A very common problem that ballet dancers battle with, even some of the professionals, are sickled feet. There is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful arabesque performed on stage, and the extension of the leg is broken by a foot that looks like a banana. This problem can be rectified, although it is a very difficult habit to break.
When children start off their ballet training, they need to be shown how to go up on demi pointe and how to point their feet correctly. To prevent training sickled feet, beginners normally do a lot of parallel foot work both on the floor and standing up. If you rise parallel, and the heels aren’t pressed together, the chances are good that the foot is sickled. The same goes on the floor. Some dancers, due to large calves or thigh muscles won’t be able to get the heels together, but you can easily see in these positions if the foot is pointed straight or not.
Once the dancer moves onto turned out tendus, she is normally taught to lead with the heel when sliding the foot away from the body and with the toe as the foot returns. In this way sickles are also nipped in the butt. A good rule, if your baby toes aren’t too long, is that the baby toe should be off the floor when your foot is pointed devant.
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