In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
I'm a strong dancer on flat, but once I put my pointe shoes on, everything falls apart. I've been studying pointe for four years now, and I'm still not comfortable! What do you recommend?
Pointe shoes certainly take time to get used to. I remember feeling like I had foreign objects on my feet when I first started!
To get comfortable on pointe, you need to have extremely strong feet and ankles. Do as many stabilizing exercises as you can. Even something as simple as a daily series of relevés at the barre, or a five-minute Thera-Band routine that you go through before each class, can make a huge difference.
What helped me most was taking class on pointe consistently. When I started at the School of American Ballet, every single class was on pointe—I don't think I even owned a pair of flat shoes! It's not the most fun thing in the world at first, but it makes a huge difference. Over time, you'll begin to feel as if the shoe is part of your foot, a natural extension of your leg. And you'll get so strong.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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 by clicking on their names here:
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When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.