Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dance Pointe Shoes And Top Of Foot Pain

 Top Of Foot Pain

Training in dance pointe shoes, especially if you have started a bit before you are truly ready to get into pointe shoes, may show some weaknesses in your foot structure that you were unaware of before.


First however, if you experience top of foot pain, please see a health practitioner and make sure you do not have a stress fracture.

Top of foot pain can occur if your arch is flattening out. This puts pressure on the top of the foot, where the bones are now compressing together, called dorsal compression syndrome.

  • Growth spurts
  • Weight gain
  • Hormonal changes 
These occurrences that affect ligaments may change the strength of your arch.

Wearing flip-flops, unstructured shoes, and soft slippers at home, or walking around with bare feet, can aggravate this problem.

Unfortunately the familiar human growth and aging stages are completely thrown off due to the deterioration of food quality and food additives and contaminants.

If you are working toward, or are dancing in pointe shoes, you need extra everything--proteins, vitamins, minerals and good pure water.

If you have ruled out a stress fracture for your top of foot pain, and if you are doing special pointe shoes exercises, and you still have foot pain, take a look at the footwear you have for home, daily use and other working out.

If you wear sneakers to school, make sure you have shoes with a good arch support and a well built heel that will not allow you to pronate, or roll inwards, flattening your arch.

At home, don't wear bare feet all the time. Get some slippers with an arch support, or flip-flops with an arch support.

Over the counter orthotics with some arch support are better than none, if custom-made orthotics are not an option for you.

A multi-vitamin, from food sources, including the B Complex and B6, can be added to your daily diet, unless you are allergic to some of these substances.

Soaking your feet with magnesium chloride or Epsom Salts absorbs magnesium into your body. This feeds and relaxes your muscles.

Icing painful feet decreases inflammation and pain.

There is much a dancer can do to diminish top of foot pain and get stronger for dance pointe shoes. Get your own copy of The Perfect Pointe Book and work those exercises until your feet are as strong as they need to be!

The Perfect Pointe Book

Friday, October 14, 2011

Breast Cancer Survivors Special Stretching Exercises

Breast cancer rehabilitation post surgery DVD
Miranda and I graduated together at The National Ballet School of Canada. I applaud her work in this area.

Her DVD for breast cancer rehabilitation post surgery is excellent. Miranda is a breast cancer survivor and look how flexible she i!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Alexander Grant Dies at 86 - Anna Kisselgoff article

FromThe New York Times:

"Alexander Grant, Dancer With Royal Ballet, Dies at 86
Published: October 3, 2011

Alexander Grant, whose portrayal of childlike suitors, muddled husbands, English eccentrics, pirate chiefs and Shakespearean rustics made him one of British ballet’s most beloved stars, died on Friday in London. He was 86.

His death was confirmed by Jean-Pierre Gasquet, his longtime companion. Mr. Grant had been ill for eight months after a hip operation left him hospitalized with infections and pneumonia.

Mr. Grant was especially acclaimed for his magnetic personality and vigorous demi-caractère style, particularly in Frederick Ashton’s works for the Royal Ballet.

Seeing Mr. Grant as the complete dancer, Clive Barnes, dance critic of The New York Times, reviewed him in Ashton’s Neapolitan Dance for “Swan Lake” in 1969 and proclaimed him “one of the few great, as opposed to merely magnificent, dancers of our time.”

Mr. Grant also played an influential role in international ballet. He served as artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada from 1976 to 1983 and staged Ashton’s “Fille Mal Gardée” in many companies, including American Ballet Theater.

Mr. Grant himself is perhaps best remembered for the role he originated in “Fille” as Alain, the rich farmer’s son rejected by Lise, a rich widow’s daughter who marries her poor sweetheart.

More in love with his red umbrella than with Lise, Alain could be mistaken for a simpleton. But Mr. Grant made him a gentle childlike figure who had not experienced the world. The trick was to dance so well that Alain looked slightly clumsy but not too much so.

In another memorable role seen with the Royal in New York, he was Bottom in “The Dream,” Ashton’s version of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Transformed into a donkey, Mr. Grant danced a virtuosic solo in toe shoes disguised as hooves.

Although many called Mr. Grant a character dancer, he was more of a classical dancer who used ballet technique in a demi-caractère style, which is less concerned with academic niceties.

In his early years, he showed off a swashbuckling bravura: his pirate chief in Ashton’s “Daphnis and Chloë” exploded into a frenzy of leaps after abducting Margot Fonteyn’s Chloë, wrapping her around his neck and throwing her to the floor.

Alexander Grant was born on Feb. 22, 1925, in Wellington, New Zealand, where his parents were in the hotel business.

Having studied dance since the age of 7, he was offered a ballet scholarship in London. He arrived there in February 1946 and was invited two months later into the Sadler’s Wells Theater Ballet, the recently formed junior troupe of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet (which became the Royal Ballet in 1956). Short on male dancers in the postwar period, Ninette de Valois, founder of both troupes, invited him into the senior company in September of 1946.

Ashton, now considered Britain’s greatest choreographer but not yet internationally known, created a small role for Mr. Grant in 1946 in one of his lesser ballets, “Les Sirènes.”

It was Leonide Massine, then ballet’s most prominent choreographer, who brought the young dancer to public notice.

Invited as a guest choreographer by de Valois, Massine cast Mr. Grant in his revivals and two new works. Massine’s farce-like “Mam’zelle Angot” gave Mr. Grant a major success in the choreographer’s idiosyncratic comic style.

“I was given this role by Massine which typed me as that kind of dancer for the rest of my life, Mr. Grant said in later years. “I don’t regret it.” Nor did he regret never portraying a prince or count in 19th-century classics like “Swan Lake” or “Giselle.”

It was Mr. Grant’s ability to portray a character through dancing rather than mime that made him outstanding. Ashton recognized this quality and cast him as the Jester in his new “Cinderella” (1948).

During his 30 years as a dancer in the Royal Ballet (1946 to 1976) Mr. Grant appeared in 30 Ashton ballets, creating roles in 22 premieres. Occasionally he was thrust into Ashton neo-classical works like “Symphonic Variations” and he appeared in Michel Fokine’s “Petrouchka” and ballets by de Valois.

In the 1971 film “Tales of Beatrix Potter,” Mr. Grant danced on toe again as Pigling Bland and was also featured as Peter Rabbit.

In addition to Mr. Gasquet, his partner of 54 years, Mr. Grant is survived by his brother, Garry Grant, also a former dancer in the Royal Ballet.

Mr. Grant was seen as an inspiration to Ashton and even as a collaborator. The range he displayed in Ashton ballets alone was testimony to their joint creativity.

In “Enigma Variations,” a meditative Ashton masterpiece about the composer Edward Elgar and his friends, Mr. Grant’s terse expressiveness summed up an entire personality in a brief comic solo. For his final Ashton role, he offered a moving image of a lovelorn Russian husband in “A Month in the Country” (1976)."