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Ballet Talk for Dancers

What kind of feet do I have?


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I had a feeling they were more on the snake oil side of things but you see a lot of pros with them. 

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I have never seen any pros with them. Maybe in advertisements, because they would get paid for that?

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I personally do not agree with foot stretchers - especially for adults. Our bones have pretty much ossified, and using a foot stretcher could create major problems for our ankles. You will get quite a workout on the ankles if you decide you eventually will do pointe work. 

FYI, if you look at the examination videos of the Vaganova Year 1 students, you will see that despite their being chosen for their beautiful feet, most are not fully over the box after their first year on pointe. So, I wouldn’t worry if I were you. ESPECIALLY not at this stage. 

Continue to take class and enjoy yourself. The physical improvement will come when it is ready. 

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I've seen many pictures of the Vaganova students using the foot stretchers or similar makeshift devices, (Ksenia Zhiganshina and Kiriil Sokolovski spring to memory). Kathryn Morgan advocated for them (though that seemed to be a business partnership) and Claudia Dean has said mixed things. 
Context (old 27yo bones) is very important and I have no patience for injuries and other things in which to spend $40-100.  
I'm glad to hear that pointe work itself leads to better feet. 

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Definitely take the time to improve your understanding of rotation vs. Turn-out, and to stretch and strengthen your entire body! From pictures, all I can tell is that structurally, it appears as though you could be within the range of movement that could adapt to pointework. However, how you move and dance and where you are with regards to coordination, control, alignment, etc., are things your teacher/s would be in a better position to judge.


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Thank you for your thoughts!
I'm lucky to have teachers that are very strict about alignment. Turnout is a huge struggle for me; I have hips that have a lot of mobility in the opposite direction. The next leg of the Lisa Howell program is focused on turnout so hopefully that will help. I was hoping pregnancy would loosen my hips up but, so far, I think they've gotten a bit worse (though, I noticed in my progress photos, my knees have gotten better (my most recent pictures were removed). I'm definitely not getting pointe shoes without the approval of my studio; that would take all of the fun out of the goal. 

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Coriander, thanks for your update on progress with foot exercises. I love it when dancers report back - it's so inspiring.

It's good to commit to a long-term, slow boil kind of programme, isn't it? It sounds as though you've made a lot of progress & also learnt how to keep on improving. It could also be that your body is slowly preparing for labour, and I think there's a hormone that eases and softens & lengthens soft tissue around the pelvis?  (Is that prolactin?) It could be that it's also helping you work your feet & ankles!

Good luck with your future efforts: both feet and baby  :flowers:

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Great idea to work on your feet while in the 3rd tri! Definitely I would advise to be aware of the flexibility-boost that pregnancy brings and to stay cautious while doing any kind of stretching.

I have similar feet to yours: low instep but adequate arch.  When I was dancing seriously as a teen I had to do a lot of extra work to keep my feet looking good (they never looked *great*), and I was able to do regularly pointework without structural issues. 


One thing I notice in your original photos and your second set of tendu photos is that your achilles tendon is fully engaged when you point. This causes undue stress on the achilles over time, and you want to learn how to point your feet while keeping the achilles tendon soft. (And to be superficial, IMO a hard tendon minimizes the look of a pointed foot).   It's a little tricky but you can teach yourself (or at least, I did).    First I started by pointing my feet while sitting down with bent knees and relaxed legs, then tried to slowly straighten my leg while keeping the foot pointed and the achilles soft.  With enough practice it became second nature.  

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I checked my recent progress pictures from Stage Two of the Lisa Howell program and it looks like I'm no longer flexing my achilles tendon (or at least I wasn't in the photo). That's definitely something to keep in mind, thanks!

Also, this semester, our class is starting pre-pointe exercises and combinations! I'm so excited. 

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