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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Gripping the floor


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I have been ending every class session with incredibly sore feet and ankles....just an achy feeling in my toes, arches and mostly my ankles.


I asked my teacher last night about what I must be doing wrong, and she said I was probably gripping the floor to hold my positions, and that I need to consciously relax my feet.


I'm not certain I understand completely what she means....or how to relax my feet while engaging my turnout.





(And on a side, personal note - this teacher is the most awesome technically-based teacher, the most talented and the most hard-working I've ever had. She's had a rough week and even made a comment about possibly quitting this studio. We would be losing a fantastic teacher if that happens. All positive thoughts would be appreciated!)

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You are probably literally trying to claw the floor in order to try to keep your feet from slipping. Very often this gripping is caused by trying to force turnout, which should be coming from the other end of the leg - the hips. Your solution is to relax the feet over the instep and use the turnout muscles in the glutes and thighs more.

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Okay! I spent the majority of last night's class consciously relaxing my feet every time I got into position. That was really hard, and I felt like I had no turn out what-so-ever.... But my feet hurt MUCH less than they did on Tuesday. Now I need to figure out how to push my turnout without destroying my feet...

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That's good! I'm glad that you can feel the difference! Now to work on the hips. That's where the turnout starts. Rotation refers to the turnout of the thighbone in the hipjoint, turnout as we use it in ballet class refers to how the feet end up on the floor, but that proceeds from rotation from the hip. Keep up the good work! :blushing:

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