“Dancing is like dreaming with your feet”
Or more like, suffering with your feet? Lol, no seriously, if you’ve ever danced ballet, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Feet take the most crucial importance in a dancers life, they hold our balance and allow us to move freely. But in ballet there is something we must not forget… The pointe shoes! Oh yes, now you have to fit your feet into this tiny and BEAUTIFUL shoe that will change your life forever (and the shape of your feet too). Yeii!
But why do people love the pointe shoes so much? There is two things, they are aesthetically pleasing to the eye, they finish the line of your legs in an elegant and curvy way, but it’s not just that, it’s the hard work these pointy devils represent.
Now let’s go back to the feet. In the ballet world, you not only have to have flexibility and a dancing skill, but you also have to have beautiful feet. What are beautiful feet for ballet standards? These are the feet that are most bendy you could say. The feet that when you point them curve the most. Now, there is a lot of pressure on dancers for their feet to look certain way, more so than body types. For example, if a dancer has amazing feet, they could probably get away with murder. They become this godlike individual, that is pretty much just feet with a person attached to it. Your great feet will mesmerise people so much that that you will get a get out of jail free card for things like getting in optimum shape, lifting your legs high (bendy feet will make your lines look really good at any position), rotating your hips and more. But wait a second! What if your feet are not so bendy?
In Argentina when dancers think their feet are not bendy enough they say “I don’t have feet”. I said this to a teacher once and she replied: “Of course you do, how are you able to walk otherwise?”. This resonated in my head, she was right, I could walk, and jump and dance thanks to them, and in that moment I felt lucky and proud.
So what if your feet are not as bendy? First of all, no matter if you are a dancer or not, take a moment to look at your feet, and be grateful to have them.
Feet can be highly improved with hard work. Yes, there are many exercises to improve arches and pointes. It is important to develop not only the flexibility of your arches and joints but also the strength of the muscles all around. One tip to take into account, sometimes we may think we are pointing our feet just fine, but if we direct the exercises with the right intention there is always strength left that could be added, this tiny mindset will make a difference at the time of making progress. Test yourself by taking your shoes off and stretch your feet to the maximum, now do the same, but until you get a tiny cramp in the arches. And there you go! that is the difference that you should feel when you work them out.
LOVE YOUR FEET
If you are dancing a lot, or even standing for long periods of time, it is normal that your feet will get tired. It is very important that you give your feet and yourself the rest that the body needs, not only to lead a more balanced lifestyle, but also to prevent injuries that fatigue and lack of muscle recovery can cause.
Embrace your feet, take care of them and love them, at the end of the day, you only have one pair 😉