day, at one-tenth the wage of an opera singer, and switch from classical to neo-classical to Forsythe and Ek six times during a single day, and skip breakfast lunch and dinner, and stop rehearsing at 5.30 pm and go out on stage at 7.30 for a three-acter.

And should someone be so badly injured they've got to bow off for good, well, there's plenty of work in this country for supermarket cashiers and night-club DJs ! Don't know what people are complaining about. Bone lazy.


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SLH

18-03-02, 12:31 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #4
 
   If this is true re Cojocaru, shame on Ross Stretton for pushing her too hard, too young. With the amount that she has had to do since he took over, no doubt she is experiencing total burn out. It reminds me of the kind of scenario that occurred at LFB years ago with Katherine Healey and Trinidad Sevilliano.


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alison

18-03-02, 01:30 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #10
 
   I don't think we should really be speculating further about Cojocaru's absence based purely on supposition. There could be a number of reasons for it other that "total burn out" as you put it.
I was aware that there was a problem with Healey at LFB, but not that there was one affecting Sevillano. IIRC, she went on to Boston for 5 or 6 years and only dropped out of dance for a while some time after that.


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Bruce Madmin

18-03-02, 02:48 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #0
 
   Just in case people missed the other thread on this, the following posting quotes the company and says that Alina will do Giselle. Her doctor must have been mistaken!
http://www.danze.co.uk/dcforum/news/1231.html#6


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katharine kanter

20-03-02, 09:01 AM (GMT)
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14. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #13
 
   Please everyone take a look at the photograph on this page that is posted up on today's Links:

http://www.thestage.co.uk/paper/0211/0206.shtml

and think hard about what classical alignment is supposed to be.

Then ask yourself where injuries may be coming from.

The above movement is a text-book example of hyper-extension and misalignment, except that nowadays, it is mandatory, it has become "standard" technique.


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Robert

20-03-02, 03:07 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #14
 
   Thank you Katherine for the photograph, now I know what I missed. The sad thing is that everyone is expected to do such complicated gymnastics and yet many of are just not interested in seeing them. It is time they put some dance in the mixed bills. Forsythe and Duarte are just a complicated bore.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

20-03-02, 03:38 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #15
 
   This is the photograph to which Katharine refers. It accompanies The Stage's review of the Enduring Images bill.


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Carly Gillies

20-03-02, 06:36 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #16
 
   Katherine
I think I am beginning to warm to your campaign-against-hyperextension.
I've still to see any evidence that convinces me that arthritis at the hip is a significant problem; and I'll not join your campaign on injuries/medical grounds because then I'd have to include pointe shoes, as mid- and distal-foot arthritis is a proven problem.
No, my support comes from the fact that I too find that photo of Alina ugly. OK it's a static picture of something dynamic, but I think it also illustrates your previous comments about line and epaulement, and hyperextension - At least, correct me if it doesn't.


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katharine kanter

21-03-02, 11:50 AM (GMT)
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18. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #17
 
   There is so much to say on this, that I s'pose I shall have to write another article, if Bruce will let me...

Being ancient, I have seen too many gifted people go to what could be fairly described as "an early artistic grave", because of this nonsense.

Leaving aside, for the moment, the orthopaedic side of things (although speaking for myself, that is foremost in the mind at all times, because we are talking stress fractures of the hip joint, we are talking the shredding or ripping of the membrane covering that joint... etc. etc.), I hate to see a beautiful young woman be made a laughing-stock like that.

But the awful orthopaedics of it all, keeps on coming back, it rears its notoriously ugly head, squish it down as one will! For example, as Cecchetti never tired of saying, a LIGAMENT may look like an elastic band, BUT IT IS NOT AN ELASTIC BAND. One it has been regularly stretched out, it is not going to twang back into shape.

Remember, that ludicrous photo is not just a photo. There is a real human being, with a real body, performing a real step, at high speed, with enormous impetu and rage. That girl's ligaments are being stretched beyond what they are meant to do.

The result, artistically, is that in three to four years, perhaps less, her jumps and beats are going to suffer.

And this is not Joe Bloggs, the girl is considered to be one of the most promising individuals to come onto the stage in the last twenty years ! Should her career be allowed to end like a damp squib, at age 25 ?

It's spectacular, it's WOW, it's photogenic...and it's inhuman.

We have forgotten, nowadays, that ballet dancers are supposed to be amongst the strongest people on the planet. Strong. Not overly flexible, but STRONG. Quiet, deep power and energy. We have forgotten, in the dance world, where BRIO comes from.

Brio does not mean a brittle anorexic high-kicking in Don Q, dancing on raw nerve-endings. Brio has to be understood like a scherzo in a Mozart piano sonata: the deliberate unleashing of a deep reserve of energy, which allows one to be completely calm amidst the storm, because there is PLENTY OF ENERGY LEFT.

Most of the vocabulary of classical dance - leaving aside Forsythe or Mats Ek for the moment - involves jumps and beats. That is where the scherzo (Italian for joke, fun), that is where the action is.

Bournonville has a thousand jumps and beats that are no longer performed, because people NO LONGER HAVE THE ENERGY. I have often been told by dancers that they do not want to do Bournonville, because it is "too goddam hard".

Once the ligaments have been stretched out, the relation between the muscles and the ligaments is permanently disrupted - let alone the physical distress and suffering. The muscles no longer respond in the same way. One begins to lose height in the jumps, and that ricochets through to one's beats. One begins to strain and to force to "get up there". I have seen it happening time and again, with people aged 26-27, that's when it starts to bite.

All that, from one little picture...

I should add here that Victoria Leigh had some interesting remarks on that photograph, on the Ballet Alert Website, topic "Misalignment", earlier this week...


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Helen

21-03-02, 12:47 PM (GMT)
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19. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #18
 
   I do worry about this. Quite apart from the aesthetic issues, considerable though they are, is it possible for a dancer to do this kind of thing and still become what Alina C seems to have the potential to become, a great classical ballerina? Can anyone do both? What a waste it will be if she is "thrown away" by the desire for acrobatics.

Of course, I don't know what she actually prefers. Maybe she likes doing this!


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katharine kanter

21-03-02, 02:28 PM (GMT)
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20. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #19
 
   LAST EDITED ON 21-03-02 AT 02:34 PM (GMT)

LAST EDITED ON 21-03-02 AT 02:32 PM (GMT)

"Can anyone do both?

Helen, your question calls for a deeper investigation than one can, perhaps, communicate through postings onto a Website.

My own view, as one who has been involved in various ways with the so-called "art world" for 46 years, to be precise, is that one cannot do both.

Why ? Well, one has only one lifetime.

Classical music, and classical dance, which is a branch of music, have centuries, indeed two or more millenia, of thought crammed into every note, every gesture. They are the outcome of very hard work, by generations of thinkers.

Classical music is perhaps the most precise science developed by man. When one is dealing with a Bach, or a Beethoven, one confronts thinkers whose musical work was the outcome of a rigorous study of theology, mathematics, and poetry, among other sciences. That is why their music is so highly charged, so sensitive. Every atom is charged with meaning. For us to understand such people, whether as interpreters, as audience, or as writers - let alone as creators, God willing ! - we have got to study, even to attempt to meet them on their wavelength.

Classical ballet is an offshoot of that. Which is why people can break out crying seeing, simply, a properly-executed arabesque: the tremendous force of the geometry of music, handed down to us through centuries of work measuring, calculating, jauging the potentialities of the human body in its proportions and relations, as a musical form of expression.

We have got to fight for that sensitivity, we have got to keep it as finely-tuned, as sharp, as a knife. String players do not bang their 17th century instruments up against the wall, so why should we go at dancers' bodies with hammer and tongs ?

I know from doing a fair bit of choral singing and lieder, that there is a peculiar "unheard" inner music, in the great authors of the so-called "classical period". A peculiar phrasing, which, though close to everyday speech, has, under an appearance of masterful calm, a much greater intensity.

I would not want to wreck that, by getting into, say, Liszt or Webern, because the search for EFFECT would seep through into the rest of the stuff I consider more important.

Our feeling for that "inner ear" of ballet has gone lost, as we stampede round on stage thwacking our legs up against the ear.

I have seen many, if not most, of the great dancers since the War. It is now said that people like Antoinette Sibley or Lynn Seymour were not technical. That is a great misunderstanding. They were extremely technical, although neither could pick up the leg ! Their feet were like hands, their legato was heart-breaking, their musicality impeccable, the use of the head, eyes and torso far more precise, their partnering, their sense of theatrical timing, almost telepathic. Even now, at a distance of over thirty-five years, tears spring to the eyes when I recall some of their performances. Dancers today FAIL in most of the aforesaid "tests", not because they are lazy little idiots, but because teachers and artistic directors have now accepted, for commercial and ideological reasons, a wrong notion of what makes theatrical technique.

As Alexandra Tomalonis has said on this Website recently, there are reams of ballets mouldering away in attics, never performed. They may not all be masterworks, but at this point, I'd say anything is better than seeing nineteen-year olds bolt across the stage in what is very like a cocaine-sniffer's fury.


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Robert

21-03-02, 03:30 PM (GMT)
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21. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #20
 
   Katherine. Am I correct that this move was originally part of the Can Can routine? Not the public Can Can but the private dance done at one time in some brothels. I think the idea was revived or reinvented by Ballanchine in the States but he also said that dancers did not have to do it. In both cases there was some sort of sexual connotation. I am not uninterested in sex but I do think this move ungainly unsexy and unnecessary. If as you say it leads to problems later I believe you, just try to manipulate a skeleton and see what happens. Unfortunately it is not the only cause of hip problems several non dancing friends of mine have them and lots of dogs who never do six oclocks are in dire trouble.


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katharine kanter

21-03-02, 04:15 PM (GMT)
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22. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #21
 
   These postings pages just get funnier and funnier ! We shall soon be able to do away with the Dame Blandine column.

Were you referring specifically to Dachshunds, and other mini-terriers and/or rattlers, or to hip arthrosis in all dogs, taking a pee against a lamppost in that inimitable doggie way ? Reminds me of my Giant Schnauzer, who, though a girl dog, was so bowled away by the off-hand casualness of it all, that she would imitate the technique.

No, no, you need not reply, the aforesaid could not possibly have been meant seriously...I just wanted to think about my late departed doggie and the funny things she'd get up to.


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Brendan McCarthymoderator

22-03-02, 10:24 AM (GMT)
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23. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #22
 
   LAST EDITED ON 22-03-02 AT 12:11 PM (GMT)

Ismene Brown's piece for today's Telegraph makes sobering reading. It can be found on this link.

Presumably dance companies are no more exempt from health and safety legislation than are non-arts organisations. It is not impossible that in several years time there might be a series of legal actions by retired dancers against their former companies for a lack of duty of care. I don't suggest for one moment that the Royal Ballet is guilty of this: indeed Ross Stretton is on public record on the issue of an artistic director's duties to dancers and the need to see them through to a successful completion of their careers.

Injury is part and parcel of dance and athletics. But there are important differences. Aesthetic issues aside, an athlete makes a solitary decision to compete and is uniquely responsible for assessing the risks he is prepared to take. This is not the case with a dancer; a dancer is part of a company. Others calculate the risks and ratchet them up or down. A dancer may feel unhappy, but I daresay that only the stars of the profession have any freedom in deciding on their reasonable limits.


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EmmaL

23-03-02, 06:58 PM (GMT)
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24. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #23
 
   Just a small thought regarding the photo of Alina. If one looks carefully the picture has been skewed to fit a rectangular page. Look at the angle of the floor. I didn't think the ROH stage was raked.
Emms


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Bruceadmin

23-03-02, 09:02 PM (GMT)
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26. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #24
 
  
I'm not sure if its the stage or just the lighting - I've knocked these up so readers can ponder:

(original)


(adjusted for flat floor or lighting)

Alas I know little of dance movement etc, but does the angle of the floor overly matter in this case - surely its the limbs relationship to one another that matters more then the overall bodies relationship to a flat surface? (I'm talking biomechanics of it rather than aesthetics of course!)


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alison

25-03-02, 01:10 PM (GMT)
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27. "RE: RB Injuries"
In response to message #26
 
   All I can say is that the adjusted version looks like a highly untenable position, so I suspect the original is correct.


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