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Fondu... and the story of the popping heel...


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Teachers and mods, I could use some pointers and ideas.


I've been working hard on cleaning up the small stuff lately. Hopefully I've made some decent progress (at least others say I have!) but this is the one thing that's just not improved, and now we're focussing on it....


I was working with one of my teachers this past week on some piques - namely into arabesque and attitude derriere en pointe, but this happens in other situations as well. In the all-important fondu prior, my heel 'pops' - especially if I'm looking to do a proper, big, travel-through-space pique (but not over-travelled - all the details have been finely honed.)


We've been struggling to figure out what's going on and why. At first, we thought that I was letting go of my turnout a bit, and simultaneously leaning forward, so taking my torso forward too early. We've really worked on the turnout and placement, but the heel still 'pops' - it comes off the ground too early, and thus I'm missing a subtle smoothness in the transition and strenghth in the push forward.


It's only a slight lift of the heel, only noticeable if really watching for it, but it's not right and it's driving me nuts. It happens on my left leg, stepping onto the right. It happens rarely with the right. We're both trying to figure this out.


This weekend, I've been fondu-ing and stepping everywhere (you get weird looks on the streets, but hey...) the main thing I've noticed is that I don't feel the same connection in my lower left leg that I do in my right. I'm thus worried that this is something that I can't fix - I tore a muscle on my outer left calf about 16 years ago or so. Didn't follow through and get therapy or anything on it, and it still feels very lopsided. I'm just not feeling the same kind of stretch/alignment in my left calf during the fondu that I do in my right.


So I guess two questions - what could it be that's making my heel 'pop'? I don't generally have this issue in anything else - I have decently long achilles and a good demi plie, good elevation especially in petite allegro, and am working hard on maintaining turnout through transitions. Besides the turnout issue... is there anything else that I should watch out for?


Second, and this may be more of a nutrition and health forum question - but is there anything I should watch out for regarding my left leg, and that calf muscle? Anything that might help it even out?


Thanks in advance, as always. :P

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It could easily be a ligament passing over a condyle, harmlessly, if there's no pain involved. It sounds to me as though there's a slight difference in the amount of rotation on the left leg from what there is on the right. You could be rolling over the inside edge of the foot as you move from the fondu into the piqué.

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Not sure, ami, but, since you say it is not happening on other things, even jumps, then I would have to think it is a technical issue rather than the calf issue. My guess would be that you are simply moving your weight before you have reached the full push from that leg. :P

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Guest BalletBrat

This brings up a question I have been having about fondu and the proper execution of the rise on the stretch of the leg.....


When one rises from fondu, I always thought that the leg must be straight before the heel lifts off the floor and in so doing, the heel touches the floor before the knee bends to return to plie (of course all in one smooth movement). I have a techer recently who asks us to do the rise before the leg is stretched and or bend the knee before the heel has come back to the floor, and I have found this to be theoretically confusing. What is the point of that? Is there ever a time when it is technically correct to raise the heel before the leg is stretched completly or to fondu whilst still in 1/4 pointe position?? It just seems to me that making a technical habit of that could be injurious.


To Ami, I find I do things like this on my "weak side" the side that I feel less comfortable moving toward. So, when I travel left I may do some funny little thing just out of anticipation or even in compensation for some uncomfortableness in that direction. Maybe in regard to what the experts say for the question I had above, just going over the mechanics of fondu, rise, lower, plie may help reestablish a better technique on that side for you.

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Thanks all who responded. I've continue to fondu - pique all over the office (!) and I don't think I'm pronating on the left foot before hand... However it is hard to fully tell without a mirror.


Many thanks for all your ideas - I will work on them on class tonight and also ask to be watched on them in other things, like jumps. There is a slight difference in rotation, Major Mel is right, and I think a bit of a transfer of weight problem. I'll discuss all these possiblities with my teachers.


BalletBrat - there is one huge nail you hit right on the head - I need to really pay more attention to my weaker side! *sighs*.... Hard work will do us good in the end!

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