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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pointing foot / toes. Adult beginner help!

Lisa M

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Okay. Trying to make this short as I possibly can lol. I’m new to ballet. 28 in adult beginners class. Background... I was never a dancer. I was a gymnast / competitive cheerleader my entire life. Then I had kids and I haven’t stretched in years. ( although it’s gotten better super fast ) I take 1 adult beginner class per week. I don’t have the typical old school ballet body. I have opposite. I have a gymnast body. Shorter legs, longer torso. 5’3 1/2 maybe 5’4 now that I corrected my posture a bit lol. Anyways... I’m having trouble “pointing” my feet in class. I constantly get corrections from the teacher and the other students in class. I don’t think I can possibly point my foot / toes any further then what I do now. I do have full sole slippers ( im going to the dance store to get split soles ) and I hear split soles can help with that. Also , like to add I don’t have “banana feet”. They arch. They have a decent arch actually. But they are no way banana. They aren’t overly arched. But they are not flat either. I don’t want to give up because 1. I am not a quitter. 2. I love classical music and always wanted to learn this beautiful art form.  Also, any tips of turnout would be great. The teacher will tell me to do my natural turnout from the hips ( which I do ) but a lot of the times she will tell me to turn my feet out more.. and when this happens, I feel like I’m losing my natural turnout ( if that makes any sense .. ) My feet can only turn and point so much. I get cramps nonstop. And i get it’s supposed to hurt and feel weird and all but am I missing something? Lol. Can a better ballet slipper help as far as pointing? Also*** I know my turnout needs major work. I’m still learning how to squeeze all the right muscles and this and that. It’s a lot of information coming at me all at once. Any tips would be very appreciated. And one last thing I would like to add is.. I know I’m never going to be a prima ballerina lol. I just feel like I HAVE to dance. If that makes any sense.. If I could have been in dance years ago, I would have. Back where I grew up we didn’t have a dance class nearby... Not any I was aware of anyways....But I just wanted to point that out that I’m well aware that I’m never going to be a pro. I just do it because I have to and I love it ( even if I look ridiculous doing it right now 😆 ) 

Edited by Lisa M
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Hi Lisa, welcome.  I am a fellow adult dancer, though much older.  I did gymnastics in high school.  I have a few notes, in no particular order:

You do not need "banana feet."  They have their advantages for kids who are pre-pro but even then they aren't required.

Don't push your turnout more than is comfortable.  You can injure your hips and knees.  It's okay to feel the turnout and push it a little but be really careful.  As someone with chronic injuries, I can tell you that it's just not worth it.

The best turnout tip I've heard is to consider turnout to be a VERB not a noun.  This means that, as you dance, you are constantly extending through the leg such that it's turned out.  You don't just set it and forget it.

I get foot cramps too and it stinks.  I have calf issues which are related.  I've been told that cramps come from over pointing the toes relative to the entire foot, but that doesn't help me.  Maybe it will help you.

A lacrosse ball after class is nice.  Use on a bare or nearly bare foot.  Try to hold the foot on the ball (stand on it with partial weight) more than roll.

Enjoy your classes!

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  • 3 months later...

Practice stretching your feet at home, and start the point from the ankle. 


 One small tip: personally, I am a natural” toe /foot clencher”, which makes everything worse due to excess tension. Don’t be like me. 😄 it is possible to try ‘too hard’. And bad habits are hard to break! 


keep at it. While some of it is just the bone structure and feet that we were innately born with— those dancers you see who do have beautiful feet have spent YEARS molding them into that shape through training,practice,and hard work. 

Edited by Stumbellina
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I've noticed in my adult class that a lot of beginner students concentrate very hard on the pointing the toes  (probably because that's what we call it generally) but don't really understand point all the way through the rest of the foot, so they get that dreaded "biscuit" look---the ankle is ever so slightly flexed. 

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  • 2 weeks later...


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