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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Putting Adults on Pointe


Gayle

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I wish she would have gone into more detail. On the surface one would get the impression that "anyone" can dance en pointe, and that is very decidedly, NOT the case. I take issue with that as well.

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Serendipity

Margot Fonteyn had to work very hard to overcome her bad feet, so I have read in several sources. I would venture a speculation that had she been evaluated in today's world, she might have been advised to give up trying to do pointe work quite early on in her training.

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Margot Fonteyn had to work very hard to overcome her bad feet, so I have read in several sources. I would venture a speculation that had she been evaluated in today's world, she might have been advised to give up trying to do pointe work quite early on in her training.
And oh what a shame that would have been!
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Serendipity, that is just plain not true. Fonteyn had perfect feet for classical ballet, and all you have to do is look at any photo/video of her to see it. Early in her career, she did not have good USE of her feet, and that is what she worked with Frederick Ashton to improve.

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Victoria Leigh

Thank you, Hans! That has always bothered me that people think she had bad feet, when she did not at all!

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Serendipity

http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?...mode=linearplus

 

Read Post 4.

 

I also read about this WAY back when I was a teen in training, in a biography of Margot Fonteyn written for children.

 

There are quite a few references to her bad feet in several sources that I've only just now skimmed - some of them newspapers (e.g. the Telegraph, in England), others less credible, like a student's report on her.

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Victoria Leigh

And you believe everything you read??? I'm sorry, but I have seen Margot Fonteyn, many times. She does not have "banana feet", but she has very GOOD feet. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them.

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Serendipity, I encourage you to read the rest of that thread, in which others who also saw Fonteyn live have posted. Dancers are frequently quite self-deprecating, but they have the disadvantage of being unable to watch themselves dance, so their descriptions of themselves are not always a perfectly objective account of their strengths and weaknesses.

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I believe in the biography "Margot Fonteyn: A Life", it is written that Margot felt she had bad feet. I think she was very self deprecating, as most dancers are, and she said she had bad feet. Now, as for Suzanne Farrell.... :(

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luceroblanco

So what would you consider "bad" feet for ballet? I personally think it's very relevant in the discussion of pointe for adults. With children a lot of physiological problems can be overcome becomes the body is still growing and things change, particularly with exercises. However, this is less the case with adult bodies (especially over 30). I consider myself to have "bad" feet for ballet, because I have flat feet, very weak and tight muscles/tendons in the feet. My teacher gave me exercises to work on at home for both of these. My pointing is improving but even so with the tightness my feet when pointed are still not even a straight line from leg to knee. I've heard that minimally is necessary for pointe. I don't care about doing pointe and I like my feet (I'm not THAT serious about ballet so it doesn't matter as long as I don't injure myself) but these are things that I would consider make me not a good candidate for pointe. If my feet were like this 30 or 40 years ago maybe it wouldn't have matter because exercises would have helped but at this age 44, it might help a little but not enough to make them into "good feet" for ballet.

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That's correct, luceroblanco. The foot and ankle must have enough flexibility and strength for you to be able to stand on pointe with no sickling or pronating, straight knees, and the platform of the shoe flat on the floor. There is, of course, more to going on pointe than that, but without taking line into account (which wouldn't be important for someone who doesn't plan on being a professional dancer anyway) that is pretty much what you would need to stand on pointe in terms of the structure of the foot/ankle.

 

To dance on pointe, one must consistently maintain one's technique by taking multiple ballet technique classes every week, with pointe classes following.

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Victoria Leigh

Flat feet are a serious problem for dancers. There are some relatively rare cases where the arch is flat but there is still an instep, or, there is an arch but very little instep. If there is an arch, that would make it somewhat more possible for one to work on pointe, although certainly not ideal. Even in children there is a limit to how much improvement one can get, so with adults, while they can certainly strengthen and learn to use their feet better, the actual improvement is not going to be a lot in terms of the structure of the foot.

 

Flexible feet and ankles are also needed for ballet and pointe. If the feet are very tight one can improve them over years of a lot of training, but the degree is the question. So, it is very individual, and also depends on the quality and quantity of training.

 

That said, there are a lot of other factors to consider for pointe work, such as not only rotation but USE of rotation, alignment and weight placement, strength, and of course technical knowledge. There is also a weight issue. Seriously overweight people, children or adults, should never be in pointe shoes. (We do not discuss weight issues here, as you all know, so please don't ask how much is too much weight. We cannot know that without seeing you, and numbers are irrelevant in that decision.)

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Je Suis Aimee
I believe in the biography "Margot Fonteyn: A Life", it is written that Margot felt she had bad feet. I think she was very self deprecating, as most dancers are, and she said she had bad feet. Now, as for Suzanne Farrell.... :(

 

What about Suzanne Farrell? I am genuinely curious! (I am just getting familiarized with all these names)

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Farrell broke her left (?) foot when she was a child during a horse riding accident, and after that it did not have as high an arch as her other foot.

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