I went through a growth spurt recently, and my coordination feels a bit off, like I'm not connected to the rest of my body. How can I work through this? —Sarah
Growth spurts can be pretty disruptive. I remember how gangly and uncoordinated I felt in eighth grade, as my muscles struggled to catch up with my bones. My hamstrings were so tight, and I could barely straighten my knees! Thankfully, my body eventually adjusted, and yours will too.
For now, take things slowly and intentionally, as you're more susceptible to developing injuries during growth spurts. Your body may feel uncoordinated, but try not to compensate in your technique.
Focus on maintaining good alignment: Are your abs activated and your pelvis placed, or are you sinking in your lower back? Are your knees aligned over your toes and your arches lifted? How are you rolling through your feet during temps lié, relevés and jumps? Use this time to work on transferring weight, coordinating your upper body with the lower body, and transition steps like pas de bourée. Pilates can also help you find more body awareness and strengthen crucial core muscles.
Most importantly, listen to your body and communicate with your teachers so they know what you're experiencing. If you start having a lot of pain or swollen joints, you may need to take things easy for a while and talk to a doctor. For more on how to safely dance through growth spurts, click here.
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at firstname.lastname@example.org.