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Guest Antony

Contentious issue?

37 posts in this topic

I have a feeling that this discussion is becoming a bit silly.

When I was a teacher of English and ballet at a state school in Southern Spain in the late 60ties and early 70ties an ashtray was

provided at the teacher`s desk. Not so in ballet class - but there was also an open window!

Now there is a different argument thou...

Not exposing young people to anything - smoke - pollution - pets -what have you... OK, I have actually been in Russia and, pardon me, there was filth such as I have never seen before - and I have been around - but kids did not seem as allergic there as in Sweden. OK, now I am talking about normal kids, the ones I met;

those I were contact with, not street urchains. Ok, there were also many children begging at traffic lights. and they seemed to

be in a bad shaoe.

,

It may be so that exposure to various things might make the

constitution stronger...

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There is actually some evidence, I understand, that overprotection from germs and the like can create greater vulnerability to them -- apparently immune systems get better with exercise. :)

People do seem to fret overmuch about the occasional whiff of secondhand smoke, when we are surrounded by so much else that is bad for us. (I have a theory about this, but I'll spare you. :)) However, I'm not sorry to be spared the uninhibited huffing and puffing that went on everywhere years ago – was virtually inescapable, in fact. People would just blow the stuff directly into your face, and think nothing of it.

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I am a total believer in the idea that the immune system needs to be trained. Your immune system is thoroughly naive when you are a baby, and you have to expose it to allergens so that it knows what is harmless and what isn't. That is how the immune system works - it has to know its enemy before it can defend the body. Of course there are people who would be sensitive to pollen, smoke, or whatever, anyway, but as a general rule the immune system needs to encounter lots of things when you are a child, or it overreacts to everything.

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Then there are the people who, for extraphysiological reasons, go on about smoke. I belong to a church where the use of incense was curtailed because of complaints from the alleged allergic who said it caused them respiratory distress. One year, we had a supply priest who didn't know about the herem on incense and so elected to make a Christmas Mass a Solemn one, with the incense and extra choreography and the whole schmier. Part of the extra choreography was a procession of the sanctuary party around the outside of the church in a driving slush storm. Father was all right, because he had a proper cloak for that sort of thing, but we lay ministers and acolytes had to do the best we could. So, when the sanctuary party arrived in the church, dripping, as we advanced up the aisle, three choristers began loudly and vehemently sneezing. They said it was from the thurible(censer). The only problem with that explanation was that in the driving slush, the charcoal in the censer had been extinguished, and there was about an inch of water in the fool thing. Its gas output was somewhere near zero.;)

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diane wrote:

"It is sheer impossible to avoid second-hand smoke here.

It is nearly everywhere."

I agree with that- and I think it's especially bad in France (I'm really fed up with that attitude typical of some French people that "laws are for other people only"... about smoking in public places, driving while drunk or over the speed limit, etc.) One of my best friends is allergic to smoke (her eyes and throat itch a lot, it's a consequence of another allergy to acarians, I think). Well, it was totally impossible for us to find a restaurant to go to in Marseille, except in the summer season when we could have dinner or lunch outside. Very, very few restaurants there have separate rooms for smokers and non-smokers (though there are laws saying that they must- but nobody pays attention to that law, unfortunately) and in the few that have such rooms, the separation isn't good enough, there is some smoke going into the non-smokers part. Well, even at my wedding, though I insisted that smokers should smoke outside, there were people smoking in the dinner room (and my friend had to leave early). :)

From what I've read recently, the percentage of smokers among people between 15 and 24 in France is the highest in the European Union (53%, while the average is 41%, Sweden has the lowest figure with about 21%- however, I don't know how those statistics were made). I don't know about dancers. But I remember an anecdote which was told to me by a POB dancer: in Roland Petit's "Carmen", the dancers of the corps de ballet have to smoke during a scene- and she said that each time they performed it, there were some dancers who had stopped smoking who started smoking again after performing the ballet...

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I wonder if dancing in "Le Jeune Homme et la Mort" has the same effect? :mad:

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Actually she might have mentioned it too- but in "Le jeune homme et la Mort", the cast isn't very large ;-)

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Originally posted by Pamela Moberg

I have a feeling that this discussion is becoming a bit silly.

Hmmm... well, maybe, but that wasn't the intention.

I'd be really interested to hear a bit more from people like Diane, who can offer some first-hand insight in to what kind of effects smoking can have on physical performance. Her comment about not needing prolonged power, only short bursts, was particularly interesting. Do others find this to be the case? Seeing dancers sweating and breathing heavily after they've performed a really long 'puffy' piece (pun intended) convinces me that dancing does have its demanding moments - but how long is long?

A.

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I've been taught that dance is both aerobic and anaerobic--in other words, you have to work in short bursts of energy, but you have to do that for a long time. Consider the typical ballet class--short combinations performed throughout 1.5+ hours.

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Yes, Hans. A lot depends on how the class is put together and how demanding the performance was the night before, etc.

(I am speaking/writing of company class here)

In my own experience, which is of course entirely subjective, class was not especially aeorbic in the way a run or even a hike up a mountain would be.

In class there are always - if short - breaks in between exercises, and there one can catch one's breath.

What was difficult - in my time - were longer variations... think Myrta in Giselle.

I am sure there are at least several others where the dancers have to run around a whole lot.

But in the general class-room and rehearsal situation, I did not find Ballet to be particularly aeorbic, and therefore felt hardly any adverse effects from smoking in that regard.

-diane-

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I had a Physical Conditioning NCO while I was in the Air Force ask me why I always came up well in the annual PC tests, and I told him about my being a dancer. He demurred, saying that ballet wasn't aerobic. I just invited him to watch a class at the old Miami Conservatory. After it was over, he just said, "Whoa! This is aerobic! I gotta do a paper on this!" And so he did, for Air Training Command. I think around 1973. I don't know if it's been released for the general public. His conclusion was that ballet is aerobic after a certain technical level has been reached.

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personally, i think whether or not a ballet class is aerobic often depends on the class/the teacher (and also, sometimes, the student's attitude/commitment/participation level)...

in my experience, company class is often more aerobic than teaching/training classes. (and of course, following class with rehearsals is far more likely to become an aerobic challenge).

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