Thursday, December 16, 2010

N00B Mom has a question...

But I really don't know who to ask. Coach is saying that Stitch needs to start doing Ballet. I agree, and I am considering tossing him in the Ballet for Skaters class at the rink before sending him back the "mean" Russian Dance instructor. (Slow immersion.)

The thing that is giving me pause is the fact that the "ballet studio" at the rink is not on a sprung floor. In fact, I don't think any of the floors at the rink are sprung.

Call me kooky, call me a nutty stage mom, but I don't want Stitch's growing joints doing jumps on anything other than soft earth or a sprung floor. This isn't just Stitch, I'd question any dancer or gymnast doing high and powerful jumps on vinyl over concrete for any prolonged period of time. Why should figure skaters be any different? It's bad enough that they have to do these jumps on an unforgiving ice surface, why make them practice on yet another unforgiving surface?

A sprung floor, for those who don't know, absorbs the impact energy of a jump. Without it, it's the joint that absorbs the impact. Constant exposure to this kind of thing leads to shin splints, early fatigue and long term chronic injury. (How many skaters get early arthritis in their hips, knees and ankles? Did anyone think to question the off-ice regimen?)

So yeah. While I agree that ballet instruction is a great idea, I don't want to do it on a vinyl floor laid over stupid concrete. I'll look for a professional studio first, because I think the extra cost of that will balance out by not having major orthopedic surgery before the age of 30.

But who do I ask? Who do I tell? Do I march into Mysteria's office and say, "Gosh, I'd love to do your ballet program but your floor sure is shitty."


  1. Did you look at Dance Center Evanston's class for boys? Probably more expensive but flooring will be better, instruction will be better, class will be more fun. Or could he take gymnastics instead? Then Wilmette Park district is the way to go. Their gymnastics gym is a freaking temple.

  2. I was looking at their program, the DCE. The Fall Session assumes participation in their recital, which I don't give a flying flip about. Gymnastics I think is a great option, and IMHO, a better alternative for boy skaters who are expected to do the bigger skatenastics. I'm going to weigh my options and move on it in the Spring.

  3. Take him to Dance Center Evanston or Chicago Ballet Arts (in the St. Scholastica building) They understand figure skaters, they have boys, they have proper facilities. DCE WILL make him be in the recital. There's also Giordano, and that little storefront place on Touhy just east of California (there's a whole bunch of our skaters there). In fact there are so many choices the rink's program is at the bottom of my list. Forget no sprung floors, there's simply no room, and the fixed barre (attached TO THE MIRROR) is right at eye level for little ones like Stitch, so they can't really use the mirror.

    As far as noob questions, no such thing. If more parents asked questions like this maybe they'd do something about the program and the facility.

    P.S. I am so fired.

  4. This might interest you:

  5. Yeah, the Icemom post is what got me thinking about the whole Ballet thing. I know he's going to have to do it eventually, and I think he does, too.

  6. Check out the new Xanboni post, plus a credit to you, because you got ME thinking about it!

  7. This is just more "Shit that no one tells you." Thanks for touching on it, because I know there's a lot of moms in the dark about this. (I think USFSA makes some kind of pamphlet about off-ice "training" for Basic Skills kids.) Right now we just do the basic stretches he does in PE at school, plus jumping rope. I think that's plenty adequate right now.