Strengthening Toes and Ankles for Pointe

When preparing for pointe, dancers need to have strong ankles and toes. Without the required strength, the stress of being en pointe can cause more harm than good. Today I'd like to share with you some great exercises that I've used on my pre-pointe dancers. These exercises can be done with a barre or the back of a chair.

Releve-Plie with Transfer

This exercise is great for strengthening the calves and ankles but also helps with turnout and balance. Begin in first position, holding onto the back of a chair or barre. Releve and lower into a demi plie. Repeat 6 times.

In releve, transfer to one foot with the other cou de pied. Plie and releve on the one foot making sure to remain turned out and keep the ankles from wobbling. Repeat 6 times and then transfer to the other foot and repeat the process.

Sou Su-Passe

In the center of the floor, perform a susu and slowly lift the front foot up to passe and close it back into susu again. Lower to the floor and repeat 6 times on each side.

Releves in the Center

Perform slow releves without holding onto anything. These can be performed in parallel, first position, and with a single-leg. Repeat 6 times on each leg in each position.

Ankle Alphabet

Sit on the floor and rest one foot on the other knee. Trace an imaginary alphabet in the air with your foot. To make it more difficult, do the lower case and upper case or try cursive. Repeat on the other side.

All of these exercises are great for preparing a dancer's ankles for pointe. If you'd like more ideas for strengthening the feet, check out the Taking Care of Your Dancing Feet chapter in A Dancer's Diary. I've also provided some great massage techniques for relaxing, because as dancer's, our feet can get a little sore.

What is your favorite exercise for strengthening your feet and ankles?

I hope you've enjoyed this series all about pointe. I will be adding one more post next Thursday about improving turnout. This is another super important part of pointe and I hope that you will join me next week.

Until next time,



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