Even Steven

 If you have one ankle that’s stronger than the other, listen up! According to a recent study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, athletes with uneven ankle strengths are nine times more likely to sprain an ankle, especially when landing from jumps. When the muscles surrounding your ankle don't have the same amount of strength in each foot, the impact of the jump doesn't get absorbed evenly, which can result in stretched or torn ligaments. Try some of these exercises to even yourself out:

 

- Wrap a theraband around the ball of your foot and hold the ends so that it is taut. Wing, sickle and point and flex your foot 32 times each. Move the theraband to your other foot and repeat.

 

- Spell out the alphabet in the air with your toes. Then circle your foot en dehors and en dedans 32 times each. Repeat on your other foot.

 

- At the barre, do slow elevés and relevés in first, second and fifth position 32 times each. Then, do slow one-foot relevés 16 times on each foot.

 

- Place a towel flat on the floor and use your toes to pick it up. When finished, flatten the towel and switch feet.

 

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During one of Charlotte Nash's first few weeks with Houston Ballet II, she was thrown into a run-through of Balanchine's Theme and Variations. "I had never really understudied before and I didn't know what I was doing," she says. "I fell right away and was quickly replaced." For Nash, now a dancer with Festival Ballet Providence, the episode was a tough lesson. "I was mortified, but then I said to myself, 'Okay, I need to figure out how to learn things more quickly.'"

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

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The Joffrey Ballet's Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews in Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre. Cheryl Mann, Courtesy Joffrey Ballet.

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Herman Cornejo in Don Quixote. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT.

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