Five Ways to Improve Your Point

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“Point your toes!”… All dancers have heard this at some point in their career. This seemingly easy task is a thorn in the side of many dancers. It can completely change the look of a routine, compromise the uniformity of a team and discount the best technique and flexibility. Here are five ways for dancers to increase their point.

1. Warm Up Your Feet – Don’t neglect your feet. Just like you stretch and warm up the rest of your body, do the same for your feet. Imagine trying to do a split or a jete’ without warming up or stretching. You could probably still manage it, but would it be the best representation of your talent and technique? Give yourself an extra two minutes to do some ankle circles (back and front), flex and stretch your toes, alternate feet pushing into a forced arch and gently push over the tops of your feet.

2. Ar-tic-u-late – There are little parts that make up the whole of a pointed foot. Sitting in a pike position, with flexed feet, begin stretching the feet to a point, one part at a time. Focus on each section individually and go slowly. Start by lengthening only the ankles first, then gradually move through the top of the foot and the arch (still keeping the toes flexed), finally lengthen the toes, starting at the joint and extending to the very tips to the best point you can. Return the feet back to the flexed position by reversing the process, still articulating each section.

3. Lengthen – Many dancers put phenomenal effort into pointing their toes the wrong way. Avoid curling or crunching your toes and ankles when trying to achieve a pointed foot. Imagine the ankle, foot and toes as an extension of the leg. Crunching the ankle and curling the toes can shorten the leg line and even appear stubby and heavy. Point the toes by stretching and lengthening the ankles, the tops of the feet and finally stretching and rounding the toes to a pointed position.

4. Strengthen – Exercise your ankles, arches and toes just as much as you would your core, arms or quads. Resistance training with a Theraband can be a great way to combine articulating and strengthening your feet. Work through the articulation exercises with a Theraband looped underneath the balls of the feet and toes. Try adding saute’s in first and second position to your warm up. Starting in a nice, grounded demi plie’, articulate both feet, starting with the heel, then ball and toes as you push the feet into a pointed position in air. Articulate the feet again starting with the toes, ball and then heel as you return to the floor in a plie’ position.

 

5. Create Good Habits – Most dancers are aware of the wonderful magic that is muscle memory. Create good habits and muscle memory for your feet. Try bounding across the floor (always articulating the feet), pushing up through small alternating jete’s and focus on pointing the toes the second they leave the floor. Imagine that the floor is a negative magnet and your toes have positive magnets in them. The toes are the last thing to leave the floor in a jump. Once in the air, the toes are still attracted and pointed toward the floor, and always the first thing to return to the floor in a landing. This can translate into other parts of your dance routines. Travel and transition, leading with pointed toes, through each dance routine. Note what it feels like to dance with pointed toes and start creating that muscle memory.

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