December 9, 2010


Still recovering from last Friday´s ballet and pointe class.. Why? It was absolutely awesome, that´s why! Got tons of feedback from our Fabulous French Ballet Teacher, corrections, and even some praise (yay)! Best of all, I had two rare ahaa-moments. The stars must have been finally properly aligned, right along with my feet and toes. This is how I got there:

Present your heel. Your teacher has probably taught you to forward your heel in order to maximize turnout of the working leg. The idea is to rotate from the hip joint, so that there is one continuous line, spiraling from the upper leg all the way down to the foot. A screwdriver is another popular visual image. It´s the correction I keep getting the most, and yet I struggle with it. Slower exercices are fine, as there is time enough to think and rotate. With fast dégagés, however, the heel loses its maximum turn-out at the last moment of the tendue. It´s really frustrating! At its worst, the foot looks almost sickled, not a big banana, but still. And in ballet this is very, very bad. Because as we all know, any inward sickling is a sign of improper training and or weak ankles. I´m very aware of this, and it makes me feel pretty self-conscious about my feet.

1. winged   2. neutral   3. sickled (don´t !)
image from

My ahaa-moment. Madame had just recently instructed us how to wing the working foot in arabesque (note: the foot is not supposed to wing so much that it looks like a crease, but a beautiful continuation of the line). The effect is rather subtle, since my foot is capable of only 5-10 degrees of outward movement (as opposed to 40 degrees inward). Anyway, my  big realization  came when I figured out that if the working foot is winged just a little (even the idea of "winging" seems to be enough), the action prompts the to heel turn more forward, and hey presto: instant improved turnout. Ahaa! It is a small change with a huge difference. Even my brisés are better than ever. Why? Brisé is a traveling and beating step, and beating your legs in the air works best with actively turned out feet. All this time I had used less turn-out than I´m actually capable of! Ahaa..

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