Let's be real here. If you didn't come into our classes from a dance background, you will probably have a couple of sleepless nights as you try to get Jemma's "POINT YOUR TOES" out of your head.
We've already covered why we ask you to point your toes in one of our previous posts. But why do dancers have an advantage here? Why are they so obsessed with pointing?
One reason is proper muscle engagement. Pointing your toes has only half to do with actual toes; it's actually a combination of ankle plantarflexion and toe flexion, with a little toe adduction. If someone asked you to point your fingers, would you clench the fingers in? No, you would probably try to lengthen and extend the line of the wrist, palm, and fingers. The pointing of the toes is the same. You want to draw the line starting from your ankle.
The reason proper muscle engagement is important is that when all of your muscles are activated (engaged), you are at a lesser chance of injury. The feet are your body's foundation - remember that next time you get lazy with your pointing! So for a dancer, purposely pointed feet are a demonstration of their skill level as a dancer. It means they understand their body, its functions and its possibilities, and treat it like it deserves to be treated.
The other reason is aesthetics. Long, beautiful lines have come to be the standard in the world of dance. Pointed feet visually "complete" the picture, while lazy feet make the entire picture look lazy. Each dance is a performance, and every little detail must be intentional. How weird would it be if a dancer spent months rehearsing their choreography, weeks sewing their perfect costume, but then completely forgot about such a major part of their body - and their performance - as their feet?
Don't get us wrong, the flexed foot has a life in dance as well. But, just like with pointed feet, the movement has to be intentional. In short, lazy feet have no place in dance.
What are your favourite tips for training your feet? Should we share some of our favourite tips on how to get those beautiful lines that would help you in your dance practice?