Yesterday, while spending time on Facebook (when I really should have been writing a blog post), I came across the latest comic from Pole Dancing Adventures and was inspired to write a post about lazy feet. Lazy feet is one of many pole dancing bad habits I deal with both personally and with my students.
I’m sure most people have had the words “Point your toes!” said to them during class. But lazy feet encompasses more than just un-pointed toes and flexed feet, it includes flat-footed dancing and generally being unaware of where the foot is and what it is doing as we dance. Kicking the lazy feet habit involves having “purposeful feet” not just when you are holding the pose, but also while transitioning into and out of moves, during floorwork and when you are dancing. Our pole idols may make it look easy, but more often than not, the most natural looking movements took hours of practice to master.
Just telling ourselves or hearing someone tell us to “remember to point your toes” just isn’t enough. If it was, we would all have perfectly pointed toes and pretty purposeful feet! And while I still struggle with lazy feet when practicing newer or more advanced moves, I have found a process to give my feet purpose when dancing and executing moves I use often. The trick is to start from the beginning and relearn all your moves all the while focusing on what your feet are doing. Take something really easy, say, big dip==> pirouette ==> fireman, and film yourself doing it. Watch the recording and note your feet and how you want to improve on it. Is it flexed? Is it sickled? Is it just dangling like a wet noodle? Is it flopping around like a fish out of its element? Practice, film and watch, rinse and repeat. Focus on the transitions in between moves too. I personally have the most problems with this. Once in a pose my feet are pointed and pretty, but in between moves, my feet are super sloppy as if the parts in between doesn’t count. But alas, it does.
And even though the point is not the only thing to fix when it comes to lazy feet, it does make a huge difference. I’d like to confess that my feet has a horrible point. I barely have an arch and I even remember having to give away a sweet pair of shoes because it had a bit of a built in arch. I found a few drills that have helped strengthen the muscles in my ankles and feet. The first is practicing my eleve up to the balls of my feet daily (well, almost daily). The second is to sit in a pike and point and flex my toes against a theraband. I also use a tennis ball to massage the arch of my foot
However, despite the big difference pretty feet makes, I don’t believe in shouting at a student to point their toes when they are still learning how to do the move. I understand that it’s best to learn everything well the first time, but honestly, when someone it upside-down in an unfamiliar position for the first time, the main concern is safety and learning to feel secure in the new position, not how pretty their feet are. If the student is asking where their arm/hand/leg/torso should go, or where the points of contact should be or still requires a crash mat, it’s probably not the right time to tell them to point heir toes. Once they are able to do the move safely and securely and it doesn’t feel awkward anymore then focus their attention to the lazy feet.
I’m pretty sure that lazy feet will be a pole dancing bad habit that I will never see the last of. I still catch myself with floppy feet. My left foot sickles every chance it gets. And every new move or combo is an opportunity for it to rear it’s ugly head…or is that foot? But with deliberate re-learning and practice, you can be one step closer to pretty purposeful feet. And it can even look as though it came naturally!
What tips and tricks do you use to remind yourself to keep your feet pretty and purposeful? Do you have any tips on how to get a good point? Please share your experience in kicking this common pole dancing bad habit
Until next time, be sure to Live It Up!