I got this visual teaching tip from watching my ballet teacher’s preschool and Ballet 1 classes.
Her class was practicing tendu and the students had very slow and articulate feet during their parallel (preschool) and turned out (Ballet 1) tendus! After class, I asked what her secret was and this is how she teaches tendu:
1. Take out your imaginary piece of gum and chew it up so its really sticky (in the preschool class, everyone gets to say what flavor/color gum they are having)
2. Take out some of your sticky gum and put it under your toes! (An explanation of why we only do this with imaginary gum and never at home is also given at this point)
3. With straight legs, try to slide the foot out… but the toes are very hard to move! Finally we get all the way out and the gum pulls us back to the starting position. Repeat while teacher says “sticky sticky (foot slides out) tendu (close)!”
4. Repeat with the other foot.
As they progress during the year, the teacher only needs to say “sticky sticky tendu” and the students recall the sticky sensation and slow down while pushing through their toes. I think this imagery would also benefit older students – after all, who doesn’t love a little silliness in their class every now and again?
Hope it helps you or your classes! What teaching tips do you have for tendus?
Exercise bands, Thera-bands or similar resistance training are often suggested for dancers to increase the strength with at-home practice. What exercises should dancers do and what can be done safely at home, without a teacher to observe incorrect habits being formed?
We will be exploring these questions and more during our series: Thera-bands for Dancers
Today's post is about foot exercises you can do in class or at home to improve your muscle strength. Before you begin, remember to review our exercise tips.
Benefit to dancers: Improved foot articulation, strengthened point during all exercises, extra push during jumps, higher foot arch (posterior tibial muscle), toe flexors and extensors along with your ankle and calf muscles.
Lay the band (you can also use a towel or piece of fabric) out away from your foot. While standing or sitting, use your toes to "grab" and pull the fabric / band towards you. Repeat for the full-length of the band. You can also strengthen your toes by "grab" marbles or other small objects.
Sit with your foot flexed. Loop the band around your foot with one end under your heel and the other over your toes, pulling the ends towards you, creating resistance. Slowly push with just your toes to a crunched position. Repeat
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