Q: I am a ballet dancer and I train everyday after school. I have been interested in corsetting since I was a little girl, and now since I have let my feminist-bra-burning mother to let me do as I please, I was wondering if this would affect my dancing. I was not going to tightlace or waist train, but wear the corset at a minimal tightness. I don't know what would happen with my dance, but I was wondering if it would harm it in any way. In ballet, you need a strong core (stomach muscles), flexible back, and great posture. --  Sarah (11/8/03)

A: Yes, continuous wear of a tight corset will cause muscle atrophy, but with precaution you should be fine: If you maintain your daily exercise of the stomach and back muscles, the corset will not affect these muscle groups. The combination of muscle tone maintenance with proper exercise and corseting can work very positively, but you will find that well-toned muscles resist corseting, and thus you need to go slow with training. If you plan to tightlace however, make sure the corset is smooth and well constructed, because uneven pressure on muscles can cause cramping, as you will make heavy use of them they will not react well to localized pressure spots. In general corseting should further enhance posture and classical ballet dancers often used moderately laced corsets to further enhance appearance and posture.

Muscle tone is lost when the corset is very tight and there is no exercise. Corseting itself does not reduce muscle tone, it is long term inactivity that causes that. For non-dancers, a 20 minutes daily exercise program for abdominals
and back muscles is sufficient to maintain proper posture and tone outside the corset. 



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