Getty Images

Ask Amy: Finding Coordination After a Growth Spurt

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 askamy@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

NYCB's Maria Kowroski Reflects on the Challenges, Joys and Mysteries of Balanchine’s "Mozartiana"

The first time I was called to learn Mozartiana, I didn't think I would actually get to do it. It's a coveted ballerina role in the company, and I was still early in my career. But I got to dance it once or twice, and then not again for many years. The ballet isn't in our repertoire that often, so each time we've performed it I've been at a different level as a person and as an artist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Overcome My Fear of Pirouettes on Pointe?

I have a terrible fear of falling when doing turns on pointe. I sometimes cry in class when we have to do new turns that I'm not used to. I can only do bad singles on a good day, while some of my classmates are doing doubles and triples. How can I get over this fear? —Gaby

Keep reading SHOW LESS
xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks