As dancers we tend to spend a lot of time on demi pointe. Ballet, jazz, contemporary, and even tap dancers can benefit from strengthening and improving their releve (hip hop dancers, you can have a pass here-but do the exercises anyway, strength is good). Dancers who are working towards getting pointe shoes should pay special attention to developing a very solid releve to demi pointe. Even parents and siblings who would like to strengthen their calves and ankles are welcome to play.
The only tool required today is a step (any step will do, even a curb, but it’s best if you have a wall or banister to hold for balance). Start with your toes on the edge of a step and your heel hanging down below the level of your toes.
Slowly press up to your highest releve, being sure to keep the alignment of your ankle straight or neutral.
Then in a slow, controlled manner (don’t just plop down) lower back to the starting position. Start with 16 solid presses on each foot.
A couple of notes:
- If you’re ankles are getting wobbly on either the way up or the way down switch to doing these on two feet at the same time. After you’ve developed more strength you can try the single foot presses again.
- Try to take the same amount of time going up and coming down. These will give you more benefit if you do them slowly. Try to make each press should take 5-10 seconds.
- Make sure you’re standing with your correct dancer posture throughout the exercise.
- Turn on some music! We’re dancers right? Plus it will help you keep a good, even speed.