Modeled by Ashlyn Mae (Nathan Sayers)

Best Foot Forward: How To Strengthen and Enhance Your Feet

Ah, feet—we point, stomp and crack them (and everything in between). And though dancing all day makes them strong, they need special attention to help prevent injury. DS spoke with former professional ballerina and conditioning expert Rachel Hamrick, who recommends these four exercises to keep your feet in tip-top shape—and improve their overall look, from arches to insteps.


You'll need: FLX ball (or small exercise ball), exercise band

Nathan Sayers

Doming

Purpose: To stimulate and strengthen the core muscles of your feet

1. Begin by sitting with your foot planted on the ground.

2. Press your toes firmly down and pull them back into the floor, keeping them as straight as possible. Simultaneously raise the arch of your foot. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times per foot.

A relaxed foot (left), and a domed foot (right) (Nathan Sayers)

Relevé with FLX Ball

Purpose: To improve your arch and discourage your toes from knuckling under. This exercise also strengthens the muscles that help you rise from demi-pointe to pointe.

1. Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Place your left toes flat on the surface of the FLX Ball.

2. Lift your heel while pressing your toes flat into the ball.

3. Point your toes, maintaining contact with the ball's surface.

4. Return to a high relevé position by flexing your toes, keeping your heel held high. Do two to three sets, repeating the exercise 10 times, then switch feet.

Nathan Sayers

Toe extensions

Purpose: To promote stability on pointe by strengthening the toes

1. Sit on the floor and wrap the exercise band around the toes on your left foot. Place your right foot on top of the free ends of the band. Use your hands to pull the band ends away from your feet.

2. Flex your left foot towards you, focusing on maintaining neutral alignment.

3. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 to 20 times, then switch feet.

Nathan Sayers

Evertor strengthening

Purpose: To strengthen your ankle muscles and promote all-around stability

1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, hip-width apart. Loop the exercise band around your toes, pulling the ends with both hands so that it's taut.

2. Keeping your arches pointed, wing your toes up and away from each other. Slowly return them to their original position—you should feel a slight resistance. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Nathan Sayers

Latest Posts


All photos by Jayme Thornton. Wardrobe styling throughout by Chloë Chadá Van for The QUIRK Group.

Lizzo's Leading Ladies: Meet the Big Grrrls

Rising pop superstar Lizzo is changing the game in all kinds of ways. (A singer who also raps and plays the flute? You'd better believe it.) But she's become an especially important leader in the body-positivity revolution. And that emphasis on diversity and self-love extends to her fabulous group of backup dancers, known as The Big Grrrls.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

The Best Apps for Dancers Who Are Social Distancing

We're living in unprecedented times, and for many of us, that means unprecedented screen time. (So please cool it with your Screen Time notifications, Apple.)

For dancers used to moving their bodies and working collaboratively, social distancing at home can come with particular challenges—not to mention the fact that many dance artists are out of work and losing income.

We rounded up the best apps to make this difficult period a bit easier—whether you need a distraction, a workout, a meditation or some inspiration:

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search