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Ballet Talk for Dancers


Guest adultbegballet

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Guest adultbegballet

A friend recently came to my dance class as an observer and took pictures (for my own amusement, I should add). I noticed that I'm often sickling my feet; I wasn't conscious of this, nor have my teachers corrected me on it. How can I go about correcting it? I didn't know I was doing it in the first place!!



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The best way to stop sickling is to not sickle. Think about your feet while you take class. The cause of this can be traced back to fundamental issues like turnout and placement. Some feet are more problematic than others, but it should gradually improve as you gain strength in all areas. Do some slow releves in first without and note what your ankles are doing. Are they "rolling" in or out as you releve and come down? Do some slow tendus and watch the shape of your foot as you go in and out. All the basics that you do can help with the sickling. It's hard to focus on this when you have a million other things to think about in class, but that's normal. Everything gets better little by little. It'll probably get better now that you've noticed it and will think about not sickling.

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Are there specific positions/exercises where you noticed the sickling? It seems that depending on when its happening, the correction (or placement to think about) would be different. I'm thinking that, if, for example, you are sickling in tendu front or side, you'd need to think about presenting the heel forward rather than the pushing the toes outward. I have a tendency at times to sickle very slightly at the very beginning of developpe, and thinking heel forward to the front, or connecting the heel at the back with the toes extended away from the supporting leg helps.


You might also ask one of your teachers to watch for that particular problem since he/she can see how you are working and give you suggestions based on where the problem seems to be arising.

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How timely!


We talked at length about this in class today. I sickle with my right foot. I cannot tell you how many times I've had teachers either physically push the foot into place by pushing the heel out, or having other teachers yell from across the room, "Push your heel out.!" Like this is the answer to the problem. As I learned today, apparently not.


Our teacher had us do exercises where we started in 5th, slowly peeled the front foot off the floor and traced it up the leg into passe. Many of us still sickled. He then told us part of the problem is that teachers often say, push out with the heel. He showed us what happens when you do that -- most of us lost control of the opposite hip and our placement went out of whack. His suggestion was to think about pointing along the metatarsels and through the big toe, making the foot point more. This worked the muscles inside the instep and corrected the sickle.

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Guest adultbegballet

Thanks for the replies. I noticed it when I was extending to second; I thought perhaprs it was happening because I was trying to turn out farther than what my body will Allow (not sure if that makes sense - I hope it does).

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don't know if it's helpful or not. . . I too have an enormous problem with sickling -- part of it is physiological, I was very turned in as a child. In my case, I don't think about pushing my heel out, I think about winging my foot. Because of my physiology my foot will NEVER wing, but it corrects the sickling.

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The foot is connected to the leg, and the leg is connected...well, you get the idea. If the placement and especially the use of your rotation is not correct, the foot will sickle. It has to be a correction that starts from the placement, works the rotators, and the foot, IF one has learned to pointe it correctly in the first place, will follow into the right position. Theoretically :party: Seriously, a sickled foot in à la seconde is usually when the leg is too far side for the amount of rotation available. A sickle in the retiré position usually happens when the rotators are not working. If the foot sickles in tendu or cou de pied positition, it will sickle everywhere. So, start there.

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