Auck­land class breaks down barre-iers

Central Leader - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MANDY TE

Age, pains and preg­nancy are no bar­ri­ers for dancers in an Auck­land bal­let class.

In­struc­tor Kath­leen Cur­wenWalker opened the Auck­land Academy of Adult Bal­let (AAAB) be­cause she felt there was a need for adults to learn in a non­com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.

Since she opened her classes in One­hunga she has had an in­flux of women, in­clud­ing five cur­rent dancers who are preg­nant.

She also runs a class called the se­nior swans for dancers who are 40 years or older.

AAAB dancer Melissa Jor­dan has been danc­ing while 21 weeks preg­nant.

Be­ing preg­nant has not im­pacted her danc­ing but she does has to be care­ful about jump­ing.

There was no rea­son that you could not do bal­let while preg­nant, she said.

‘‘You can still keep your­self strong and do most of the ex­er­cises but you have to tone it down a lit­tle.’’

Fel­low AAAB dancer Robyn Ing­ham, who gave birth to her son Oliver last year, said she had danced un­til she was 20 weeks preg­nant.

‘‘Af­ter hav­ing Oliver, I was re­ally sur­prised at how quickly my fit­ness and core strength had de­te­ri­o­rated,’’ Ing­ham said.

Af­ter ad­vice from her phys­io­ther­a­pist, Ing­ham re­turned to bal­let to strengthen her core.

‘‘In the last four months, I’ve no­ticed a huge dif­fer­ence in my core strength and I’ve been able to get back into other types of exer- cise as well.’’

Rose­mary He­poz­den, started bal­let a year ago.

Hav­ing arthritic knees and a fused an­kle was not a bar­rier to dance, she said.

She is part of the se­nior swans 61, and does barre classes - a type of dance ex­er­cise us­ing a wall­mounted bar.

Danc­ing has im­proved her bal­ance, flex­i­bil­ity and well­be­ing, she said.

In Jan­uary, AAAB dancer Me­lanie Cas­tor tore the ten­dons and lig­a­ments in her an­kle af­ter a hike.

She said the ac­ci­dent af­fected her bal­ance.

Cas­tor was told she could re­turn to bal­let but had to stay on the ground.

‘‘Through the repet­i­tive move­ments in bal­let, I was able to get my bal­ance back to al­most where it was,’’ Cas­tor said.

She re­turned to dance prop­erly af­ter two months.


Melissa Jor­dan has been at­tend­ing bal­let classes while 21 weeks preg­nant.

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