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.

Latest Posts

Because there's never been a better time to binge-watch "Bunheads" (via Freeform)

5 of the Danciest TV Shows Streaming Right Now (and Where to Stream Them)

We're about two months into #SocialDisDancing, and let's be real—while we all wish we were spending every spare minute stretching, cross-training, or taking online classes, sometimes we just need to Netflix and chill.

We figure, if you're going to be watching TV anyways, why not make it dancy TV? After all, watching pros dance on-screen is basically dance class homework...or at least we'll say it is. Here are five of the danciest TV shows for you to watch—and where to find them.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
The cast of Center Stage in a promotional poster (courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Making of "Center Stage," as Remembered by Its Dance Stars

Whether you first watched it in a theater two decades ago or on Netflix last week, odds are you feel a deep connection to Center Stage. The cult classic, which premiered May 12, 2000, is arguably the greatest dance film ever made. (Dance obsessives might take issue with the "cult" before "classic," not to mention the "dance" before "film.") Jody Sawyer's ballet journey—which combines oh-wow-I've-had-those-blisters realism with wait-does-she-have-magic-color-changing-pointe-shoes fantasy—stands the test of time, early-aughts fashion be darned. We've memorized its highly quotable lines, laughed with (and, gently, at) its heroes, and been inspired by its sincere love of dance and dancers.

To celebrate Center Stage's 20th anniversary, we asked five of its dance stars to talk through their memories of the filming process. Here are their stories of on-set bonding, post-puke kissing scenes, and life imitating art imitating life.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search