Teaching Tips

A Breakdown of 4 Foods Used to Describe Dancer Feet

Dancers have a language all their own. From French technical terms to scatting out choreography dynamics, it's a wonder any nondancers understand a word we say! Perhaps some of the most confusing dancer terms are the various foods we use to describe our feet. To help dance outsiders out, DT broke down the foods that are commonplace in dancer lingo. Share them with your loved ones, so they can better understand the weird and wonderful breed of dancer that you are.

1. Biscuit

Definition: Stiff, flat feet that hang off the leg in a way that resembles a biscuit.

As in: "My feet were straight-up biscuits during petit allégro today."

Visual representation via the lovely and hilarious @biscuitballerina:

2. Banana

Definition: Beautiful feet that extend the leg line and arch far beyond what's even remotely natural.

As in: "Did you see Beckanne's banana feet? They're so gorgeous, I'm drooling!"

Visual representation via the ever breathtaking @beckannesisk:

3. Cashew

Definition: Feet that don't lengthen through the ankle and crunch at the toes when pointed, creating a cashew shape.

As in: "Quit giving me cashew feet in your développé! You're gripping so much it's making me cringe!"

Visual representation via a towel grip toe exercise video (great for feet strengthening—terrible for onstage!):

4. Pancake

Definition: Feet that are completely flat when on the ground, making relevé particularly difficult.

As in: "My arches are as flat as a pancake!"

Visual representation via Google Images:

Higher Ed
Charles Anderson (center) in his (Re)current Unrest. Photo by Kegan Marling, courtesy of UT Austin

Given the long history of American choreographers who have threaded activism into their work—Katherine Dunham, Pearl Primus, Donald McKayle, Joanna Haigood, Bill T. Jones, Jo Kreiter, to name a few—it's perhaps surprising that collegiate dance has offered so little in the way of training future generations to do the same.

Until now, that is. Within the last three years, two master's programs have cropped up, each the first of its kind: Ohio University's MA in community dance (new this fall), and the University of Texas at Austin's dance and social justice MFA, which emerged from its existing MFA program in 2018. These two programs join the University of San Francisco's undergraduate performing arts and social justice major, with a concentration in dance, which has been around since 2000.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

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When schools and studios launched their virtual dance programs at the beginning of the pandemic, many operated under the assumption that all their students would be able to take class online. But in reality, lack of access to technology and Wi-Fi is a major issue for many low-income students across the country, in many cases cutting them off from the classes and resources their peers can enjoy from home.

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Dance Teacher Awards

Who knew that a virtual awards ceremony could bring our community together in such a powerful way?

Last night, we celebrated the annual Dance Teacher Awards, held virtually for the first time. Though it was different from what we're used to, this new setting inspired us to get creative in celebrating our six extraordinary honorees. In fact, one of the most enlivening parts of the event was one that could only happen in a Zoom room: Watching as countless tributes, stories and congratulations poured in on the chat throughout the event. Seeing firsthand the impact our awardees have had on so many lives reminded us why we chose to honor them.

If you missed the Awards (or just want to relive them), you're in luck—they are now available to watch on-demand. We rounded up some of the highlights:

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