What Is the Purpose of the Heels Being Lifted off of the Ground in Ballet?

By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Thursday, May 21, 2020

Thank you so much for the question, Amy Z.

This is a great question because it is a little tricky and there are many different opinions. When working at the barre your heels shouldn’t be lifting off the ground but you should be imaging that they are in order to create the feeling that your body weight is over the balls of your feet. We are training our bodies to have our weight NOT on our heels and therefore it can sometimes be seen as a exaggeration by lifting the heels off of the ground.

First position

Imagine that you have only one piece of paper that could slide underneath your heel. That is how much your heel should be off of the ground. It really shouldn’t be visible.

If you pile with your heels coming completely off of the ground then the calf and leg muscles aren’t being used or strengthened in a way that will benefit you.

When you are dancing a variation, you still want to use your full pile with your heels on the ground but sometimes you will see the heels slightly lifted as the dancer is changing or prepping positions. This is normal. Especially when you are working with speed because that is when it is even more important to have your body weight on the balls of your feet. You can’t move quickly if your weight is positioned incorrectly.

Jumps. Well… technically it should come from a pile with your heels on the ground. Honestly, it is common to see dancers jumping from a visible but slightly lifted heel. It’s again about your body weight. Getting your weight in to your heels is death to a jump.

The prep for a saute in the fast ballet, Ballo Della Regina. (the right foot heel is on the ground)
Top of the Saute.

All fifth positions, all pile’s, and all preparations for jumps, if done correctly, should have the heel down but with the weight on the balls of your feet. That way your legs are ready for any step that comes your way!

xoxo
-Hol

How Many Pirouettes Can You Do!?

How Many Pirouettes Can You Do!?

By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Friday, October 4, 2019

Thanks for the fun question, buster_jensandersen!

Pirouettes, pique turns, lame ducks, fouette turns, chaines, soutenu’s… I sure do love to turn! There is something about that feeling of being so on balance that you can make the world spin around you, while you stay put!

In my dreams I can turn 6, 7, 8 times around.

Reality always hits! I’ve NEVER done 6, 7, or 8 turns in real life. The dream lives on…

My average is 3 turns. I can consistently do 3 turns to my right. To the left, not nearly as consistent. More, every once in awhile.

3 turns in various ballets.

I can do 4 turns! But I’ve only ever done 4 turns in the studio. Whereas I have done 3 turns on stage multiple times. When I’m in the studio and go around 4 times I always have a little moment of, Did anyone just see that!? It’s exciting. 🙂

Today in the studio!

When you turn on stage and go for more then just two, you are taking a risk. It’s liberating. You can’t save a turn if you go for an additional rotation without being on balance. You will fall out of it. Consequently, possibly making a bit of a mess of your variation…

On stage there is a lot more pressure then just in class. I tend to thrive on the stress! I love the idea of pushing beyond your own limits in front of an audience. I’m a true believer of now or never! I always take the risk and go for 3 turns on stage.

I wouldn’t take this risk though if I didn’t believe in my turns. The faith comes from all the hard work done in class. I’ve analyzed how much force I need, (less is more in my case) and I use my personal corrections to keep my turns turning. Corrections such as, higher passe, don’t over open my left arm (when turning to the right), and to feel my arms being lifted up from underneath them.

How many turns can you do!? What corrections help your turns!?

Keep in mind that a single turn that is placed, turned out and controlled can be just as beautiful as multiple turns. It isn’t about the number, but the quality.

xoxo
-Hol