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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Releve in flats vs. en pointe...

Striving for Grace

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For me, balancing en pointe (on one leg or two) seems easier than balancing in releve in technique slippers.


My attitudes, sous-sus, and arabesques feel more "natural" (if that can be said of anything in ballet!) en pointe, it's easier to "pull up" and to keep the heel forward.


Is this just me, or has anyone else noticed something similar? Any ideas on why my body perceives this difference (whether or not it actually exists)?



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I think you mentioned in another thread that you have hyperextended knees, is that correct? If so, that is probably the reason, as I've heard that hyperextended people often have an easier time balancing en pointe.

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I used to have an easier time with balance en pointe because of the shape of my feet. I have bunions that limit the range of movement I have in the ball of my foot and in my big toes, and balancing in releve on two feet has always been hard for me. In pointe shoes, however, I didn't have to worry about that.


I also used to find that it was a lot easier to cheat and be lazy about pulling up or correcting my alignment in flat shoes, whereas if I didn't pull up and keep proper alignment in my pointe shoes, I'd fall over almost immediately! It made me really stick to proper technique all the time, which made working in pointe shoes a lot easier as I progressed.

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Yes, i'm hyperextended (How on earth were you able to recall that?! Great memory!) so that could indeed have something to do with it! :D


I totally agree about being able to get away with being a bit lazy in terms of pulling up when not en pointe.


Thanks for the replies- most people scoff when I say this to them (balancing on pointe is easier than in slippers? yeah right!) it's good to know I'm not completely nuts!

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It's definitely true for me, and I also am hyperextended. I also have rather uneven turnout right now, and en pointe, I'm more centered and can turn out on the left better than on flat or in demi pointe. I think it's also due to the fact that en pointe, I have no choice, I can't not give 100%. I take as many classes en pointe as I can because of this ( and strength building for my left side, which degraded faster than the right).

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Striving for Grace,


I have to agree with you about it being easier to balance on pointe! I never knew about it being easier for those with hyperextended knees (which I have).


Unfortunately, I don't dance on pointe any longer but now I do have an excuse for wobbling!

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Same here. It's like when I'm on demi-pointe, my metatarsals feel bumpy and un-even. A flat toe platform on the pointe shoe is a more stable base for me.

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I also have hyperextended legs and find it easier to balance on pointe. I can also almost pull a double pirouette on pointe, but struggle with a single in flats! =0

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I've only done a little pointe, but was also astonished to find that on days when I had the shoes and padding on properly (those were rare) it was a lot easier to balance on pointe than on relevé. At the time I put it down to the fact that in relevé you're spending a lot of energy staying up, keeping the foot in tension, especially back through the arch and calf, while on pointe, the foot is in compression and you rest your weight on it. This may also leave more attention and energy for correcting the rest of the things that throw balances off.

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Actually davidg, as I understand it (having been told by women) that is precisely the reason it is usually more difficult to balance en pointe--you can't directly feel the floor and use your muscles to press against it to fix your balance. Also, the platform of a pointe shoe is quite small compared to the area the ball of your foot and toes take up on the floor, so there's less to stand on.

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