Feet of Steel

Almost through Stage 1 of the Perfect Pointe book. Today is the day I’m supposed to retest and see how much progress I’ve made. The theme of the first stage is flexibility and I’m not expecting much change, to be honest. This is the difference between a, uh, mature ballerina and your average 10-year-old. Though, to be fair to myself, when I tested initially my abilities seemed to already be where they were supposed to be. I don’t struggle with getting into a deep plié, I am able to get into a high demi-pointe, and my regular pointe range is fine. My insteps and arches will never be accused of being pretty, but they’re adequate and do what they need to do.

But I went through all of the exercises diligently for the past two weeks anyway and — maybe I’m imagining it — but I do feel like it’s making some sort of a difference in my dancing ability. Yesterday I got complimented on a balance at the barre in attitude derrière. On both sides. This was in technique class, so I was in soft shoes, not en pointe, but still. Balances in general were feeling like less of a shot in the dark and more of me feeling well-placed and confident that I could remove my hand from the barre and not topple over. I can’t help but wonder if all those foot-strengthening exercises are contributing to that.

Maybe… if your feet are stronger then the rest of your body doesn’t have to fight to stay upright? Kind of makes sense. If you have your feet and ankles well-placed then the rest of the body can just rest on top rather than having to “help.” Efficiency. Something like that.

Physics and the Art of Dance just arrived from Amazon yesterday. Maybe Dr. Laws will have some insights into my theory. I really find the whole application of science to the world of dance fascinating, in case you haven’t picked up on that yet! I’m such a nerd.

Back to the pointe exercises…. I’m looking forward to moving on to the next stage; change up the exercises if nothing else. It’s gotten awfully repetitive and boring. And repetitive. And boring. And it’s been taking up a huge chunk of time every evening. BUT… I can definitely feel the burn when I’m working, so it’s got to be doing something. I’m looking forward to my next pointe class to see how I feel up there!

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7 thoughts on “Feet of Steel

  1. Jeff says:

    Neat, that physics dance book is on my Amazon shopping list. Right now I’m reading Apollo’s Angels, which is kind of a long slog but really interesting on ballet history. (LOL, sorry, I don’t remember if I’ve commented on your blog yet, but hi [again?], I’m Jeff… starting beginner ballet after a long hiatus from dance!)

  2. roriroars says:

    Hi Jeff! Thanks for the comment and for stopping by. I haven’t yet attempted Apollo’s Angels… one of those on my mental list to tackle one day. I look forward to checking out your blog!

  3. Am obsessed with the same thing. Now working with lots of Kinetic Principle for Ballroom and Latin dance. The new book I am working with is called Conditioning for Dance. Training for Peak Performance in all Forms. By Eric Franklin. Loving it. (From one nerd to another )

  4. roriroars says:

    @bonnie, I have the Conditioning for Dance book, too, but haven’t explored it too much yet. Heard a lot of great things about it, though, so looking forward to getting into it!

  5. As I am to the other. Nerds unite! Will stay in touch 🙂

  6. Noora says:

    Hi Rori!
    I’ve read/browsed through Laws’s book and it’s pretty interesting. I actually had a chance to talk to one of the grad students at my university, who has done research with Dr. Laws. Dance technique is all about physics, but I think it’s easier to “do” the physics when you’re an outsider. When you’re dancing yourself, you sort of lose the perspective necessary for physics, because you have to rely on feeling correct placement, and the “feeling” part is more to do with neuroscience in my opinion.

    • Interesting thoughts. Feeling IS so important. I am still trying to merge and teach the two. Feeling and technique. Everyday I have a different viewpoint on the subject. I think we will all keep trying…LOL…:) Good to share thoughts!

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