So we went back to class this week after a week off. I nailed it in pointe shoes. Not only did I do the exercises steadily and wonderfully that even my Teacher just gaped at me and I just grinned back, but I looked and FELT like a ballerina prancing around on the tips of my toes- so literally! High on top of the world! After weeks of my teacher training me in advance to the other girls in holding my body in the right position to be on pointe I could do it automatically without feeling like toppling over, my feet slipping from under me, or caring what my feet even looked like. It makes you hold yourself in attention and you HAVE to look at yourself. Utterly fabulous, exactly how you want to feel en pointe isn’t it?! We did burrés across the diagonal, so a longer distance than across the floor from wall to wall. A lot of horse clopping and tiny tiny burrés. Then we did a move which was like a balloné? Or something along those lines errr… well you’re in 5th position, you move your back foot out in a degage and then finish with that foot in the front so you’re moving or shuffling your feet from the back to the front. It’s a very static movement and you’ll see it in ballets all over. You just swish leg out and straight back in. Swish swish swish swish. There was some round movements going on and some girls barely getting it out away from the floor, so just the tiniest of degages haha. I loved it and it was so fun! Swish swish swish swish!
I admit I’ve been calling attention to myself. Not like speaking out of turn, but in a very ” I’m ready Teach! Tell me how I can improve more!!” but in a very subtle and silent way. I bought a $3 elastic belt in bright red that goes around my natural waist. I only wear it during pre-pointe, and the $3 investment has been significant! It’s called an alignment belt, and they aren’t used as often as they used to be or sometimes the waists of skirts will act as a guide. The belt really isn’t for your visual aid, but it can, more like it’s for your teacher to see your alignment when you’re working. You’re teacher will see your offset amongst the sea of black leotards and can further help correct you! You’ll get more attention and your teacher will also appreciate your further dedication and wanting to be corrected. So a tip for you students out there young or old. If you want more help buy an alignment belt and see how it works for you. I purchased a Bunheads one from my local dance store for $2.99. I can’t find it on their website currently but I’m sure your dance store will have them stashed somewhere.
Three of my favorite things to strengthen my foot, toes, and ankles:
Degagés – to “disengage” from the floor. A quick movement propelled out from the position by the leg, then the whole foot is vaulted from the floor by pushing the toes against the floor to vault the foot up keeping the foot pointed from that motion. Work through the entire foot and if you do it properly the last to leave the floor will be the very tips of your toes. Land the foot starting with the toes in a controlled fall, and work through the foot again to bring the heel back into the position.
Tendus – point your toes with all your grace and might and do it frequently! Remember turn out!
Sautés – work through the entire foot to lift from the floor and to land back softly as if you never made that gazelle leap.
I really believe your foot and toes will thank you if you’re currently doing pointe or are working towards it 🙂 Share with me any results with your alignment belt or any of the exercises, I’d love to hear!