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 Post subject: Over the Box
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:28 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 442
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
I have recently started pointe, and i have trouble getting over the box as well as I would like to. My legs are "idealistically" hyperextended, and my feet aren't horrible, but when I point, my ankles and the top of my feet form a straight line- or a little of a curve. So I guess when I get on point, it's very hard for me to straighten my knees COMPLETELY without going further (or farther?) back on the box (I'm still pretty much on it though.) But it isn't over SO well, and it's very hard to work out how to control my hyperextension, and straighten my knees, especially in 2nd. And in sous-sus, I have trouble keeping the weight on both feet instead of the front, and I think that that has something to do with it. Can you help me with getting over, straightening my knees, and getting my feet flexible enough to get over?


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Bebounce - as you said you have recently started pointe - and many of these things take time. In time, in my experience, the feet do gain more flexibility - and strength.<P>It is difficult to learn to straighten the knees without pushing back on them which you have to learn to do with hyperextended knees. That will take time for you to learn how to feel when it is correct. Pulling up rather than pushing back. <P>When you are up in second position on pointe, try making your second position not quite so wide - that will help, too.<P>In sous-sus - you will need to learn to be on both feet equally. However, if I had to decide which error I would rather see in a student - more weight on the front foot as opposed to more weight on the back foot - I would chose to see more weight on the front foot. That is easier to correct, in my opinion. <P>Ideally, your weight needs to be between both feet. When you do really fast bourreés on pointe, if you get your weight "between" your feet - you can really fly along and make them look very smooth and light.<P>But it all takes time - and practice. However, just the fact that you are aware of these things is already a giant step in the right direction.


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2001 4:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 442
Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
I have also come to realize just how much the stomach muscles are engaged ( after one week of being sore and nauseated while trying to turnout! Image). DO you have any additional tips on engaging the stomach and using it even more? My stomach is pretty strong, even compare to the girls I take class with that have been dancing for awhile Image; in fact, so are all of my "turnout" muscles, but I just can't get that connection and engage the muscles!


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2001 6:45 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Bebounce you can't compare yourself to people who have been dancing longer. It takes time to learn what muscles to use and then how to use them.<P>Yes, stomach muscles are very powerful. Try this....put one hand on the top of your hip bone and the other hand on your lowest rib. Now look in the mirror at the space between your hands - where there is no bone at all (ok there is a spine in the back, but that's a flexible entity not a solid construction). <P> This empty place is where all your innard gooey stuff is. The ONLY thing you have for support in this space are your muscles - stomach and back. So they must be engaged and learning how and when, and why, takes time. <P>But because you are asking these questions, I KNOW you will succeed. So many people don't even both to wonder and ask. <P>So you have my congratulations, Bebounce. You are a very thoughtful student. <P>


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 1:23 pm 
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Posts: 102
May I add an 'over the box' question? I took my first pointe class today (a humbling experience!) and realized the feet I thought were so strong aren't as strong as I like Consequently, getting over the box -- particularly with my right foot -- is extremely difficult for me. Are there any exercises you might recommend to strengthen the muscles in my feet? (I tried looking for a previous thread and couldn't find one.)<P>Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 2:42 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Ma - getting over the platform of the pointe shoe is a combination of the necessary flexibility to achieve that, and then the buildup of strength to gain stability whilst on pointe. In other words - it's one problem to get there and quite another to stay there.<P>The first place to start, is by mentioning this to your teacher and discussing it with her. However, that being said, I, too, have a problem with my right foot getting as well over the box as I would like because that foot, while very strong is not as flexible as my left foot. <P>So what you might be seeing here is not so much a lack of strength, but of flexibility. Since this was your first (and I agree it is indeed humbling LOL) pointe class, one cannot expect to have the strength for the work initially. While it is true one does a great deal of work preparatory work for pointe, there is still a great deal left to gain once one is actually on pointe. <P>In other words, at this stage, with just one class, I would guess that as you describe your right foot - both flexibility and strength (because you are a beginner) are twin problems. And it is a problem that might very well resolve itself as you continue with your studies and work. <P>The person who can truly judge your progress and readiness is your teacher.


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 2:43 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Ma - Please don't ever hesitate to post your questions....that is why this forum exists.


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 5:42 pm 
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Posts: 102
Basheva, thank you. It is clearly both strength and flexibility on the right. I'm remembering when I started ballet my right ankle felt sore at first in a way that my left never did. That resolved itself very quickly, but clearly my right ankle is weaker than the left. Also, I looked at the tips of my shoes and I can very clearly tell which shoe I wore on the right and which on the left!<P>Despite all of that, it is quite an exciting feeling -- and much easier to stay up than to get up.


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2001 6:26 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Ma - you are right - it is easier to stay up than to get up. That is why the flexibility/strength values of the shanks of the shoes are such an issue.<P>The dancer, especially the beginner needs the support of a strong shank, but at the same time needs the shank to have some flexibility so she can attain pointe, and not be fighting a shank that is too stiff.<P>So, it's a balance; hard shank versus soft shank. That's where the teacher's judgement comes in.


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 60
Location: Canada
Hi I have a question as well. I have really flexible ankles and my teachers say I have nice feet and on my right foot I can go over top of the box. Does this seem right? I dont know if am doing something wrong because it doesnt look like I have an arch at all. Its kind of wierd and hard to explain can you help me? Thanx<P>------------------<BR>*Lil Ballerina* <BR> ~Keep on Dancin!~

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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 6:21 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Lil Ballerina - just like it is hard for you to explain - it is hard for me to understand and picture what you are saying - since I can't see your feet.<P>Are you saying that your right foot can go past the top of the platform of your shoe? This is something that you should discuss with your teacher. Your foot should not be going past the top of the platform of your pointe shoe. Rolling past the box is not a good idea. <P>It depends on where the arch in your foot is - for some people it is quite low down into the foot and for others it is higher up. Generally speaking, the higher up (more toward the ankle) arch is stronger and less stressful to work with on pointe. But this needs to be assessed by your teacher - since she can see your foot and how you work with your feet.<P>You might also need a stronger shank for your right foot. This might mean buying two different shank strengths - which means two pairs of shoes every time you buy shoes - one for the left and one for the right.


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 11:25 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Also while wearing in pointe shoes to begin with you can often not look like you have much of a arch until the underneath of your shoes have worn in a bit and start moulding to the shape of your feet.<P>I have a pupil at the moment who was having trouble getting over the box in releve 5th although she was doing so on releves from tow feet to one foot. On closer inspection she was not snatching her feet together on the ones in 5th i.e. her heels were taking the place of the toes, where as she was doing this on the two feet to one foot releves.


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2001 7:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Canada
Thank you very much both of you for replying! I think I should start buyin two different shoes for each foot because they are so different. <P>------------------<BR>*Lil Ballerina* <BR> ~Keep on Dancin!~

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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2001 3:29 pm 
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Posts: 191
Location: Iola, Texas
On this same note....<BR>I've been en pointe for a few months. I've read alot about pointe and I have also had some problems with pointe work, being an adult student with not-so-great feet.<P>One thing that I have read is how important it is to pull up out of the shoes. In my classes, I sometimes see the younger girls pushing their shoes over onto the boxes at the expense of pulling out of their shoes. Our teacher brings this to their attention when she catches it, but time after time they are looking at their pretty arches in the mirror rather than pulling up. (Actually had one dancing in broken shanks. She thought her arches were just lovely. Of course, she could STAND up there for very long...:-)<P>From what I have studied, pulling up is important for overall strength. Getting over the box will come with time eventually for most. As you continue pointe work your shoes break down and your feet will become flexible, but learning to pull up is one of the hardest things to learn and is basic to proper pointe work.<P>Is this a correct summary of what I have learned?


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 Post subject: Re: Over the Box
PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2001 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Pa, USA
Here are some non-weight bearing/strengthening exercises I have my pre-pointe and beginning pointe students work on at home while watching television or relaxing--the credit goes to P.Dickinson and R. Mahler for the first seven, I believe pas or azuth originally sent those to me.<P>POINTE NOTES <P> EXERCISES: PRE-POINTE:<P>These warm ups work best with a stretchy type of material such as lycra or a resistaband as from the "dancers' dozen".<P><BR>1. Sitting on a chair: lay piece of material in front of student, placing it vertically. Tell student to gather up material with toes of each foot. Afterward, repeat same with added weight on end of material (i.e.: a soda can or the like).<P>2. Sitting on a chair: place material horizontally in front of student. Put approx. 10 marbles on the material. Tell student,<BR>with toes from each foot, to grab the marbles with their toes and transfer from one side of material to the other.<BR> <BR>3. Sitting on the floor: holding ends of material with hands, place it at ball of foot. With just toes only, push the material<BR>back and forth, (building strength in toes). Tell student to use just the ankle, don't roll the leg! 10 times on each foot.<BR> <BR>4. Tie material in a knot around a chair. Using your ankle only, NOT THE HIP, pull material back and forth and side to side using both R and L feet.<BR> <BR>5. Sitting on floor, and leaning back onto elbows, raise feet in air keeping ankles together. Tell students to "write" the<BR>alphabet in "cursive" with their feet.<BR> <BR>6. Have student sit on floor, with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Slowly, they must slide their legs to a straight position, keeping knees and feet together.<BR> <BR>7. Roll feet (one at a time) back and forth over a soda can.<BR> <BR>8. Sitting on floor with knees to chest "walk" toes out as far as they can "grab" the floor. Flex feet, pull in and repeat 4-8x.<BR> <BR>9. Sitting in chair--go through the positions of the foot as follows--flexed; forced arch; pointed; curl toes; pull back to flex full foot--repeat.<BR> <BR>10. Sitting on floor--ankle circles 8x endehors/endedans repeat for 4x; 2x; 1x;1x<BR> <BR>11. With a resistaband tied in a loop--lie on the floor on back with elbows to support body--cross one leg over other with resistaband anchored by the foot on the floor and over the top of the crossed foot--flex and pointe 8x each leg working against the resistaband.<BR> <BR>12. Sitting in chair parallel first --roll feet through 1/4; 1/2/ 3/4 and full pointe with no weight bearing--roll down--be sure to<BR>stay parallel with no sickling!


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