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Articulate toes and ankles are essential to many dance routines.
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Many dancers long to have an elegant line going from their hips through their pointed toes. However, weak muscles and having a poor range of muscle movement in the foot may prevent the beautifully pointed feet dancers desire. Toe pointing exercises involve increasing flexibility in the ankle and foot. While continuous exercises may help dancers improve their toe pointing abilities, adults in their 20s and older may not see progress because their feet and ankles have already developed.
Stretch Your Ankles
Ballet dancers are expected to keep their toes pointed from the ankle a majority of the time. Therefore, they may be prone to ankle sprains that prevent them from fully pointing their feet. Stretching the ankle joints increases the range of motion necessary for pointing toes. To stretch the ankle, lean forward on a chair with one leg bent and extended behind you. You should be standing firmly on the other leg. Next, bend your standing leg while pointing the extended leg inward. Vary the direction in which the knee points in a repeated stretch.
Strengthen Toe Muscles
While flexible ankles are essential to having beautifully pointed feet, strong toes are equally important. One common exercise for strengthening toe muscles involves sitting on the floor with your knees bent and arms hooked under your legs. Then lift your toes off the floor while keeping the rest of foot firmly planted on the floor. Finally, begin putting your toes back on the floor one at a time starting with the pinky toe. Repeat the exercise 10 times. Another exercise involves lying on your back extending one leg upward and drawing letters in the air with your big toe.
Use Some Bands
If you have flat feet that prevent you from fully articulating pointed feet, you can do exercises to help change the shape of your foot. A resistance band known as the Thera-Band is a dance tool used for toe pointing exercises. Begin by holding the Thera-Band taut against your foot. Slowly point and flex your toes through the ankle while keeping it against the Thera-Band. After several repetitions, continue pointing and flexing your foot. However, this time point and flex only through your toes, but leave your ankle in the pointed position. While dance shoes such as ballet slippers are OK, it's best to do this exercise barefoot.
Improve Your Balance
Having strong ankles is important for pointing toes during routines. You'll be able to tell if your ankles are weak if they wobble when attempting to balance. Holding a position with a pointed foot isn't easy if you have weak ankles. Improve this by standing with parallel legs and slowly raising one leg. You'll notice your ankle adjusting back to support your base. Once you find a comfortable position, balance on the one leg while keeping your ankle still. Hold the position for 30 seconds.