“Don’t roll your feet! Keep your arches lifted!”
I’ve received the correction myself, but I’ve not been able to find a good way to explain it to my younger, beginner/intermediate students. Ruth Brinkerhoff’s “Pointe 1: An Introduction to Pointe Work” reveals a really good way to explain it.
Imagine that each of your feet have three points, as in a triangle.
When explaining this concept to my 11-year old student last night, it was like a light bulb went off! She grasped the concept right away and told me that she has been told by others in the past that she has low arches. I encouraged her to train her muscles to lift those arches by distributing even weight on both the inside and outside of the foot (the top two of the three points shown in the illustration).
Most of the students I’ve explained this to have been able to capture the idea. From my older, more experienced students, down to my 6 year olds, it’s something they can start to learn and apply. They especially love it if you sit down on the floor, take off your shoes and point to the three parts of the foot.
Brinkerhoff describes it like this in her Pointe 1 book:
Weight bearing for ballet is considered correct when divided evenly over three main weight bearing points on the plantar (sole) surface of each foot: one third is on the heel, two thirds are on the ball of the foot.*
It is best to correct this error while working at the barre since a student will notice it while working solely on footwork and technique. A student who has fallen into the bad habit of allowing his or her feet to roll forward will take some reminding before they get the hang of it, so keep a close watch.
- Finding the Correct Full Pointe Position
- Posture Checklist for Ballet Students
- Weight Placement en Pointe
- Progressing Into Ballet Technique
*Work Cited: “Pointe 1: An Introduction to Pointe Work for Teachers of Ballet”, by Ruth H. Brinkerhoff, © The Ballet Source, 2020.