Teaching Tips

3 Things Every Dancer Should Do to Get Dreamy Feet

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!


3. TheraBand

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!

Leap! Executive Director Drew Vamosi (Courtesy Leap!)

Since its inaugural season in 2012, Leap! National Dance Competition has been all about the little things.

"I wanted to have a 'boutique' competition. One where we went out to only one city every weekend, so I could be there myself, and we could really get to know the teachers and watch their kids progress from year to year," says Leap! executive director Drew Vamosi. According to Vamosi, thoughtful details make all the difference, especially during a global pandemic that's thrown many dancers' typical comp-season schedules for a loop. That's why Leap! prides itself on features like its professional-quality set design, as well as its one-of-a-kind leaping competition, where dancers can show off their best tricks for special cash and merchandise prizes.

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Thankfully, we're (mostly) past the days when authority figures felt free to openly mock a dancer's appearance. But body shaming remains a toxic presence in the studio, says Dr. Nadine Kaslow, psychologist for Atlanta Ballet: "It's just more hidden and more subtle." Here's how to make sure your teaching isn't part of the problem.

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Courtesy Russell

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