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not strong enough en pointe


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I restarted pointe about 4-5 months ago. I'm finding that when I do slow rises in first or second position, it is difficult to go up on both feet at the same time- I go up on the right foot and then the left goes up a second later.


Last night I asked my teacher if this was due to lack of strength and she agreed. However I went home and realised that I need to know more:

Is it weak feet, ankles or legs?

And then how do I strengthen those paricular areas?


For shoes, I alternate between GMs and Bloch Sylphides. I haven't noticed this happening more in one pair of shoes than the other.


Thanks, Wembley

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I started with the same problem and after many lessons/trainings managed quite well. NOW I have ankle sprain issues, but that's another story.


What helped? Using the theraband! I did loads of foot exercises with the theraband in between classes. I also did lots of releves on demi-pointe AND practiced en pointe at home. I know I'll lose strength due to being off pointe for the duration of this rather mild injury (exacerbated by AGE!!), but I also know that as I had been able to do it before, it can be done again.


Practice, practice, practice!!


(An aside: I saw a great T-shirt that had this phrase on it: [The Pointe] Perseverence+Patience+Pain=Perfection....suck it up! :D

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Sometimes when there's a problem at one end, look to the other end to solve it.


So, start with your alignment; are you capable of engaging all the necessary muscles to act as they should be to control your alignment? Are your abs engaged? Are you lifted well off of your hips? Are you engaging your rotators?? Do you feel as though you are pointing your entire leg, not just your foot?

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Thanks, I think that you have hit the nail on the head. Currently I am working on straightening my knees all the time, as I tend to keep my knees bent slightly while en pointe (probably a combination of not pointing my feet enough and holding my weight too far back). It is at the point where my teacher just calls 'Wembley, knees' at me every exercise! This indicates that my alignment is yet far from perfect!



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Another part of the problem might be the length of the vamp on your shoes. I had this problem until I went with a longer vamp which gives my feet more support. Keep in mind you can't go longer than your toes allow, but because you said you have this problem more in one pair of shoes than the other - that might be a bit of the problem. You might try using some vamp elastic which would allow you to have a longer vamp without getting new shoes! :)

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I thought she said she hasn't noticed it happening more in one pair than the other :)

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I thought she said she hasn't noticed it happening more in one pair than the other :lol:


You're correct! I stand corrected. Guess it's not the vamp :) Sorry about that

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That's ok! I just wondered if I read it wrong!! :wacko:

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I have worked on this issue as well. I think in my case, it's due to one foot being stronger than the other. My right hip is a little higher than my left, so my left foot tends to bear more weight and get "worked" more. My left foot seems much stronger.


Maybe a factor with your problem too, especially since you're relatively new to restarting pointe. Your stronger foot is probably going up first:)

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That's an interesting theory and might explain why I have to focus on my right foot (weaker for same reason plus it is a compromised foot) when doing this particular exercise. I also have to focus on my right foot after about an hour en pointe. I have had the ankle buckle if I'm not really focusing on keeping that ankle what I call "straight and tight".

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Uneven foot strength is also quite likely- I am much less confident on the left foot (which is second to go up), as some years ago I broke the big toe in a car accident (I was a pedestrian hit by a car, and I walked away with bruises, grazes and a broken toe, so I was pretty luck!).


Lots of things for me to work on now!


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  • 3 weeks later...



I am in a similar boat. Take a look at www.theballetblog.com

It's a site by an Australian physiotherapist who's also the author of "The Perfect Pointe Book", which concentrates on preparing one's feet and ankle muscles for pointe work. I am just starting to work through The PP book, but it's amazing to see all the neglected feet muscles!


The book is aimed mostly to young dancers going en pointe for the first time, but there are lots of testimonials from older dancers whose pointe work has improved owing to following the exercises.


Working with a theraband is also an excellent idea.


As for having broken your left big toe - not really sure about what you could do about that. I think it is probably just a case of the muscles and ligaments around that toe being weak now?

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I have had an interesting past month (regarding pointe work), I've been using a very, very basic beginning class to use up some of my make-ups. It was the only class available at a time that worked for me. Anyway, after the first class (where I was absolutely bored to tears), I asked the teacher if I could take the class wearing my pointe shoes, figuring this would help level the playing field somewhat. She said yes, and that's what I've been doing for the past three Saturdays. Other than grand plié (which has done nothing except break down my boxes somewhat), it's a great opportunity for me to work on strengthening my feet and working on balance, and it has really helped me in my "regular" classes. Perhaps there is a very, very basic (we're talking back to learning glissade by tendu to tendu here), or some beginning class where you can take the class en pointe to help strengthen your feet? Just stay away from the grand plié :innocent: I know there's a way to do grand plié en pointe, but I'll wait a few weeks for that, it would just really confuse the other ladies, and I'm trying to NOT confuse them any more than they already are.

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Thanks for all the suggestions.


The ballet studio has just closed for the summer holidays here, so I don't have any classes until the beginning of February. I'm going to try a drop-in class at another studio, but that is only once a week, and not pointe specific (and I don't know what the level will be- the internet schedule says intermediate, so I'm hoping it is a good standard).


So I'm really on my own for the next 6 weeks.... I take myself through a barre 4-5 times a week, so now I'm including some pointe exercises at the end of the barre- slow rises in parallel, first and second, releves, echappes, pas de bouree and courous. I do theraband exercises as well (of course, if I did them more often it would probably help....). I don't think that I'll be able to keep up this routine fo the whole of the break, as I have to go visit my parents foor several weeks.


I'm not certain whether my left big toe is really much weaker, or whether it is a lack of confidence on my part! I'm not very confident en pointe- my teacher has to make me step away from the barre!


Thnaks, Wembley

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I'm not very confident en pointe- my teacher has to make me step away from the barre!
I do understand this! I will sometimes joke and say I need a baby walker, preferrably the round spinning type, for center floor. The fear factor is something that is never addressed, and perhaps should be addressed, especially to adults. However, take heart in knowing that the more you do, the more fearless you will become! Enjoy your "summer" break, I am very jealous. It was 12 below zero degrees at my house this morning! :D
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