Career Development Plan - Scoliosis in Professional Ballet

by Joanne

Career Development Plan - Scoliosis in Professional Ballet


My daughter is currently at one of the top ballet schools in the UK and we have just found out that she has a mild Scoliosis. Not sure yet as to the detail but will be going to see a specialist next week.
Could you please advise me on how this will affect her ballet? She is 13 yrs old and does not suffer any pain. Nor anything noticeable.
The word Scoliosis seems to be scary with the ballet world and I am concerned that this will have an impact on her when applying for the upper school auditions in 2 years time.

Is it possible to have a successful ballet career and if so, what type of exercise do you recommend?
My daughter seems to favour one side and is stronger on this side.

Hope you can help.


Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - Scoliosis in Professional Ballet

Hello Joanne,
Thank you for contacting me, I would love to help you and I hope my advice will put your mind at ease or at least give you some more information on Scoliosis in the world of ballet.

The first person that springs to mind is Wendy Whelan, who is a principal ballerina with New York City Ballet and she was diagnosed with Scoliosis at aged 11. There are pages of articles online and she is a hugely successful ballerina, as well as a key inspiration for younger ballet dancers who also have scoliosis.

I grew up training with some dancers who had scoliosis and I am even dancing in the same professional ballet company with a female dancer who has scoliosis. In fact, I would never had noticed she even has scoliosis, because she has learnt through the years of training to adapt it her body and let it become part of her technique.

In the earlier stages of training, it can be more evident in posture or pas de deux work that a dancer has scoliosis but honestly I believe you can learn to work through it and not let it hold you back. However, at such a young age, I feel you do need good teachers supporting you and able to help in order to improve the scoliosis within your daughter's dancing.

There is a ballet mistress, Yoko Ichino, at Northern Ballet in the UK who is known for having very specific training and exercise methods designed to have a very logical approach to each individual dancer's body. If you are able to attend any summer schools or courses to train with her, it would be worth looking into to see what advice she can give for scoliosis.

Please do get back to me if you have any further thoughts, as I am here to help - keep in touch.

Best wishes,

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