Do you have a bad foot habit? Personally I feel like not enough attention is given to the foot in dance. As dancers and teachers we focus on technique, but pay little attention to the details until later in training.  I totally get this because a lot of times developmentally younger students aren’t ready for these details… they’re just focusing on their alignment. However, the dancers foot (in my opinion) is one the most important things in dance and shouldn’t be looked over.

Fact: 

  • “The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. The 52 bones in your feet make up about 25 percent of all the bones in your body.”

 http://www.arcamax.com/knowledge/trivia/s-120859-363782

  • “The average person takes 10,000 steps per day. That’s equal to 115,000 miles in a lifetime, enough to circle the world four times.”
  • “The pressure on the foot when running can be as much as four times the runner’s body weight.”  (I imagine that’s true for a dancer too)
  • Women experience foot problems four times more often than men.”

http://www.wackyowl.com/17-interesting-facts-feet/

Uhmm… Basically that means to me if you mess up your feet, you’re screwed! If you’re serious about dancing, you may want to break your crazy foot habits before it’s too late. So do yourself a favor and look at your feet!

 

Rolling Inward & Collapsed Arches

When you take your dance shoes off do you notice that inside of your shoe is more worn than the outside? Yes. Oh no, you’ve got a foot habit!

Fix it:

  • Stand parallel while facing the mirror.
  • Focus on the ball of the foot first. Shift some of your weight towards you’re fourth toe. You should be standing with equal balance of weight in the ball of the foot.
  • Now take a look at your ankles. Are they still pitched in? If so, feel the inside of your arch lift up while shifting your outside ankle towards the floor. Be careful not to over correct!

Once you’ve tried it parallel, try the same thing in a ballet first, second, fourth, and fifth position.

Rolling outward

Are the outsides edges of your shoes wearing out quickly? Bummer, you’ve got a foot habit too! I find rolling outwards more commonly in my jazz, hip hop, and modern / contemporary classes. Personally, I think this foot habit builds by trying to pick up style. It’s a tricky thing, but as a dancer you have to consciously know how to correct yourself while pulling in and out of stylistic choices that may hinder your body. (Oh boy… that’s an article for another time 😉

Fix it:

  • Stand parallel while facing the mirror.
  • Focus on the ball of the foot first. Shift some of your weight towards you’re second toe. You should be standing with equal balance of weight in the ball of the foot.
  • Now take a look at your ankles. If they are pitched out, feel the inside of your arch pull down towards the floor while shifting your outside ankle upwards. It’s a very slight shift, so don’t over correct.

How To Standing Correctly On Your Feet

The tripod of weight is not a technical term, but I picked it up from a notable Chicago based dance/movement therapist and a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC), Stacey Hurst. (P.S. She’s amazing! If you ever have the opportunity to take a professional development class based in Laban movement analysis… DO IT!)

Any who, using this idea, the tripod of weight, is probably the best way of thinking about how your foot connects to the floor. How many of you have been told that in ballet you should never have any weight in your heels? I’m guessing you’ve heard it a few times, and again I’m sorry to tell you, IT’S A LIE! I think sometimes teachers exaggerate the truth to get their students to make a change. Wouldn’t be more more effective to tell them the truth!? Maybe I’m to analytical when it comes to dance technique, but I think it makes me a good teacher!

Basically the idea of this term is self explanatory. When you stand on your foot, you want to feel an equal balance of weight between the second toe, fourth toe, and center of the heel. If you can find this balance with your hamstrings activated and your core connected, you’re all set up to dance smart and efficiently.

 

I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Happy Dancing!

 

– The Offbeat Ballerina