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Ballet Talk for Dancers

"Wrapped" cou-de-pied position


swantobe

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For a petits battements exercise we do in class, we have to work in/start in a "wrapped" sur le cou-de-pied position. Now, I can sickle my foot in oh so beautifully :):wink: but I really struggle to "wing" my foot (essentially what is needed for a wrapped cou-de-pied) when it is more pointed than flexed. I'm repeatedly being told in class to work on this at home, but I honestly feel like it is a structural thing - my ankle just can't move that way more than a little bit when my foot is pointed! Is this a structural thing? Is there any way I can actually get my foot more into this position? Has anyone else experienced this?

 

(Apparently, the RAD is starting to use a less-wrapped position but unfortunately not fast enough for me :()

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Serendipity

The wrapped position is great for helping you feel your turnout. Keep using it. My foot USED to wrap well, till the ankle broke. Now the metal in it doesn't let it go that way. Thank heavens it wasn't repaired for sickled position!

 

You might want to consider using a theraband to do side-ways exercises with your ankle. A good exercise I used to do is to sit on the floor, legs outstretched, then point my feet and try to put the pinky toe on the floor. I did this a lot when I was teen, which is why I don't sickle in any position, no matter how much I struggle otherwise. :-D

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Victoria Leigh

The ability to achieve that position correctly depends on both rotation and ankle flexibility. It is a position one MUST achieve in order to achieve line in all the positions. Keep working on it, Lau. It's important. (And the foot IS fully pointed in that position.)

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I did RAD and was always told (by teachers and tutors on courses) that you shouldn't force the position. The ankle should be virtually fully stretched and you allowed the foot to 'nestle' into the shape.

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Thanks for all your replies. I really appreciate them. I can get into this position better at times, but when we're doing the exercise, I sometimes lose it. But I still can't do it as easily as others in my class (in terms of the ankle movement). My teacher has asked me to point my foot to the side (leg bent, tip of toes on floor in full point) and then move the ankle forward and down and I can usually get an okay-ish position if I do this and then "wrap" the foot round my ankle. Clearly it's a combination of the lack of rotation and the ankle movement problem, in my case.

 

Does anyone know of any other exercises (besides the one which Serendipity suggested) that work the ankle in particular (I've got lots of exercises for rotation already)?

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Victoria Leigh

I would say that just DOING what you described, practicing it a lot, would be the best exercise there is! Maintain the shape of the foot and the rotation that you have in the tendu to the side with the knee bent, and move from the knee to bring the foot, holding it's position, into the ankle. I would also practice doing cou de pied front and back positions the same way. :offtopic:

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Thank you. I will add that to the myriad number of things I have to do exercises to work on :wink: . My feet sickle in naturally (when I'm just sitting, or lying down or whatever) so to make them do the opposite is a little different for them!

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Victoria Leigh

Aha, then that is different. Since they tend to sickle naturally, the only way you are going to change that is to make it a 24/7 thing. Don't ALLOW them to do that, ever! :wink:

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Serendipity

Students in one of my schools who have sickled feet get a tennis ball that they have to keep between their ankles on releves to demi and, if on pointe, to pointe, and they are drilled with this.... It works! :-)

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ToThePointe

One exercise I give is....

 

Flex the foot on the ankle and then slowly working from the heel down, start to point the foot and wrap it around the ankle until it is fully pointed.

 

Wash, rinse, repeat several times.

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Students in one of my schools who have sickled feet get a tennis ball that they have to keep between their ankles on releves to demi and, if on pointe, to pointe, and they are drilled with this.... It works! :-)

 

It does work, but I would hope students would be required to correct sickling before starting pointe work.

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Serendipity

I agree, although I've seen students who did not sickle on dem-releve who DID sickle when starting pointe (new use of ankle muscles). One little one only had a few weeks off, did NOT sickle on pointe before being off, and this week showed up with a major sickling on one foot. Muscles need to re-learn...

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Guest Pas de Quoi

To the Pointe:

 

This is so weird (in a good way!). I give the same exercise that you describe in your post, but I don't add the "wash rinse repeat several times". Just curious - does that make it better/easier for the students? If so, I will certainly add it ..... BTW I hope your end of year performance went well! :wink:

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Thank you for all your help. I just wanted to clarify - I don't sickle when standing or anything, I just find that when I'm lying in bed or sitting I tend to just let my ankles/feet fall into a sickled position. I will work on not doing this, 24/7.

 

I don't really struggle with sickling en demi-pointe or en pointe (although when I'm tired, I'm more likely to do so en pointe), but I do the "tennis ball exercise" quite often, as well as other "theraband rises" (feet in parallel, theraband tied around a stable table leg or something like that, then placed round the inside of the ankle, and then one does rises, ensuring that the feet and ankles stay in the correct position) designed to strengthen the weaker side of my ankle//foot. I've worked really hard on this.

 

So I can do the "normal" part of pointing etc, but it's just moving the ankle the other way (winging it when the foot is pointed (I can do it more when foot is flexed), which is necessary for the wrapped position) which is harder for me.

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Victoria Leigh

Lau, there is only one correct foot position when the foot is pointed. It is the same position for tendu in any direction, cou de pied, retiré, etc., etc. It does not change for the wrapped cou de pied position. A winged foot is not completely pointed.

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