Pointe shoe beginners need more than one pointe shoe exercise - naturally. But here is one to get you started, if your goal is to dance in pointe shoes.
The following describes a pointe shoes exercise, for the pointe shoe beginners and the hopeful. It focuses on training the feet to point, extending the ankle joint as far as possible, to force up the instep into its maximum arch.
Don't Curl Your Toes!
However, the toes, next for the completion of the movement, can point, and stay long and strong, or curl over. This is what you want to avoid. The toes can follow the curve of the arch, but not curl in their own joints.
This should be the way you have always pointed your toes in soft leather ballet shoes.
Many dance students try to feel more arch by curling their toes over, but this does not help ankle flexibility. It puts the toes into a position, that inside pointe shoes, will create blisters. The top of the joints press into the stiff box of the toe shoe.
If you are not sure how precisely you have been pointing your toes in soft shoes, just practice the following exercise:
- Sit on the floor, legs straight in front of you
- Point the foot, extending the arch/instep as far as it will go. But keep the toes flexed.
- Next, begin to point the toes. When they are in a long position, following the curve of the foot, but not curling over in your toe joints, STOP.
- Hold and memorize this position. You may have been doing this all along, from your very first ballet class. If not, you can correct and re-train this important ballet position right now.
- Then flex the toes back up, and then flex the whole foot. Push through the heels and get a nice calf stretch.
- Repeat twenty times.
If your feet or ankles cramp, stop and rotate the ankles in circles to loosen the muscles back up. If the sole of the foot cramps, massage it until the tension releases, and then start the exercise again.
You can avoid dance injuries, blisters, and pain, if you know how to use your feet properly in ballet toe shoes.
If you are an adult ballet beginner, this works for you too. Visit us to get the best in a group of routines that give you much more than a pointe shoe exercise.
I like this video because the teacher stresses long toes, not curled, and also shows the best position of the leg for getting the most turnout activated.