CriticalDance Forum

"Going over" too far?
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Author:  Bree [ Thu Feb 27, 2003 11:21 am ]
Post subject:  "Going over" too far?

I hear a lot of dancers with lovely, high arches complain about "going over" too far in their pointe shoes. Most of these ladies say that finding the right shoe is the only way they can correct the problem.

Is this a fact? Or is there something, technique-wise, that could be helpful as well? I personally don't have this problem (my feet are servicable, at best), I'm just trying to understand the other side of the spectrum!

Author:  lampwick [ Thu Feb 27, 2003 12:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Going over" too far?

Hi Bree. I'm just a student (20 yrs of ballet), but still a student. I'll share what helped me out, though I can't claim to know the inner workings of the anatomy of the foot and ankle as, I'm sure, some of the experts on this board can.

When I first started pointe, my foot would roll over so far that the satin would wear off my shoes well above the box and indeed, flatten it out so the box would slope upwards instead of being flat. Pretty ugly claw foot. My instep, at that point, wasn't very pronounced and the effect was very ick.

Though I gradually gained strength in my foot and found some hard shoes which helped, Repetto, hard Grishkos, I never obtained the stability and control I should have.

Once I got to college my dance teacher, Larry Robertson, suggested that I not rise onto full demi-pointe while working in flat shoes. Just for a while, to try and see if I could build some stability in my ankles. Lo and behold, in only TWO MONTHS my pointe work completely changed. I addition to my ankles being really strong, I could feel the bottom of my foot pushing into the floor in a straight line, while the top of my foot pulls up (almost like a loop of energy--if that's clear). I guess it's the feeling of strightening your foot in the shoe, instead of letting it go over.

This simple "experiment" really helped me a lot. I could hold an arabesque en pointe for a good 8 seconds unsupported. I think it helped my isolate what was happening in different parts of my foot and really work with it, instead of just being en pointe and letting my foot take the shape it wants. My foot is really quite beautiful now and STRONG. Admittedly, this experiment was done after a good 7 years of previous pointe work and my foot had already changed quite a bit from when I had started.

One teacher I studied with also had her students roll up into an "almost pointe" (3/4) position in pointe class. Repetitions in demi, 3/4, and full. This is sort of similar to the exercise I was given. "Almost pointe" would seem to strengthen the arch more, since one would assume the instep would my fully stretched at that point.

Lots of teachers had suggested elastic over the instep and stuff like that, but I never tried it. Seemed artificial. A long vamp seems appropriate for this type of foot though. Gaynor Mindens worked for me, though it seems as though the jury's out on those.

I'm curious to see what the different teachers on this board think about working on this transitory positions during demi and pointe classes.

Hope this helps.

<small>[ 27 February 2003, 02:03 PM: Message edited by: lampwick ]</small>

Author:  citibob [ Thu Feb 27, 2003 9:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Going over" too far?

This sounds like an issue for people with rather loosly constructed feet (and bodies in general); you know, the type who could always just flop into a split.

I am not loose like that; on the contrary, rather tight. But I know two rather loose professional dancers and have discussed this issue with them.

Most people when they go en pointe (including myself) have to work very hard to stretch the foot out enough to be on top of their toes. So a lot of the "standard" pointe exercieses are oriented towards achieving this type of work in the foot.

If your foot is as loose as you describe, you need to train it in a different way than most people. As you mentioned, your problem is not getting UP onto the toes, but one of falling OVER them. You have no problem with flexibility, but rather of strength.

Strength and flexibility work against each other. A super-strong muscle will be rather tight, and a super-flexible muscle will be rather weak. Dance training aims for a balance of the two.

So if your body (foot) is naturally loose and flexible, then you need to work on strength a LOT more than most people, and you really do NOT need to work much on flexibility. My loose friend says that she does ZILLIONS of releves to achieve and maintain this strength for pointe work.

My other loose friend is trying the big elastics across the front of her shoe. The jury is still out on whether it works for her. In partnering her in the past, I had to be very careful to not push her too far over her shoe.

Hope this helps.

Author:  balletowoman [ Fri Feb 28, 2003 8:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: "Going over" too far?

Very flexible feet (but it's not always accompanied by a very flexible body!) are generally speaking, very weak in strength. They need to be 'tamed' into a reasonable, strong pointe.

What has been explained before is good. There is a need to build the strength to be able to push through the floor, rather than let gravity push the foot beyond the required arch. Usually, those feet are lovely looking, but for the student, it's a lot of hard work to catch up on the strength issue. An elastic (it has to be wide, and super resistant) across the foot helps 'tame' the foot a bit (it will prevent the foot from going 'over' the shoe) but it will not really train the foot to achieve this feeling without the elastic (or at least not as fast as with other options).

Training the foot itself, little by little is the answer. The use of high vamp (although not necessarily good for every feet) and strong shank (for support) is usually necessary, but the work needs mostly to be done on flats. I usually recommend not to use split sole on flats (because there's virtually no work of the foot done) so, in any case, full sole shoes, and ideally, soft pointes or deshanked, 1/2 pointes are good to build the strength within the foot. :D

Author:  gaeadea [ Sat Mar 01, 2003 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "Going over" too far?

I have this type of foot (and unfortunately, balletowoman is right... i have these incredibly flexible feet with a terribly inflexible body).

Though I havent had a whole lot of pointe experience (ive been thru 4 pairs of shoes), I have seen a few observations.
In my case, the thing that worked best in supporting and strengthening my feet was the extra hard shank. I last wore Gamba 93 XXHs... and my feet ended up looking really good in them and my feet got very strong. The worst shoe I've worn for this was Capezio Contemporas... they were ok for a little while, but after the shank broke in a bit, i would go over so far that my foot would have come out of the shoe if not for the elastics and ribbons! THey were actually almost dangerous shoes for me.

Author:  Me_h [ Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

you can sew a thick elastic across the opening(where your toes stop) and that will control you from going over

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