(what I'm learning from) ONE MONTH on POINTE + more theraband stretches to get there

by - February 17, 2018

Every dancer -- and maybe a person who's knows a dancer -- kinda wonders about how pointe shoes feel. So did I...until a couple of months ago. Now I'm getting to experience them for myself. So this is my completely honest experience hence far.

Top things I'm learning about doing pointe work (a month + in)...

  1. It hurts. Just in case you're wondering, going onto pointe hurts. I've cramped, bruised, and skinned my feet in just over a month -- and that's while wearing toe pads.
  2. Pointe shoes are like a dancer-shoe friendship. Literally, every time I put my shoes on, I learn something new about me and about them. My feet are stronger, and I'm shaping my shoes to their mold.
  3. It takes all the body, not just your toes & feet. Your abs have to be engaged, your hips, calves, thighs, balance -- everything keeps you up. For me, looking down always throws off my balance. So one trick I like to do (while looking straight) is think of my shoulders and hips as a rectangle, that way moving any part of my body within that sphere doesn't throw me off.
  4. Get band aids. And medical tape. Just do it. 
  5. Listen to your teacher, but practice at home. Echappes, plies, all that good repetitious stuff that seems like nothing but means everything. I need to get to know my shoes, and going once a week isn't gonna cut it. Still, be careful, don't try anything you haven't learned
  6. It's just as important to strengthen your feet as it is to work in your pointe shoes. I like to do theraband stretches, roll out my feet (with a little ball) practice high releves, and pick up different things with my toes.
  7. Pointe shoes are crazy expensive. not trying to be tacky here, but the price of a pointe shoe + a shoe fitting will blow you away. literally my ribbons alone were $15.00.
  8. Everything is different. Since I have yet to have those beautifully claw-like strong feet that can easily bend a pointe shoe like a slipper, every soutenu and every releve and every jump is so completely different from doing it in canvas shoes. At times it's hard not to feel like I'm bending brick .

(I like to do these with my xx stiff golden theraband -- ball of the foot, to point. Then I stay there and do about 10 to 15 to sometimes 20 reps up and down, ball to point) This exercise is a great way to strength your toes, feet + ankles. 

So this ^ is kind of my day-to-day feet warm-up (--with a band. Generally I do some plies and feet circles before hand). I have fallen into rolling out my feet everyday...because it has this weird great/painful feeling on my arches that for some reason helps. Then generally I do some pulses, and every now and then I'll pull on my arches like so. The last one is just something from my dance teacher that  gives a bit of a stretch.

If I've learned anything it's a. not to practice on tile, and b. work hard at getting a better instep.

Ballet is a beautiful art, but it doesn't just take an artist, it takes an athlete.

Sounds like a quote from Pinterest, right? But it's too true.

let's talk!
What are 6 things you've already learned this year, from your sport/art?

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  1. Congratulations on getting your pointe shoes! :) I'm also a ballet dancer, though I unfortunately haven't ever taken the pointe prep classes at my studio (they never worked with my schedule). This post was really interesting to read, since being on pointe is definitely something I am interested in!

    (Also, this is unrelatable, but reading this post was the first time I have ever seen echappes written out instead of spoken by a teacher, and I was so shocked. I always pictured it to be spelled 'achapays', I guess. Haha!)

    1. Thank you so much!
      You can pre-prep yourself for it with therabands, etc, which is basically what we do every class for stretching/strengthening (and a couple releves with a tennis ball between our ankles!)

      LOL! I do that all the time in my head. When I saw it was spelled that way, I pronounced it a-shop-a, haha.


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