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Exercises For Pointe Shoes - How Many, How Often
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Exercises for pointe shoes can be started months, or even years before you expect to dance in pointe ballet shoes. When you, or your teacher, decide is the best starting point depends on your goals in ballet training, or dance classes in general.

For instance, if you are training for musical theater, you could benefit from pointe shoe exercises, even though you may never dance on pointe. The extra foot control you will develop will get through volumes of jazz and tap, and help you prevent dance injuries.

A Schedule That Would Work For Most

If you have been doing one or two classes a week, and you think you could start pointe classes a year from now, the ideal thing to do is add one more dance class. This will strengthen you and build up more stamina. It might be a slightly tougher class, or it could even be a less advanced class where you can really nit pick at your technical weaknesses. Sometimes it is boring, but not if you are clear about your corrections and are willing to concentrate on the necessary repetition.

Over this next year you are going to develop finer reflexes in the tiny intrinsic sole of the foot muscles. Which means, muscles only in the foot. You have lower leg muscles that end up in the foot, and it is not those muscles you will be focusing on.

In fact, strengthening the intrinsic foot muscles will take a burden off the lower leg muscles, and you will achieve better muscle relaxation for the calf and shin muscles when you are resting them.

Brain To Toes....

One exercise that takes a little getting used to is swapping the toes up and down from the floor. You can sit in a chair, with the feet flat, but with the arch muscles a little "on", ready to hold the feet at the same angle when you move your toes. First, lift the two big toes up, but leave the other toes on the floor, and do not roll the feet toward or away from the big toes.

Pick the toes up as high as they will go, and hold them up for five seconds. Then lower them. Now pick up the four toes, leaving the big toes on the floor. Again, do not let the rest of the foot move from its original well placed position on the floor. Lift the four toes as high as you can, hold for five seconds, and put back down.

This action fine tunes your brain. Many dancers can hardly find the nerves with which to signal the toes to do these unusual moves - yet, your brain can learn anything, and new neural pathways are created.

Another Toe Challenging Routine

Again, sitting, soles of the feet on the floor, arches active. Pick up all ten toes, and then place each toe down firmly, starting with the big toes, as though you are playing a keyboard. Now, lift the little toes, then the next and the next etc., until all the toes are lifted again. You may find that two or three toes always want to move together, but this will improve.

The above exercises will ultimately be done twenty times through, six days a week. Once you can do them easily, you can read a book, or watch a movie. The main thing to observe is that the angles of the feet and ankles don't move around as the toes move.

Always stretch and relax your feet. The day you take off you could soak your feet, use some essential oils, and give yourself a foot massage. Rolling a golf ball or small rubber ball around under your feet achieves better muscle relaxation. You will probably feel better ballet foot control in class, and more elegant landings from jumps, if you are up for these extra exercises for pointe shoes.


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