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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Any dancers with less than ideal feet?


Guest alliecat93

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Guest alliecat93

Are there any dancers that you can think of in major companies who's feet are far from the ideal? I don't mean like completly flat, but not very archy. It seems that all of the professional dancer's picture's I see have perfect feet. If you know of any, I would like to know their names so I can see pictures of their feet. I don't have bad feet, but I wouldn't say their good by any means, and I wanted to see if people like me had made it professionally. I was just wondering if there are dancers out there without Paloma look alike feet. Thanks so much to anyone who takes time to answer my silly little question! :(

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Guest Old Fashioned

Lauren Anderson doesn't have very "archy" feet, and neither does Iliana Lopez of Miami City Ballet. Really, most dancers don't have the ridiculously high arches like Herrera and Guillem have; they work hard to articulate and strengthen their feet for ballet.

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Guest boydancer05

Angel Corella doesn't have amazing feet either and neither does Jose Manuel. People with extremely arched feet usually wish that they didn't have them.

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Galina Mezentseva and Yulia Makhalina do not have ideal feet, but they're still wonderful dancers. As long as your feet allow you to "get over" a pointe shoe, the really important issues in ballet are how you move (ie, technique) and your interpretive skills. There are others, of course, but those are the most basic, IMO.

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Michele Wiles does not have high arches, nor did Allegra Kent. It is more important to have the strength and control to roll smoothly through the foot than to have a very high arch.

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High arches, insteps, or whatever foot-curviness God granted the dancer from birth, is not really where it's at in ballet.

 

We can name dancers from here to Sunday who are world-class who do not have Herrera/Guillem/Barker/Antonicheva/Lacarra/Rojo/name-your-own-choice.... feet.

 

The list could start anywhere, say, with Alexandra Danilova, Maria Tallchief and Margot Fonteyn... run through Diana Adams, Tanaquil LeClercq, Melissa Hayden, Patricia McBride, Suzanne Farrell (who even told of a problem she had with her left foot which was a bit flattened on the side due to a childhood injury), Gelsey Kirkland, Karen Kain, and any number of memorable ballerinas in top companies the world over..... including Galina Ulanova, Maya Plisetskaja, Natalia Dudinskaja, Irina Kolpakova, Tatiana Terekhova, Natalia Makarova .....up to the present dance decade of Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Diana Vishneva, Irina Dvorovenko, etc. etc. etc.

 

What is important about feet is their ability to ARTICULATE: to give definition to every movement, to feel every movement with every part from ankle to toes, to shape the movement.

 

If success in ballet was dependent on highly arched feet -- or an overly long neck, or a cute little head, or long arms and legs that go up to your armpits -- there would be no need for artistry or superb technique.

 

What I find beautiful about feet in ballet is the way they describe the choreography, their rhythm and cadence, the strength of stretch, the softness of landing and transfer of body weight, the suppleness and/or tautness of each part of the foot as it moves through the air, defining the step. There is nothing more beautiful than feet that really WORK in ballet -- and that has nothing to do with an instep or an arch!

 

*Edited to take out the extra "r" I had added to "Herrera". :)

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Guest ballerina idol

I find a lot of NYCB dancers don't have "Banana Feet". It seems like they all manage to articulate and have really worked on there feet. There footwork almost seems cleaner.

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Guest bellepoele5

I agree about NYCB. Some people are really blessed there but most seem to have a slight arch that you can tell they really worked on. I have to just diagree with some people who posted earlier, Illian Lopez and Paloma Herrara have incredibly arched feet as does Patricia Barker and I just had to mention that. I think that sometimes overly arched feet are more of a problem then flat feet. They don't necessarily always have the strength as does a dancer who has to work for their arches. I know a girl from home I used to dance with that had amazing feet they were beautifully arched but she had a tendency to roll over them until she gained the strength to control it, where as I have flat feet and have worked hard to gain the little bit of an arch i do have now and I'm all the more stronger for it. Just a view on that, I know it's not exactly the question of the thread.

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Of all dancers, perhaps 10-15% have IDEAL feet. The rest are overarched, underarched, too wide, too narrow, too weak, hyperextended, hypoextended, too long, too short, and so on and so forth in the range of complaints. It's what you do with the feet that's important. Improvements over the long run of teaching have made it more likely for students to overcome less-than-ideal feet, but there are some which just won't come around, and those dancers will have to look for careers other than in professional ballet companies. Assuming a normal distribution, and speaking from experience, I'd say that that figure hovers around 10-15% as well.

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Originally posted by bellepoele5

I have to just diagree with some people who posted earlier, Illian Lopez and Paloma Herrara have incredibly arched feet as does Patricia Barker and I just had to mention that.  

I think you may have misread some of the above posts. Paloma Herrera is in the "amazingly-arched-feet" category in every post that mentions her. I am the only one who mentioned Patricia Barker, and I placed her in the same category.
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Originally posted by Old Fashioned

Lopez has high arches now, but when she was younger she had problems with flat feet.

One can see from photos of Lopez that she has really worked on her feet. She has distinct muscles on the top of each foot, above the instep, which is exactly what dancers with less than ideal feet should work toward in order to get the look of an arch.

 

My daughter was in Iliana Lopez' class last summer and said she has amazing feet, arched and strong. That is clearly evident in pictures of her and proves yet again that arduous foot-strengthening work has wonderful results.

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Let's see:

Historically, people with not very archy feet: Margot Fonteyn, Maya Plitseskaya, Natalia Dudinskaya, Lynn Seymour, Antoinette Sibley, Merle Park,

 

In the modern times: Yulia Makhalina, Galina Mezentseva, Gelsey Kirkland, Silvina Perillo (of Ballet of Colon Theatre -Buenos Aires), Evelyn Hart, Kay Mazzo

 

Not that I care about that in the least!!! They ALL are, or were, wonderful artists.

 

silvy

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Silvy, Gelsey had one (two?) of the deepest arches of her generation. Right in there with Dominique Khalfouni and Martine van Hamel. There are early photos of her (NYCB period) where her feet appear less arched, but either she later danced on a softer shank or -- perhaps like Iliana Lopez -- she just increased the arch over time through work.

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