Naturally flexible feet are not required to become a great dancer. Persistence and dedication are.
“As much as eight percent of humans may have feet that are “flexible”, according to a study in The American Journal of Anthropology.” – Wired.co.uk. Yikes! Eight percent is not very many of us. Remember “bad feet” will not hold you back from becoming a remarkable dancer. All dancers should work on foot strength and flexibility every day. Jane Rehm, a dancer with Smuin Ballet in San Francisco told Pointe Magazine: “Pretty much every summer program that rejected me said it was because of my bad feet,” says Rehm. “It was something I knew I was going to have to get past.”
Get Started: Basic Exercises
Please help your dancers work through these exercises. Beautiful pointed feet are critical.
Flexibility – To prevent the possibility of training feet to be sickled, lets start with one stretch that’s hard to get wrong. In later posts I’ll work through additional feet flexibility exercises. Keep watching for those.
1. Relevé Plie: Start in second position, rise up into relevé and work into plie while you hold relevé. Pause and stretch to the point of discomfort for 30-45 seconds, see picture. Rise out of plie (straighten legs) and roll down out of relevé to flat. Repeat 2 times in each of the 5 position.
1. Towel Curls: Start seated with a towel under your feet. Pick up the towel 20 times with each foot. OR Marbles: Place 20 marbles on a towel. Using your toes, place each marble in a cup. For a balance challenge try it standing. Repeat on the other foot.
2. Relevé: In all 5 positions and in parallel. Repeat relevé 30 times. Notice in this picture the difference between a good relevé and an great relevé.
3. Theraband Isolations: Sit with legs, flat and outstretched. Use the theraband to move from flexion to full point. Work on isolations, stopping to point your ankle and toes separately. Move back to flexion the same way. Think: Flexion-Ankle-Toes hold in full point then back Toes-Ankle-Flexion. Repeat 30 times on each foot.
If you have any questions or comments please post below or grab me in class. I’d really like to put a focal point on our girls’ feet this year. Any feedback from parents and dancers is welcome! I hope everyone has a great week.