Ankle ABCs

Healthy, injury-free ankles require three things: mobility, stability and strength. But achieving this trifecta is easier said than done. That's why Dance Spirit turned to Abigail Bales, DPT, CSCS, for a series of exercises that'll strengthen, support and stabilize your ankles—and your dancing, overall.


"The ankle has multiple joints and moves in multiple planes of motion: sagittal, frontal and transverse. All three must be addressed when assessing mobility, stability and strength," Bales says.

Pro tip: First try the exercises without relevé, then advance to relevé to amp up your workout.

(All photos by Jayme Thornton. Modeled by Jessica Barr.)

Without Relevé

A. Sagittal

1. Stand with your feet in parallel, balance on your left leg and bend your left knee.

2. Reach your right foot forward and tap your toe on the floor, then return to the starting position.

3. Reach your leg behind you and tap the ground with the top of your foot, then return to the starting position.

Repeat 5 times, then add relevé.

Sagittal exercise, part 1.

And part 2.

B. Frontal

1. Stand with your feet in parallel.

2. Balance on your left leg, keeping your left leg straight and reach your right leg across your body (no hip rotation), leaning to the right.

3. Reach your right leg to the right side in parallel, bending your left knee and leaning to the left.

Repeat 5 times, then add relevé.

Frontal exercise, part 1.

And part 2.

C. Transverse

1. Stand straight on your left leg in parallel.

2. Reach your right leg straight in front of your body and rotate your hips to the left, tap your toe to the ground.

3. Reach your right leg around and to the rear of your body, rotating your hips to the right, tapping your toe to the ground.

Repeat 5 times, then add relevé.

Transverse exercise, part 1.

And part 2.

Health & Body
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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Dear Katie,

When I sit with the soles of my feet together, my knees easily touch the floor, and most exercises to improve turnout are easy for me. But when I'm actually dancing, my turnout is terrible, especially on my standing leg. Why doesn't my flexibility translate to turnout?

Chrissy

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The dark, deeply personal video is Yang's coming-out moment. We see Yang being rejected by his family, condemned by a preacher, and attacked by a hostile mob after attempting to express himself as a gay man. Though not a professional dancer (as we found out in "The Try Guys Try Ballet"), Yang is a gifted mover; he choreographed the project himself, and gathered a group of talented performers to bring the story to life.

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