Jyiah Long: How To Improve Your Point
As dancers, we’re always told to point our toes. Whether it’s a note from judges at competitions, our teachers in class, our peers when we’re cleaning each other; “point your toes” is the number one feedback. Let’s face it, you cannot escape the ‘point your toes’ note.
That note is given so frequently, I know, as dancers, we, do our best to avoid it at all cost. Imagine, pointing your toes so hard that your ankles begin to ache and your toes begin to cramp and you still get that dreaded note…
“POINT YOUR TOES!!”
You tell your teacher that you are, but to them, it’s not enough. They can’t visually see the difference of how hard you are trying. So, they tell you to improve your point. “But how?”, you begin to wonder. Well, I’m here to show you a couple of different ways to improve your point, and the tools you need won’t cost you much either! (You’re welcome ;-) )
1) Foot Stretcher/Therabands
Now, I’m sure you heard of these tools/methods. They’re probably the most commonly used solution to improve the arches of your feet, ergo, your point. When using the foot stretcher, put your foot inside the band and slowly straightening your leg to get the stretch.
Dr.Boyd from JackrabbitDance.com says that when used on a flat arch, the foot stretcher could actually increase the flatness and make a more unstable foot. So always use with caution as this might not be the best method for all.
Likewise, foot stretchers can typically run you about $50 – $70. But I have an inexpensive alternative, Therabands! They are super quick and easy to use. They’re basically a long strip of latex, you can also get latex free for my dancers with latex allergies, and they’re super cheap (around $10 – $15)!
You can find them in your local dance store or even in sports stores! Amazon is also a great choice. There are many ways you can use this band, so, the internet is definitely your best friend here to look up resources and methods of use.
2) Élevé and Relevé
I know you guys don’t wanna hear this, but I promise you this method works in more ways than one! Doing these exercises not only strengthen your calf muscles and ankles, but they help by improving your arch! This is my second method of improving your point.
Doing 16-32 eleves and releves daily, reaching your highest arch every time, on your highest eleve/releve, helps improve your arch. This means: No Cheating! It’s really essential to get the entire benefit of eleve and releve to push ourselves and reach our highest, and to not settle for our lowest. (Look, we all know that cheating and being lazy in dance isn’t going to get us anywhere…). If you don’t believe me, then try it for yourself! Tell me about how your arches haven’t or have improved over on my Instagram page, @jyiah_jyaele, I would love to know how this went for you guys either way!
3) The Towel
Okay, this is the last one. This method I got from my old teacher, Miss Kelly Marshall years ago and I’ve been using it ever since – because it works!
So, what you do is grab a towel, blanket, shirt, leggings, etc and lay it out on the floor. Make sure it’s not too far or too close to where you’re sitting. You want to be able to grab the item with your toes while sitting down.
Sit across from the item and bend your legs in front of you, next, only using your toes, gather up the towel until there’s no more to grab. Meaning, keeping pulling the towel in towards you until there is no towel left to grab.
And that’s it!
You can do many of these exercises around the house, watching TV, waiting for dinner to be done. I promise if you make the time to do these, you will get results and be able to reap the benefits of hearing your teachers say “point your toes”, less and less. And just maybe, the next time your teacher talks about your point, instead of it being a note, it’ll be a compliment!
Tell me how it goes! What are some tips and tricks you guys like to use to improve your point?
– Jyiah ✮