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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Weight placement on the foot


CreativeDancer

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Hello all,

 

I have a what I think is a slightly embarrassing but very important technique question.

 

I had a teacher growing up who often told us, "press in your heels." However, I have heard from many, many, sources, including this one, that one is supposed to put one's weight in the ball toe area of the foot.

 

I would like to know what it should really feel like to place one's weight over the foot correctly. (So I can correct it!)

 

Also, I am curious if anyone has any idea why my teacher might have said that.

 

Thank you.

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Vaganova requires the weight on the whole foot. The usage of the heel into the floor is very important

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Hello Ms. Schneider,

 

Are you saying that in the Vaganova method they say to put your weight evenly on the entire foot while in other methods they say to put more weight towards the front?

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I know the Balanchine Style teaches the ball of the foot. I cannot say for other methods because I do not have a background in other methods.

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Guest Pas de Quoi

In my teacher training and dancer wellness courses, the "tripod" analogy is always taught, ie. the weight is placed equally over the large toe, small toe and heel. As vrsfanatic states above, this is a very, very important part of dance training. All movement begins with correct placement and use of the foot against the floor.

 

This is what I teach and what I do myself, as I was taught this as well, in my own initial ballet training.

 

My experience is similar to that of vrsfanatic - I have only encountered the "weight on the ball of the foot" in some Balanchine style classes.

 

Regarding your teacher's request that dancers "press in your heels", I often use the phrase, "push against the floor" when students are doing many, many things, like performing a tendu, a chassé, a glissade, performing a controlled rise, a jump, for example. I ask my dancers to do this because it engages the correct muscles and helps young students visualize what it is they are trying to achieve.

 

Great topic by the way!!!! :)

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Some of the reasons why some of the methods might teach us to put the weight evenly distributed through the foot is that one, stages can be raked in a downward slope, so only having the weight on the ball of the foot was not always most practical, and two, there is a shortening of the calf and achilles tendon if the weight is not also distributed over the heel too. It could possibly lead to injury in less strong dancers, I believe.

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An explanation I came across recently on a ballet site said to imagine that roots grow down from the three points of the foot into the ground. On following up with a some research on line I found that this thought comes from the concept of Chakra in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. The foot Chakra is where the body's energy flows through the foot and returns to the Earth. This is not my usual area of thinking, but I found it quite fascinating!

 

Edited to remove unwanted link.

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I have found, when teaching many (older) beginners and many recreational students that it is very hard for them to feel weight placement at all, and so one must spend time with exercises which put emphasis on the weight being placed more forward or more on the heels until there is the consciousness or awareness of where the weight really is. (sometimes we think it is forward, but it is not, for example) It is somewhat harder to quickly change direction if the weight is largely on the heels.

That said, I also try to teach the "tripod" foot, with weight distributed two-thirds "forward" and one third on the heel. Some people need more assistance and perhaps have to find out what works more for their bodies.... those with hyperextended knees often have to be extra careful not to put too much weight on the heels... ;) :)

At least, that is what I have found.

-d-

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I agree, diane. I also use the "tripod" placement.

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I appreciate everyone's answers.

 

(Of course, I meant to say Mr. Schneider not Ms. )

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Actually, it is Ms. or Mrs. Schneider, not Mr. :wink: (You did originally did say Mr., and I edited it.)

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I guess I didn't read the sidebars very carefully. ?

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