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We all want the perfect feet: Strong, flexible, and an amazing arch. Here are a few excercizes 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 foot.

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.


Here are some animated ankle and arch exercises by purkle stars from
Exercise one: Simple releves

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Simply doing slow releves helps to strengthen your feet, and works on your arch and ankle strength, not to mention helping to break in pointe shoes. The slower the better here, so in a way it also helps with balance. You can do these releves in first position (as show in the animation), second and fifth. Also do some slow releves in parallel first and second (parallel: where you dont turn your feet out).

Remember to keep your releves slow and controlled, being careful, and not rolling too far forward or backwards on your toes when you rise up. Your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet, the weight centered down the ball of each foot.

If you're feeling adventurous: Try doing the releves on just one foot at a time. This is extra tricky to start off with, but as your balance improves, so will your strength. Hold your other foot in passe.

Exercise two: Arch stretches

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I have posted a shot of my arch before doing this exercise and got an unexpected HUGE response from it. Basically, all it takes is practice. Start with your foot upright, then keeping your leg straight, push your toes (without scrunching them) down onto the floor. The aim is to get your toes to touch the floor with your foot fully pointed, or even better, to get the top of the ball of your foot to touch the floor, as I have demonstrated in the animation. This really helps with your arches, and also allows you to practice pointing your foot to its fullest.

Big tip: To maximise this stretch, as with any stretch, when you have reached as far as you can pointe with your feet, hold it for about 30 seconds or however long in comfortable, wiggle your toes and bend your knees to relax your muscles, then start again. Start off with one foot at a time so you can fully concentrate on one foot, instead of trying to control and push both feet to the limit.

Exercise three: Releves with a twist!

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These, I find are the hardest of the three exercises, but is the one I can really feel work on my calves and ankles and feet. It vastly improves your balance, ankle strength and general foot strength.

In the animation I am doing this exercise with just one foot. This is extremely difficult and should not be attempted until you can do it with both feet.

If your balance isnt 100% start with both feet on the edge of a step or a raised surface. You can hold onto something for support at first, but try to built up your balance and strength so you dont need the support for balance. Put the balls of your feet on the edge of the raised platform, then lower your heel as far down as it can go, then slowly rise up into demi pointe, pushing up as far as you can go, then lower back down, again controlling the speed at which you lower.

Big tip: Again, the slower the better. Once you are comfotable with doing this exercise with both feet on the step, try lifting one foot into passe, then try the exercise again, (as shown in the animation). At first you'll probably need a support to hold onto, but with time you should be able to do this exercise on one foot without the support.

All these exercises need to be repeated in order for them to work efficiently, and to be carried out regularly. In time, you will notice the difference.