Rest your foot (try to keep your toes off the ground so that you use your arch to point your foot, and not your scrunched
up toes) and slowly try to straighten your knee, keeping the ball of your foot as close to the floor as possible. When you've
straightened your knee, try to push the ball of your foot as close to the floor using only your muscles. I find this useful,
because it helps me gain the strength to actually point my foot to the fullest.
Point your foot as much as you can, and then flex ONLY your toes, and THEN point your foot (but don't use your toes).
I used to scrunch up my toes to make my point look nicer, and this helped a lot, because I learned to stretch the arch. Also,
when leaving your toes flexed, stretch your knee to its fullest using all the muscles in your leg, its given me a good and
stable demi-pointe when on flats.
I think this is pretty much the same as the tennis ball exercise, you wrap your foot around something round, trying hard
to point your foot around it much as you can, and then lifting it away from the object, to see if you can hold that position.
My previous teacher would have very slow tondues as part of the warm up, the challenge is keeping your foot stuck to
the ground as much as possible without shifting your weight. (2nd pic) It's a great stretch for the thigh muscles, and you
also gain a lot of strength from going from demi-pointe to pointing your foot (last two pics).
We all want the perfect feet: Strong, flexible, and an amazing arch. Here are a few excercizes I have tried
over the years and found to work wonders! Do some (if not all!) every night before you go to bed. This can help you build
up to pointe work, or improve on feet that have been on pointe for years.
1. In front of a mirror in first position,
plie for two counts and releve for two counts. Repeat this 25 times. Don't let your ankles go weak!
2. Lying on the
floor with one leg straight above your head and the other straight out on the floor, trace the alphabet with your toes, only
moving your ankle. Repeat with the other foot.
3. Drop 25 marbles onto the floor (or use the same marble if you don't
have that many!) and practice picking them up wiht your right foot. When you have done this 25 times, switch to the other
4. Stretch through your entire leg down to your foot but keep your toes limp. Slowly, move your toes down, then
up. Repeat 25 times. Do both feet.
5. Rotate your ankle in circles like you would to stretch out your wrist, first
clockwise, then counter-clockwise. Do ten cirles each way, then switch to the other foot.
6. Stretch out your arch
and shin by sitting in a chair and pointing your toe. Place the flat top of your big toe onto the floor and push your leg
gently into the floor. Hold for about 15-30 seconds, and switch to the other leg.
7. Walk around on demi pointe for
about 1 minute.