Health & Body

Ask Deb: How Can I Improve My Pointed Feet?


Q: How can I improve my pointed feet?

A: The flexibility of your feet depends on their structure and muscle balance. Start by sitting on the ground parallel to a mirror with your legs in front of you. Point your feet and look at the line across the top of the ankle. If the top of your foot isn't flat across the ankle joint, you may have some tightness in the anterior ankle muscles.

Try focusing on the anterior tibialis muscle, the big muscle on the outside of the shin bone that becomes defined when flexing your foot. When engaged, the function of this muscle is to flex, so if you're trying to point, that muscle needs to lengthen. My favorite way to release tightness there is by kneeling on a pinkie ball and gently massaging along the length of the muscle. Check your point after rolling on the ball. Do you have more length to the front of the ankle?

You should also strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the feet that draw your toes into a point. Can you point your feet while keeping the toes long and separated? If your arch cramps—congratulations! You've found the intrinsic muscles.

While you're working to improve your feet, keep in mind that it takes much more than pretty feet to make a dancer. Even if you don't have the most gorgeous feet in the world, don't ever stop.

Sponsored by A Wish Come True
Courtesy A Wish Come True

With so much else on your plate, from navigating virtual learning to keeping your studio afloat, it can be tempting to to cut corners or to settle for less in order to check "costumes" off of this season's to-do list. Ultimately, though, finding a costume vendor you trust is paramount to keeping your stress levels low and parent satisfaction high, not to mention helping your students look—and feel—their absolute best. Remember: You are the client, and you deserve exceptional service. And costume companies like A Wish Come True are ready to go above and beyond for their customers, but it's important that you know what to ask for. Here are some tips to make sure you are getting the most out of your costume company.

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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

As many dance teachers begin another semester of virtual teaching, it is time to acknowledge the fact that virtual classes aren't actually accessible to all students.

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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