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Ballet Talk for Dancers

starting pointe work:question for Ms. Leigh


eunheejun

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Hello Ms. Leigh:

 

I will soon start pointe work and have some questions regarding this issue. I would appreciate your advice.

 

First, to give you an idea of my structure, I am bowlegged (My knees and calves touch in first although there is a gap between my thighs. There is a slight gap between my knees in 6th although I can get them together pretty easily by locking them) and I am also slightly hyperextended. Due to my structure, when I go on demi-pointe, in order to keep the balance, my ankles pronate. If I straightened my ankle along the line of my lower leg, then I would sickle and also get off balance. The teacher who I think is pretty careful about starting people on pointe has no worries of me going on pointe. He told me that my feet are flexible and my body is strong enough for pointe work. He has never mentioned my alignment issue as a potential problem in pointe work. I know it is hard for you to give advice without actually looking at me, but I hope you can picture me in your head :clapping: and give me advice on the pronation problem. Thank you for your help in advance.

 

Eun Hee

 

PS: I saw your picture on the ballettalk website the other day--what a lovely dancer/teacher you are!

Edited by eunheejun
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Thank you for your kind words, Eun Hee :clapping:

 

Congratulations on starting pointe work. I'm having a problem with why the ankle has to pronate on demi pointe, or anywhere else. If you are using your rotation from the hips, and it carries through to the lower leg and foot, then it should not be a problem to be straight on demi pointe or pointe. Being bow legged should not affect your ability to get straight up IF you are using your rotation really well. Is it possible that you have some tibial torsion in the lower legs? If so, then I think I could understand what happens.

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Thank you for your prompt reply, Ms. Leigh.

 

By pronation, I mean that my lower leg, from the knee to the toe tip, makes an "S" shape when on demi pointe or pointe, with my ankle more inside than the toe tip. I notice this tendency in some dancers whose legs are perfectly straight (not arque), but it seems that in my legs this is more pronounced. Is this something to be corrected? Thank you.

 

Eun Hee

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Eun Hee, I'm really sorry, but I'm having a problem visualizing this. Perhaps Mr. Johnson can figure it out. :flowers:

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Wait a second - if you're bowlegged, and the knee-to-toe line is a gentle "S", that's not pronation, that's supination! It's a sickle out. Would you be of Korean ancestry, by some chance? I see, and have seen, quite a few Korean children with tibial torsion.

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Hello Mr. Johnson:

 

Isn't this the correct definition of supination and pronation?;

 

Supination: To turn or rotate (the foot) by adduction and inversion so that the outer edge of the sole bears the body's weight.

 

Pronation: To turn or rotate (the foot) by abduction and eversion so that the inner edge of the sole bears the body's weight.

 

When I stand on demi-pointe or pointe, my weight is distributed in the inside of my ball, not outside. This is why I thought I pronate. And yes, I am from Korea, but I am not sure if what I have is tibial torsion. My curve in the lower leg is rather slight that I can't really tell if it's the bone or the muscle. I just notice that my ankle seems to be in the way (they are too inside). I do have very flexible ankles and strong, flexible feet.

 

I have been looking around to find a picture which shows the closest shape to my leg;

 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object.cgi?o...e=entertainment

 

This is what my leg looks like when I am on pointe or demi-pointe.

 

Anyway, going back to my "S" shape issue, it is almost impossible for me to balance with my ankle in the same line with my lower leg (also it would make me look like I am sickling inside). I guess my major concern is whether or not it is a good idea to go on pointe at all considering the structure of my legs. Although, if my teacher thought that that would be a problem, he would have told me so. Anyway, any input would be appreciated regarding good ways to correct my problem. Thank you.

 

 

Eun Hee

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Well, I'm not sure about your legs, but, Yuan Yuan Tan has certainly done very well indeed with her legs! :yes:

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If that's close to what your legs look like, then you're close to perfect in the foot/leg alignment department. There is an axis, or to use an engineering term, a "line of thrust", that goes between the kneecap and the point of the big toe. If those two fall on that line, then the intervening tibia can bow to its heart's content and it won't hurt anything.

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Oh, that gives me a lot of relief, Mr. Johnson. My balances in retire position in the center are pretty solid. I can usually stand in a good position. So I guess the alignment is working. Well, then I will go ahead and start pointe work. Thank you so much for your infomation, Mr. Johnson and Ms. Leigh.

 

Eun Hee

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