May 7, 2008

Dancing Smart Newsletter: 5/9/08

Dancing Smart Newsletter

Greetings! Recital time is around the corner – make sure you are taking care of yourself, as hard as that may be right now. When we are running on fatigue our work efficiency goes way down. Remember when you are even slightly dehydrated a decrease in mental functioning is probable – so make sure to drink enough good, clean water!

Questions for this week

I have been reading your newsletters and they have been giving me such valuable information that I have been looking for to assist me in completing my Higher School Certificate (Australia N.S.W.) in Dance. Thank you, so so much! I also have a question; I have been having this horrible pain in the bottom of my foot when I dance, especially on demi pointe. It is next to my big toe below the actual toe. It feels like a bone or something is sticking out and it cracks against the floor and is very painful. It seems to be only during ballet but has gotten so bad that it hurts to walk on it. Any suggestions as to what it is and how I should go about fixing/helping it? Thanks for your time, Amy

Underneath the big toe are two sesamoid bones. They act like a pulley to provide a smooth surface for the tendons to glide over. The tendons can become irritated and inflamed, and is not an uncommon problem for dancers. I had a bout of sesamoiditis a few years ago.

Here's a side diagram of a foot that my son drew (he did a good job, yes?) You can see one of the sesamoid bones. You have 2 under the base of each big toe.

You may or may not have swelling or bruising – but a key symptom is pain on demi point because of the weight that is being placed on the sesamoid bones during relevĂ©. Some dancers may also experience some discomfort or pain simply flexing and pointing the big toe.

My suggestion is to ice, de-inflame, and pull back from all relevé and demi pointe work. Go to a physician who may chose to x-ray your foot and make sure there isn't a fracture to one of the sesamoid bones.

Time is your best friend with dealing with sesamoiditis – by giving that area the time that it needs to heal.


I'm writing a paper about how we use our core in ballet or just dance in general. I've tried talking with some of my own teachers, but they haven't been explaining things very well, or they will refer me to something I don't understand. The questions I have to answer are; how is the core utilized in dance/ballet movements? What are the benefits of a strong core for dancing? If your whole body was strong, except for your core, how would that affect your dancing? Thanks so much! Dianna

Dianna, try thinking of your 'core' being like the hub of a bicycle wheel. It is in the center of the body with your arms and legs being like the spokes of the wheel. When the hub of the wheel strong, then the spokes that radiate from it will be strong and straight and the wheel will roll (move) well. If the hub of the wheel was weak or wiggly and kept moving - it would create wobbly and uncertain movement. Can you imagine how hard it would be to ride a bike if the wheels shifted and wiggled? Core strength gives support to your arms and legs (the spokes) so your movement is clean, efficient, and as effortless as possible. I hope that helped!



"Education is the key to injury prevention"