A toe rise, also called a relevé or a toe raise, requires more than just balance -- it requires perfect alignment. In ballet a toe rise may just be on the balls of your feet, or, if you're in pointe shoes, you may go all the way to the tips of your toes. In other forms of dance, like modern or jazz, dancers only rise on the balls of their feet. No one exercise can fix your relevés, but by practicing the toe rise itself properly you can improve your strength and the line of your foot.
When you're training to go on pointe, the ultimate toe rise, "Dance Magazine" says your weight needs to be distributed between your first and second toes. If most of your weight is on your pinky toe, your ankle is probably not as stable as it should be. The same is true even if you're just going up on the ball of your foot. To fix the problem, "Dance Magazine" recommends separately lifting each toe and holding it for a few seconds to build strength.
If you're gripping or bending your toes while attempting a toe rise, you lose surface area that can help you balance. Sandra Woollatt-Daniels, an instructor at the North Atlanta Dance Academy, told "Dance Magazine" that your toes should be as elongated as possible in relevé. If you feel the need to scrunch your toes to help you balance, try tightening your core instead.
When executing a toe rise, your entire leg should form a straight line. The most common break in this line happens at your ankles through sickling or over-pronating. When you sickle, you turn your foot in at your ankle, creating an awkward angle rather than a beautiful line. Over-pronation means you roll your ankle and foot in toward the other foot rather than keeping it straight.
Fixing Your Ankles
Don’t just fix a misaligned ankle once you're fully in relevé -- watch for wobbling in the mirror the minute your heel leaves the floor and correct immediately. If you find you can see the problem in the mirror but you don’t have the strength to correct it, try this resistance-band exercise. Stand with your toes facing forward, as far apart as your hips, and bend your knees in a plié. Wrap your resistance band around the outside of one foot and pull it toward the other -- in other words, force it to over-pronate more -- and then bring it back to center. According to "Dance Magazine," this actually helps improve the problem by strengthening the right muscles.
Kelly MacGregor holds bachelor's degrees in news-editorial journalism and ecology/evolutionary biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. In addition to writing for the "Colorado Engineer Magazine," the "Boulder Daily Camera" and EdNews Parent, MacGregor's work has been picked up by the "Colorado Daily," EdNews Colorado and the "Denver Post."