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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How to improve demi pointe?


K123

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Does anyone have any tips on how to improve my demi pointe? I don't have great feet, but on my right leg it's acceptable, on the left I find it very hard to get a high demi pointe. I look lazy on that leg even when I'm really trying. I think it may be an alignment issue on that leg, sitting back into it a bit, not pushing my heel forward. But I'm not sure where to begin: should I be strengthening my ankle, or trying to improve flexibility, or working on holding turn out higher up?

What would be the best plan of attack?

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That was the exact thing I was thinking Pas de Quoi! Great minds think alike :)

 

My first quest if I were you would be to work out what the problem is - is it lack of range at the front of the ankle? Lack of range through the big toe? Do you have good range but no strength? See if you can pinpoint the cause to know how to address it best. (The book Pas de Quoi suggested goes through how to do this too)

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hi k123 I was also going to suggest the perfect pointe book (there is an ebook which is a lot cheaper) also something that Lisa mentioned in a recent live chat was using a mirror box when one foot is better than the other. Here is a link to one mirror box so you can see what it is http://www.noigroup.com/en/Product/BTMB but you can probably find them cheaper, try amazon etc...

 

What you do is put your weaker foot inside the box and your better foot outside so the reflection of your good foot tricks your brain into thinking both your feet are as strong, in doing so your weak foot can improve. I think using perfect pointe and a mirror box could help you.

 

Good luck! :)

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Thank you for these ideas. I had heard of the perfect pointe book, but not of mirror boxes. I will investigate...

 

And yes, Miss Persistent, I think that's the right approach. My feeling is, it's strength rather than range. My range of movement in the toe is fine (I think) and the ankle is adequate, although not great, I just can't use it for some reason. My teacher pushed up my left heel from underneath the other day and I went up a lot further but, frustratingly, I can't get there myself. I am weaker in the glutes on that side too, so my balance and turn out is worse. I think the whole left side needs work...

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I am weaker in the glutes on that side too, so my balance and turn out is worse. I think the whole left side needs work...

 

That is a very good pick-up on your own! Yes, they are all related so all kinds of leg strength work would probably help. A good idea to build a weaker side up can be to do a set of reps on the weaker side, then do the strong side, and then do another set on the weaker side until it catches up. If you only do the weak side you'll end up uneven again!

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We were just working on this the other day, and the exercise my teacher gave us to get a higher demi was to:

 

-stand at a barre (or chair) for support, facing the barre

-feet parallel and closed

-rise up as high as you can on demi, make sure back/core is straight, etc

-while maintaining the highest demi you can, plie and push the demi even higher (helps to think of pushing the front of the ankle forward)

 

Essentially this is a forced arch exercise, similar to pointework strengthening exercises to improve the flexibility of the top of ankle/instep and the toes. You can really feel it working on the toes if you let your knees push forward. For strength, nothing beats stair calf raises!

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For strength, nothing beats stair calf raises!

 

True! That is a good exercise, just don't go overboard. Because of the increased load on the Achilles tendon if you do too many of them you can actually exacerbate Achilles issues! 2 x lots of ten for a couple of weeks would be a good starting place but always check with a qualified person if you aren't sure!

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