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Ballet Talk for Dancers

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momtoemandel

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momtoemandel

For all you moms of ballet boys who are older, did any of your boys struggle with their feet? My DS 14 doesn't have the best feet. He's working on them, but he has a low arch and his foot flexibility is not ideal. Did any of your sons overcome these issues? His flexibility otherwise is great. Can something like this be fixed at this age? He's gotten very serious about ballet, but would I be doing him a disservice not to encourage his other interests over ballet if his feet may never cooperate?

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Well, my DS had/has completely flat feet ( genetic) and it is a problem which he has worked on a lot over the years.It is of course a disadvantage but he has learnt to work with it. In fact he said that his teacher for the last year was very good at showing them how to show themselves to advantage and to "disguise" the inherent weaknesses which can't be fixed.

So he will never be a principal in a top classical company but he he will be able to dance in other companies and is in fact starting his first professional job next month. As others have said before - if your DS has a passion for dance they will find a way though they may have to adapt their ambitions. Good luck

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One question... Has his feet stopped growing? My son, who is still young but at the age where he is starting to be serious about this, has beautifully arched, high instep feet. However, he had a HUGE growth spurt, growing 2.5 shoe sizes in 5 months! He lost a lot of flexibility in his feet and they are much tighter now than before. He is stretching them gently but consistently (I guess it is good to have a ballet teacher for a mom and dad sometimes) and has regained a lot of it. So if his feet are growing, I think some flexibility can be gained. But over stretching can be dangerous and lead to a lot of different injuries and issues, which is why I hate foot stretchers for kids! Mom, if you will help him slowly stretch his feet each night before bed, even better after a warm bath, it would probably help some. But no matter how arched the foot, if the feet are not well articulated it doesn't matter. I've seen plenty of professional dancers (I was one of the) who didn't have 'perfect' feet, but used what they had to the best of their ability and that makes all the difference.

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From the time my son got serious about dancing at about 9 years old we heard that he didn't have the best feet. It didn't become an issue until he went to a full time program where it seemed like everyone had feet that were almost too good to be true. So at age 12-13 he started really working on his feet - not using any kind of foot stretcher, just doing some safe exercises that his teachers showed him how to do. The kids at his school all stretched each other's feet showing exercises that helped them improve, and I would help him stretch at night. More than anything I think he just really became hyper aware of his feet and started to really think about them all the time when he danced - so in some ways he just learned to use his feet more effectively.

 

A year later I can honestly say that I notice a pretty significant improvement in his feet when he dances. He doesn't magically have a beautiful, high instep but his point looks a whole lot better than it did. He continues to work on them.

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momtoemandel

I'm not quite sure if his feet have stopped growing. My dad and brother are over 6 foot tall with larger feet than him. His dad is 5'9 with smaller feet than him. He's taller than his dad, and I'm pretty sure he has a few years of growing left. I'm guessing he'll grow at least one more size to an 11.

 

He just finished an intensive, and they did teach him different exercises to do. He's pretty focused at this point, so hopefully they will improve.

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