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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Tapered toes en demi-pointe


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Not sure where to ask this...


I have tapered toes and my last two toes taper off severely. If I stand with correctly aligned (non-sickled) ankles en demi-pointe, my smallest toe doesn't touch the floor and the next toe is only half on the floor.


Is this normal for tapered toes?


We had a substitute teacher who saw me en demi-pointe with bare feet and tried to get me to stand on all 5 of my toes en demi-pointe...but I can't do this without sickling my ankle. She insisted I needed to try to keep all toes on the floor but I can't without sacrificing ankle alignment.


Am I correct in thinking that not have all those toes on the floor when en demi-pointe is normal for tapered toes?

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Guest Pas de Quoi

I think you are correct, in feeling the line of the ankle is most important. I have never encountered what your substitute teacher is recommending in any of my teaching courses.

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I would agree with Pas de Quoi - depending on the shape of each persons toes it may be different for everyone. As long as your toes are being held long (not scrunched up or gripping the floor) I would prefer the ankle be correctly aligned that fuss about what toes are touching where. If though you are 'fishing' your ankle forward past being correctly aligned causing your toes to lift I would be worried - but I would not sacrifice a correctly, vertically aligned ankle, to make the little toe touch the floor.

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Did this teacher have a more modern-based background?

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I have the same issue, little toe doesn't touch the floor and my second one barely does... Am I right in thinking it is harder to balance because of this?

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Miss Persistent - I struggle to wing my feet and am much more likely to sickle them, so I am very aware of what my ankles are doing to try to correct this. In order to have 5 toes on the floor, I would have to have sickled ankles. This teacher seemed to think that it was ankle weakness that meant I couldn't get all 5 toes on the floor AND have ankles in correct alignment but I am pretty sure it's because my little toes are too short to be on the floor if I am in FULL demi-pointe and have aligned ankles.


Clara - not sure about her background.


Pas de Quoi - it depends on the situation but I know I find I feel more stable when up en pointe at times, especially in turns. I'm not sure this is to do with the shape of the foot though - rather that I always feel more pulled up, centred and possibly am not usually pushing back into hyperextension (of knees) en pointe.

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My pinky toes don't reach the ground either en demi-pointe!!! I'd venture a guess that that is true of many feet.

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I don't find it easier to dance on pointe. Because of my very tapered feet and the particular shape of my toes, I danced on the outer corner of my big toe on pointe and nothing else...

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I have a teacher with a tonne of anatomical (and pedagogical) knowledge who has talked about feeling energy on the baby/pinky toe side of the foot in demi-pointe, as well as tendu, etc., even if your fifth and/or fourth toe(s) do not reach the ground. I find if you think about it that way, it would actually prevent sickling rather than cause/exacerbate it, unlike actually forcing those joints to the floor.

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  • 2 weeks later...

No professional advice to give here, but just a testimony: I have tapered toes as well and all five of my toes touch the ground in demi pointe...only my pinky toe doesn't touch en full pointe.

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That's the thing: feet are very different so there isn't a rule to be found here, with the exception being as gav pointed out, to have energy in all 5 of your toes!!!!! But please focus more on the shape and articulation of your ankle.

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