Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based The Pointe Shop is taking her wares on a tour of the West Coast: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Lee is visiting dance schools along the way in her mobile pointe shoe van to fit ballet students. Check out her first five vlogs from the road, filled with picturesque scenery, fun facts and fitting tips—and stay tuned for the next round.
Jeanne Robinson Dance Arts in Salinas, CA
Among the attractions in Salinas that Lee points out is the childhood home of famous novelist John Steinbeck.
How frequent is too frequent for ballet injuries? I'm a college ballet major with a rigorous schedule. Within the past year, I've had two sprained ankles, surgery for a labral tear in my hip and now possibly a stress fracture in my metatarsal. I cross-train and go to physical therapy regularly, and I always do my best to exercise proper technique. —Kyra
Whether you're new to pointe or looking for an added boost of strength and stability to make it through performance season, these 5 resistance band exercises will show big results—and fast. Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee demonstrates a series of exercises for toes, feet and ankles, as well as lateral and vertical control, all the way up to relevé.
With endless hours of rehearsals and classes, your ballet career can leave you feeling exhausted. But what if your eating habits are only making it worse?
According to Rachel Fine, registered dietitian and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, there are three major macronutrients (or "macros") that dancers need to consume daily to fuel peak performance: complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Since dancers require more energy than the average person, aim to include all three in every meal and snack. Fine suggests these combos:
Maybe you weren't born with gorgeous, overarched feet, but that doesn't mean you're completely stuck with what you've got. "Strength and flexibility can improve with training, but that's within the limits of your individual anatomy," says Dr. Nancy Kadel, a Seattle-based orthopedic surgeon who specializes in dancers' foot and ankle issues. Building a balance of both will help you achieve more supple feet that can support ballet's demands. Kadel recommends the following:
Tools of the (Foot-Strengthening) Trade
● Hand towel for scrunching toward you as you actively curl your toes. For a challenge, add weight, like a book, to the end of the towel.
Ah, the quest for the perfect, foot-flattering, technique-enhancing pointe shoe: It can feel like a never-ending saga. Still on the hunt for that ideal pair? Then you won't want to miss The School at Steps' annual Pointe Shoe Workshop and Fair, happening this Sunday, April 22nd, at 6:30 pm in NYC.
As always, the event—which is sponsored by Pointe—will feature an impressive panel of experts. This year's lineup includes orthopedist Dr. Andrew Price, professional fitter Mary Carpenter, master teacher Linda Gelinas, Pointe style editor Marissa DeSantis, and New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns (eee!).
Madeline DeVries, of Alonzo King LINES Ballet, starts her days with a bike ride or strength work.
Warm-up on wheels: Madeline DeVries' commute doubles as a workout. Two or three days a week, the Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer bikes about seven miles through San Francisco to the studio. "The hardest part is going through Golden Gate Park. There's one uphill section that's always killer," she says. She arrives ready to dance and likes how biking warms up her knees.
Every dancer has learned—probably the hard way—that healthy feet are the foundation of a productive and happy day in the studio. As dancers, our most important asset has to carry the weight (literally) of everything we do. So it's not surprising that most professional dancers have foot care down to an art.
Three dancers shared their foot-care products they can't live without.