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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Being instructed to curl the toes


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At my last ballet lesson, my teacher had the class sit on the floor with our legs stretched in front, feet pointed. She then instructed us to "point harder, curl the toes". I've read here that curling your toes is very bad, but was this a normal stretch exercise or simply bad information?

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Curling the toes is bad information. But, as explained in another thread about curling toes, there is a difference in the fact that the toes do bend somewhat and in when you are really curling them. And, with everyone having different types of feet, what might be curled for some is not curled for others. The energy through the leg and foot and toes will push them over somewhat, but, if you really "curl" them, then they are actually more "clenched", and the foot will not be fully pointed. You can feel what this is like by doing a tendu in à la second and pushing your weight into the toes of the pointed foot, which makes them really curl under. NOT a good thing.

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My teacher explains the bad type of curl more as "knuckled." Some curve/curl is natural when you point your foot properly.

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Yes, "knuckled" and "clenched" are describing the same thing, I think. Either one would be very wrong, but without any curve to the toes, like if they were completely straight, that would not be right either.

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I had it explained to me that the correct term should be "scooping" the toes because asking the students to curl the toes is just wrong, but the teacher wanted to see a scooping of the feet.

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Okay that explains it. It is okay for some of the toes to curl, but I shouldn't actually squeeze them (which I had been doing after hearing "curl the toes"). Thanks guys :D

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It is a bit confusing. I like to think of it as actually elongating the foot and getting a lot of flexibility and fluidity into the foot rather than "crimping" the toes.

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