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Ballet Toe Shoes – How Ballet Barre Exercises Prepare You For Pointe

Ballet toe shoes – how is pointe work prepared for by your ballet barre exercises?

There are many opportunities in your ballet classes to build strength for dancing in pointe shoes. Every barre exercise is perfectly designed to train your muscles to eventually perform the exquisite traditional choreography of Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nutcracker, and also execute the challenging modern ballets.

The plie exercises strengthen your biggest muscle groups. These include:

The Thigh Muscles

  • Quadriceps
  • Adductors
  • Hamstrings

The Back Muscles

  • Gluteals (low back, pelvic muscles)
  • Quadratus Lumborum
  • Erector Spinae

The Core Muscles

  • Interior and Exterior Obliques
  • Rectus Abdominis
  • Transversus Abdominis

The postural control demanded in plies is the backbone of your ballet training. The control of the leg muscles develops a strength that is almost unmatched in the other athletic fields.

After plies come a series of foot movements that engage the muscles that will permit you to dance in ballet toe shoes.

Every time you press your foot from a closed position to an open position such as tendu or degage, you use the muscles that will build your strength for pointe work and jumps. The more you use the floor, exerting as much pressure as you can, the stronger your feet will get.

This pressure into the floor is then resisted by your postural muscles, which maintain your alignment. While your stomach, back and pelvic muscles keep you upright and poised, you will do thousands of battements tendus, degages, frappes and grands battements, all beginning with that foot pressure.

And one tiny section of those movements – the action of the toes leaving the floor, to your best pointed position, is extremely important. That is your last push off the floor to take you into a perfect jump or a confident releve into a pirouette or one of the beautiful ballet positions. Always stretch the toes long, never curl them.

When closing the foot back into first or fifth position, you again press into the floor. There are no movements wasted in ballet training.

As you get more advanced in ballet, any technical weakness will become more pronounced when you are in pointe shoes. Always ask your teacher if you feel like you are not progressing in some way. There are special exercises or stretches a teacher will suggest for you, to help you improve.

Ballet stretches are done to increase flexibility and also release muscle tension. Massaging and soaking your tired feet is important. Learn accurate technique, work patiently, and take care of yourself. One day you will be among those who are picked to start dancing in ballet toe shoes.






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