Students need strong feet for pointe work, but few concentrate on their toes specifically. "Fatigue sets in and they start knuckling," says Atlanta Ballet podiatrist Dr. Frank Sinkoe. This puts excess pressure on the nails, causing bruising. The exercises below strengthen the arch and intrinsic muscles, which flex the toes and support the feet.
Snow and cold make January a rough time for teachers who need their feet to be limber and warm, especially after a few weeks off. Karin Ellis-Wentz, head of pre-professional programs at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago, always feels the difference after vacation. "One winter break, I did TheraBand exercises," she says. "It helped to keep my feet, ankles and calves in shape, so I wasn't cramping terribly when I came back to teaching again."
Whether you've cross-trained over the break or not, returning to class means long days of teaching, demonstrating and standing that can be especially rough on your feet and lower legs. To remind you to treat your feet well, we asked the experts for their most current thinking on how to best prepare and protect your most-used body part.
Love 'em or hate 'em, whether they cover one wall or four, mirrors abound in dance studios. But are they a useful learning tool?
Sally Radell, a professor of dance and movement studies at Emory University, says, "That's a good question. Because the more research I do, I haven't found that yet." And she's done a lot of research.
For as long as there have been dancers, there have been diets. But dancers should be spending their time dancing, not manipulating their diet and restricting calories. "If they greatly reduce their caloric intake and reduce grains and bread, their energy is going to drop, and they're going to go into a brain fog," says The Ailey School's nutritionist Marie Scioscia, referring to a feeling of disorientation caused by undernourishment.
Nevertheless, your students are bound to encounter—and consider trying—popular diets. The constant stream of conflicting information about ever-changing diet trends can be especially misleading for young dancers who are eager to get ahead in a field that demands athletics and rewards aesthetics. To help you sort through some of the noise, DT looked at three trendy diets of 2017—some with more science than others—and checked in with registered dietitians about how they stack up for dancers.