Five tips to get “over” your pointe shoes
I have five tips to get over your pointe shoes. When a dancer cannot get over the “box” of their pointe shoe, it can be one of the biggest frustrations. There are many reasons for this but first, I will rule out the obvious one.
The dancer is not ready to dance en pointe!
Speaking from the viewpoint of an experienced ballet teacher, sometimes there are basic structural problems in the leg, ankle or foot. The other issue is the usual– lack of strength or stretch. However, true structural limitations are not the usual cause. Let’s rule that one out and work on the ones that can help you on your own!
Basic lack of stretch across the ankle
This is the most obvious concern. The front of the ankle needs to be in straight line as shown in the photo above. Below is a video of the exercises in this post to strengthen your toes and to maintain the correct alignment. The slowest way to improve this is to stretch your feet and the area with the arrows pointing to it. However, for this tip, I will teach you how to approach from strength building instead of stretching. You can improve strength faster than stretching!
Echappés and tendus
What do they have in common? It may not be obvious at first but to me, an echappé is two tendus happening simultaneously. Often a dancer will have one foot that moves out less than another. I give my students this exercise to create the push needed for the beautiful line and push from the tendu foot/ankle:
- Tie an 18-20″ loop of theraband around the lower leg of a sturdy barre.
- Stand next to the barre leg and face the mirror. Step into the loop and stand in first position.
- Proceed to tendu à la seconde with the band looped around the instep and ankle (area with the arrows) of your outside foot. You should feel a lot of resistance. Tendu and close 8 times. Turn and repeat on the other side.
- Once you have mastered a tendu with smooth resistance, you can do the same exercise as an échappé in seconde. Basically what you are doing is taking the ground force from the plié and using it to slide out and up onto pointe.
- STAY TUNED FOR VIDEO!
It works beautifully to retrain the movement pattern and build strength at the same time!
Next post will be Tip #2~