Feet are game changers, people! Teach your dancers how to use them correctly, and they can be one of their most powerful tools! Fail to do so, and they'll become, well, a liability to them.
Here are three things every dancer should do each day to achieve blue ribbon–worthy feet!
1. Stretch Regularly
Of course we all know this, but reminding your dancers to keep their feet warm and stretched every day will make a big difference in their overall aesthetic. Start each class with a foot stretch/warm-up exercise so they learn to make it a habit.
2. Be Intentional About What the Feet Are Doing at All Times
Whether it's in a tendu, a rond de jambe, relevé, frappé or simply just sitting in a straddle, dancers need to be concentrating on their feet. Their minds will be tempted to drift to focus on their rotation, the details of the combination or what they'll have for dinner that night, but if you stay on them, they can get back to the right place. Ballet is a full-bodied experience, and the feet are just as crucial as everything else. Over time this concerted effort will lead to stronger feet that never flop!
Give those arches and ankles a workout–aka incorporate a TheraBand. Rome wasn't built in a day, you guys! Encourage your dancers to make the sacrifices to invest in their feet. Have them take the time while they're watching TV or doing homework to flex and point their toes with resistance. Beautiful feet are just around the corner!
Of course, to a certain extent, feet are beholden to the skeletal structure of your dancers, but improvements can always be made with some effort and dedication. We got this!