1. Begin standing in parallel, toes flat on the floor.
2. Lift your left arch and toe knuckles off the ground, keeping the tips of toes on the floor and the toes as relaxed as possible. Return to starting position.
3. Lift the toes of the left foot as high off the ground as possible, keeping the ball of the foot on the floor.
4. Touch the big toe to the floor, then lower each consecutive toe to the ground one at a time until all five are down. 5. Lift the entire left foot off the ground, except the heel, into a flexed position. Return to starting position.
Repeat steps 1 through 5 with the right foot. Do entire sequence 10 times, working up to 20 times.
Standing Leg Strengthener
(NOTE: The emphasis of this exercise is the standing leg, not the working leg.)
1. Start in parallel, both knees straight, shoulders relaxed, abs engaged.
9. Straighten both legs. Repeat entire sequence standing on the left leg. For an added challenge, repeat with eyes closed. Work up to 10 repetitions of steps 1 through 9.
Consultant Marika Molnar is a physical therapist and director of physical therapy services at School of American Ballet and New York City Ballet. She also directs Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC.