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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ballet Dancers, What Type Of Feet Do You Have?

Your foot type definitely makes a big difference to your ballet dancing or in how hard you need to work to strengthen them or correct faults. 

Ballet dancers tend to be fussy and over critical about their feet.  After all ballet dancing requires good looking strong feet.  A ballet dancer’s feet are usually anything but pretty when their shoes are off, as they are usually a mush mash of blisters, hard skin and sometimes even bunions.

Foot: A Playful BiographyThe beauty of a ballet dancer’s foot should not be measured by the depth of her instep.  Although the highly arched foot is a great asset to have, they are also unfortunately often weaker and need extra strengthening to be able to sustain the ballet dancer on pointe.  What makes an ideal and beautiful foot in ballet dancing is its strength, articulation and the way in which it is used.  A ballet dancer can stretch the feet to coax out more flexibility, but it is in really working them in every tendu and every jump that is more effective in creating a foot that looks good and produces quality movements.

It is important to know your feet, especially as a ballet dancer.  When it comes to fitting your point shoes no compromises should be made that will affect the health and happiness of your feet.  No two feet are the same, and this causes endless hassles for pointe shoe designers, but in general feet fall into three different categories:
1.    The Giselle or Peasant Foot
2.    The Egyptian Foot
3.    The Greek Foot

The Giselle or Peasant Foot:
This foot is the easiest foot to match to a point shoe.  The main characteristic is that there are at least three toes of the same length and all the toes tend to be short.  The width of the heel for this foot is medium to wide.  This foot will lend itself well to the rigors of ballet dancing.

The Egyptian Foot:
This type of foot has a longer big toe and the rest of the toes taper down from longest to shortest.  This tends to be a narrow foot, and when this foot is in full pointe, the big toe alone takes the weight on its own.  If no precautions are taken the pressure can hurt and the toenail tends to become bruised.  Thankfully nowadays there are many options that can be inserted into the pointe shoe to alleviate these problems for the ballet dancer.

The Greek Foot:
On this foot the second toe is longer than all the others and the width of the foot is narrow to medium.  There is often a big space between the big toe and the second toe.  Be careful how you choose your pointe shoe for this foot, as if the pointe shoe is too short the second toe can’t lie flat and bends uncomfortably.

No matter what type of feet they have, ballet dancers must learn to look after their feet and listen to their bodies, and in this way they can enjoy the art of ballet dancing that much more without having to worry about unnecessary pain.

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