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Is Over Stretching Dangerous Or Beneficial? Essay

867 words - 4 pages

As the competitive nature of dance has grown, so has the intensity with which dancers strive for perfection. In order to do so, dancers must tackle the many elements of dance, with flexibility being one they chase after with the most force. Many aspiring dancers spend hours on end stretching and working to achieve the desirable flexibility staples such as their over-splits and hyperextension thinking it will help them with their future careers in dance. However, the question is: Is over-stretching beneficial to dancer’s career or can it lead to injuries that force them out of their occupation? Many argue that it is a necessary in a professional dancer’s career, others say it can be detrimental, and some say that it is needs to be done within reason.
Before looking at whether over-stretching is right or wrong, one must understand why it is becoming more and more of an issue that needs to be addressed. It would be no surprise to anyone affiliated with the dance community that dance postures have become more extreme throughout the years, especially in disciplines such as ballet. Elena Daprati, Marco Iosa and Patrick Haggard traced the progressive changes in ballet body postures. They analyzed the variation in the flexibility range of professional ballerinas at the Royal Ballet in London by studying the average flexibility exercised throughout different performance put on by the company between the years 1962 and 2003. In their research, they found that the average angles that dancers extend to in general positions such as arabesque penchée and developé á la seconde increased greatly between 1962 and 2003 . Their findings showed that in 1962, the average angle of the studied ballet dancers’ working legs in relation to their standing leg while executing an arabesque penchée was only slightly over 130 degrees while in 2003 the angle measured 180 degrees or above. As for developé á la seconde, the average angle in 1962 was approximately 120 degrees while the average angle of this same position measured 180 degrees in 2003. This trend is seen throughout other professional companies around the world. The data found in their research shows how professional dance companies are demanding more flexibility of their performers as the years go by which explains why aspiring dancers have been increasing the amount of strain put onto their bodies to acquire extreme flexibility.
The most common form of over-stretching in the dance community consists of stretching one’s splits to surpass 180 degrees. The appeal of this practice comes from the desirable “line” that is attained upon acquisition of one’s over-splits throughout exercises...

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