This article is mainly concerned with the ballet foot control that you need before getting onto pointe, or advancing in ballet classes. You can do daily exercise and you will get strong!
Here is a test to check your real strength and control:
– keep the legs parallel, face the mirror, and rise up and down slowly keeping the weight in the middle of your feet, so there is no sickling in or out.
– if your ankles are wobbly, be aware of your sole-of-the-foot-muscles, check if they are working
– take note that you are holding your turnout muscles even in this parallel position, as most knees roll in a little if not held in line.
This movement must be strengthened before poise, arm position, toe shoes, pirouettes, etc., is of any concern.
Once you are sure that you can feel that your ankles are lined up in exactly the right place, go back to first position for your slow motion releves.
Pointe shoes and tour en l’air don’t matter yet, as you can injure yourself or begin acquiring tense and awkward work habits if you are not ready to do pointe work, or cannot execute the simple exercise as described above.
(Ballet turnout is best described and understood in Deborah Vogel’s “Tune Up Your Turnout”.)
If you cramp right away, on your first rise, then your muscles are weak. Calf muscles will overwork if your intrinsic foot muscles are weak. There are specific exercises in pre-pointe exercise, to strengthen those tiny foot muscles.
Relax and do a demi-plie (none of this should be torture).
Cramping has other causes also such as dehydration and loss of electrolytes. Calcium and magnesium deficiency will lead to cramping too. You need all 12 of the cell salts to maintain your electrolytes. A good sea salt will help, kelp, other sea weed, or homeopathic ‘bioplasma’ or ‘all 12’ tablets.
And of course, good proteins, lots of raw or lightly steamed green vegetables and salads, and fruits are mandatory. Did I say mandatory? Yes, I did! Your bones and muscles are MADE from what you eat. And so is your nervous system that your bones and muscles depend on.