Today’s blog post and video is about improving your pointework and my tips for strengthening your feet, calves, and legs in order to do so.
Please note that coming up here soon there will be a leg workout and a feet workout. Both of these are great for helping improve your pointework, so feel free to use those in addition to the exercises I mention here.
As you probably know by now if you’ve been visiting and reading my blog for an extended period of time, I love to do anatomical analysis and teach/learn about the different muscles that you can help strengthen in order to improve your dancing.
Here are the muscles that are vitally important during pointework:
(NOTE: Click on the image to see a detailed caption and explanation of the muscle labeled).
Relating anatomy to dance
So, this anatomy that we’ve discovered and analyzed is all very important to your dancing and improving your pointework. Let’s go through each muscle and interpret it’s importance:
Calves: This is a pretty obvious one, but the calves are the muscles responsible for lifting the Achilles tendon off the floor and pointing your foot, which is very necessary when you put your pointe shoes on.
Lumbricals: This is a lesser-known muscle, but they are located inbetween the toes. They help point your toes and lengthen them, preventing curling and therefore pain on the pads of the toes en pointe.
Quadratus femoris: As explained in the caption, do to the lesser amounts of friction in your pointe shoes, it’s important that you exercise your turnout increaisngly when you get your pointe shoes because it’s much harder to maintain and contain the mobility in your hips.
Inner thighs or adductors: This goes along with the quadratus femoris that we discussed above.
Some tips and corrections
Push through the floor. Something known as “climbing” up to pointe is very popular among new dancers that haven’t developed their feet substantially enough yet. Once you get your pointe shoes on and you start doing relevés, notably on one leg, it seems that it would be easier to lift up and overuse your upper body to get on to pointe, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. You’ll find it easier if you are pushing down through the floor to get up…that way you will use the correct muscles.
Roll through! This one is popularly discussed amongst ballet teachers and students, but I’m mentioning it here because I can provide a unique insight into this technique. If you think of pushing down to go up and lifting up to roll down, you will have enough “room” to roll through your feet and come down quietly. This is very important!
Do your strengthening exercises. I mention this more in-depth in my video, and I have plenty of workouts coming soon to help you with this. Strengthening your feet, legs, toes, and turnout will all help you with improving your pointework. See more in my video that is embedded in this blog post above!
Here’s a quick overview of the steps to improving your pointework:
Thanks for reading/watching today’s blog post and video! Expect information-filled posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
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