Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rolling Through the Foot

I've been told it a thousand times by my teachers, but have you ever stopped and actually thought about how important it is to roll through your foot?

What do I mean by rolling through the foot? Rolling through the foot can be done either from toe to heel or heel to toe, but most commonly in ballet it is the former. When you roll through your foot you should do exactly that: from your toes, to the ball of your foot, and then finally your heel.

This is extremely important in ballet. Think of how you not only bring your tendu out, but in as well. Are you gripping the floor? Then you are not rolling through your foot. When you make the transition from ballet slippers to pointe shoes, you need to be able to roll through your foot both on your way up and on your way down. If you do not roll through your foot in pointe shoes on the way down, then you will land flat footed and make that dreaded pointe shoe on floor noise (We all know that sound, right?)

Try this: stand in first position and take a tendu a la second. Your heel should be the first thing that leaves the floor, then the ball of your foot, then your toes point. You should feel the resistance against the floor. Now bring your foot back in to first position. It should be ball of foot then heel. When you put the ball of your foot down, you should be thinking of Barbie shoes (You know how Barbie is perptually walking on her toes, almost like she is on pointe forever?). Think of bringing your heels together as well as your thighs. Now try a saute in first position. When you land back on the floor, are you going toe, ball, heel? You should be.

Dancers who do not roll through their feet are prone to many foot problems, including bunions, hammertoes (from gripping instead of relaxing your toes), cramping, as well as injuries from landing incorrectly from jumps. Rolling through the foot from jumps prevents injuries like sprains and breaks.


Jenn from CT
PS: Picture is not of me. This is an example of doing a tendu in first, albeit not a very good one to demonstrate. Notice that the dancer has swayback knees, has her weight back on her supporting leg, and needs to turn out the working leg so we can see the innersole of her foot. Her arm a la second is behind her as well, which will prove a problem when she goes to turn.

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