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Ballet Talk for Dancers

good vs. bad feet


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You have a point. I have watched dancers in companies that are not considered top tier, whose dancing is breathtaking and compelling. I have watched dancers in top tier companies who show off banana feet, . . . , but miss out on the dancing.

Edited by dancemaven
Let’s leave unnecessary body comments out of this per BT4D Rules and Policies.
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Yolanda, YES! This is a conversation that is had often between my daughter and her private instructor. Her foot is not perfect, needed/s help, but over the last two years with almost daily (sometimes twice daily) work (theraband, toe towel curls, foot stretcher, etc) and there has been a lot of improvement - all of this was done well before she started her period which is important. The dialogue in the studio has always been that a beautiful foot is a definite asset, but artistry is tantamount to connecting with the audience and making people fall in love with you as a dancer. 


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The foot thing is an interesting one. I am not a professional teacher or anything like that, just a mom. My DD who is now 14 has feet that have really changed. She started dancing at 9.5 and really had no articulation and didn’t seem like she had favorable genetics except short torso to long limbs. I use to fret when I saw gorgeous feet because my daughter’s seemed pretty flat, no arch, no curve. She has very, very long narrow feet. But something happened in the course of being at her new studio for the last 2 years and the amount of work she has put in.  Her feet have changed-a lot. While she doesn’t have 100% “banana feet”, she now has beautiful curved feet that I am still amazed she has. The director at her studio told me her feet were good and that I shouldn’t worry about it when we first came to the studio. She was right. I recently asked my daughter how the transformation happened. She laughed and said, “a lot of hard, tedious work”. Oftentimes as parents we want to see things in our dancers and their bodies aren’t ready to show yet based on maturity or because they just haven’t spent enough time at the craft. So many of the experienced teachers on here talk about how ballet is a marathon, not a sprint. I never understood that until this year. 4 1/2 years in and my DD is just now starting to grow into herself. I wish I wouldn’t have fretted so much before. It was a waste of time. 

While the experts on here can probably tell you more accurately if what you are thinking of as a “good foot” can be achievable if not seen at the beginning, I can say time and hard work has been the saving grace for my daughter in this crazy dance journey. 

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Mom of a professional dancer weighing in.  Feet seemed to be way more of a topic of interest in schools than in companies or even auditions! Seems like moms and even many teachers like to fixate on feet where companies want good dancers that fit with what they are looking for.  Best piece of advice stop worrying about feet, since in many cases they are what they are.  There are so many other things to focus on if they want a career.  

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Ok, there is foot structure and there is foot articulation.  Certainly in the best companies in the nation who have the ability to dismiss a dancer for not having one of the many things on the "our" facility list.  In most medium and smaller companies you will find dancers with feet that are not necessarily the best in the world, but they are not Fred Flintstone feet either.  So, a dancer must learn to articulate the foot as much as port de bra is about the upper body no matter what the foot structure is.  In other words, don't concern yourself with what you don't have.  Concern yourself with what you can do to improve what you do have to make it the best you possibly can.  


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