Forum: Irish / Irish - Softshoe

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How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By ReachForTheMoon
On Wed May 04, 2011 06:12 AM

I'm wondering how it is possible to stand on the tiptoes like this? I mean - I can barely do it for a few seconds at the time if both my feet are on the ground. But I can't do sevens or skip like this, and definitely not land that way! Does anyone know how she does it? Does it help to have really tight shoes? Is it just to build up strength, and how can I do it?

It would be absolutely amazing to be able to dance like that.

28 Replies to How do I stand on the tips of my toes?

re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By Anon1234567890member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed May 04, 2011 06:20 AM
She's not "standing" like that, it's an action shot taken very well. If you look at her back foot you can see she's in motion. She's renowned for dancing very high on her toes and being very very pointy, but she's not actually "en pointe" if that's what you're asking. No Irish dancer should dance their softshoe en pointe - it's just not safe. You can train yourself to get better height on hight half-pointe however, and it's a team effort between the arch, ankle, calf and knee. There are plenty of stickies around on this board and the ballet boards that talk about building strength in there areas. Good luck, but please don't try to dance en pointe in soft shoes.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By DressShopping
On Wed May 04, 2011 07:01 AM
Wow, that is a great photo! Who is the dancer? She is incredibly POINTY!
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By reelgirly
On Wed May 04, 2011 07:13 AM
That young lady is the INCREDIBLY talented and beautiful Niamh Taylor of the Doherty school!
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By BethanysMAIDmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed May 04, 2011 07:56 AM
Edited by BethanysMAID (186377) on 2011-05-04 07:58:31
I agree that it looks like an action shot, this one of Beth is the same, it looks like she is going en-pointe but she definately wasn't!

Shame the rest of the posture/dancing/looking at the feet etc is not anything like Niamh's!

G
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By irishfeislovemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed May 04, 2011 07:59 AM
I am so jealous of her feet. The while time I dance, I try to push up onto the balls of my feet and land lightly.ankle strength and trying not to sickle your feet will help. Try standing on one foot with the other pointed in front and pushing up onto the balls of your feet. I have found this exercise helpful.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By mwilkinsmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed May 04, 2011 10:34 AM
Niahm Taylor does dance extremely high on her toes, There are few dancers, Emily Babyn and Niahm Taylor being two of them who have super strong toes. You need to have the feet to do it. Its a natural thing. Although you can strengthen your ankles and feet to dance higher on your toes, it is unreasonable to dance on your tips. Many dancers who can dance on their tips are double jointed in their toes.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By PogMoGilliesmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed May 04, 2011 12:53 PM
And, just to give the oft-repeated refrain:

never try to dance on the tips of your toes in soft shoe! Your feet are not designed to hold your weight that way, and you will damage your feet if you try. You can push as high up on the ball of your foot as you like, you can work on your foot strength so that when you push your foot off the ground for any reason, it goes into a point and gives the illousion that you are dancing on the tips of your toes as you move through a step, but if anyone asks you to try and stand, full weight, at any point, on the tips of your toes, smile and run the other way quickly.

We can stand en pointe (on toe tip) in hard shoe, because it is the shoe tip that is on the ground, your toe is not touching. A ballerina can go en pointe in pointe shoes, because there is a reinforced box around her toes that provides the support the foot needs. Our soft shoes are like ballet slippers. Never intended to go beyond demi-pointe (aka the ball of the foot)
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By VWID
On Wed May 04, 2011 01:59 PM
Here shows how easy it is for action shots to look like a dancer is en point.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By sjerosemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Wed May 04, 2011 09:17 PM
When I first saw this thread, I was instantly reminded of this video:

youtu.be . . .

Now THAT'S high on toes!!
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By EireLibramember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu May 05, 2011 08:52 AM
A couple things to keep in mind:

1. A lot of "being on toes" is about having the dynamic strength necessary to rebound from a jump and absorbing the impact quickly. If you watch many slo-mo videos on Youtube you'll notice that even these amazing champions land their jumps nearly flat-footed, but they rebound quickly.

2. Some people do not have the foot structure to look like they are high on tippy toes. If you have short toes it's a lot easier than if you have long toes, where they spread out along the ground and make yourself look low. So make sure your expectations match your physique.

3. If you want something to work on, work on strengthening your arch so you are able to pull up completely. Your shin bones should be over the ball of your foot if you have optimal arch strength and flexibility. Try the exercises listed here for arch help: www.dance.net . . .

(The Peggy Cannon video is awesome and a beautiful example... but bear in mind that if we all had steps like hers it might be easier to achieve the height she has... she's not landing pluschenkos or barrelling across the stage at high speed.)
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By ReachForTheMoon
On Fri May 06, 2011 08:14 AM
Thank you for all the replies, guys! My goal now is to get as high up as I can on the balls of my foot (except when I'm landing). I'll also try to make the illusion that I stand on my tiptoes when I'm doing skips (does anyone have any tips on how to do that?).

And you say that we shouldn't dance on out tiptoes in soft shoes, but I'm wondering: Does Niamh Taylor actually just land on the balls of her foot? Because it doesn't look that way! It's amazing :)

www.youtube.com . . .
At 1:25
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes? (karma: 1)
By boleyngrrl
On Fri May 06, 2011 08:26 AM
Yes, she lands on the balls of her feet, and her heels drop. What makes the best dancers is the ability to bounce back up so quickly that it creates the illusion of just landing on your toes. If you were to just land on the balls of your feet in perfect "on your toes" form, the force from your jump would seriously injure you.

Work on your hamstrings and foot strength!! Both will help you in your quest for toe height. :D

Good luck!!!
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes? (karma: 1)
By lockedinside
On Fri May 06, 2011 06:49 PM
i 100% agree with eirelibra. you literally took every point i was about to make haha. but id just like to add that niamh has clearly had ballet unless im mistaken and that would definitely help when it comes to arching
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By IrishDancer87
On Thu May 19, 2011 12:43 PM
I agree with everyone here that you cannot dance on your "actual toes" in soft shoe like you do you in hard shoe, I think this is a good picture of an action shot as well. The only way to be "on your toes" would be if your had wood in the front of your shoes like they have in pointe shoes for ballet, etc. I agree this dancer is incredibly pointy, she gets that from having an incredible arch which can be improved upon with certain exercises. Good luck to you! Remember practice makes perfect!
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu May 19, 2011 12:53 PM
IrishDancer87 wrote:

I agree with everyone here that you cannot dance on your "actual toes" in soft shoe like you do you in hard shoe, I think this is a good picture of an action shot as well. The only way to be "on your toes" would be if your had wood in the front of your shoes like they have in pointe shoes for ballet, etc. I agree this dancer is incredibly pointy, she gets that from having an incredible arch which can be improved upon with certain exercises. Good luck to you! Remember practice makes perfect!


I don't do Irish. But I certainly do ballet and pointe. There is no wood in a pointe shoe. It's mostly paper and glue.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By FanciieeFeetmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon May 23, 2011 09:45 AM
Some people can dance high on their toes, this picture was taking by my friends who was watching my practice in my room, she liked the picture so much that she edited it and used it for her art project! Its all about strength :)
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By JadenConnorMama
On Mon May 23, 2011 12:43 PM
majere wrote:

IrishDancer87 wrote:

I agree with everyone here that you cannot dance on your "actual toes" in soft shoe like you do you in hard shoe, I think this is a good picture of an action shot as well. The only way to be "on your toes" would be if your had wood in the front of your shoes like they have in pointe shoes for ballet, etc. I agree this dancer is incredibly pointy, she gets that from having an incredible arch which can be improved upon with certain exercises. Good luck to you! Remember practice makes perfect!


I don't do Irish. But I certainly do ballet and pointe. There is no wood in a pointe shoe. It's mostly paper and glue.


.....her point was that pointe shoes do indeed have a box which is made up of SOMETHING firm, that you're not dancing on the tips of your toes without some sort of protection from your shoe.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon May 23, 2011 12:50 PM
JadenConnorMama wrote:



.....her point was that pointe shoes do indeed have a box which is made up of SOMETHING firm, that you're not dancing on the tips of your toes without some sort of protection from your shoe.


I know that that was the point. I was just correcting the misconception.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By OverTheBridge
On Thu May 26, 2011 06:52 PM
I am not only an Irish dancer, but a ballet dancer, so I can get really high on my toes. If you can't attend a ballet class or get a friend to help, I'd use some of the suggestions in the ballet (NOT pointe!) sections and try to get some DIY ballet videos. I also reccomend Jean Butler's Irish Dance Masterclass. She works a lot with getting high on your toes. Good luck!
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By luckycharms5
On Fri Jul 22, 2011 09:22 PM
I worry about my 7 year old doing to much toe work. She also takes ballet and they do not teach that yet. She just seems to have the ability to get very high on her toes. She is always buzzing around the house high on her toes. Her thighs and calves are really starting to get muscular at her age. I am worried about her hurting herself and I enlisted her ballet teacher to tell her not to be on her toes, but it hasn't worked!
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By boleyngrrl
On Sat Jul 23, 2011 07:18 PM
^^Do you mean high on her toes (but still on the ball of her foot), or en pointe (full up, weight only on toes)? En pointe is now against the rules in the entire ID world (I believe) who is under the age of 12. I believe ballet has a similar rule, and has for some time. High on her toes but still on the ball of her foot shouldn't do her too much harm--just keep an eye out for pain, which could mean stress fractures or tendonitis, both common injuries for people on their toes a lot.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By worldchampion
On Sat Jul 23, 2011 08:32 PM
My dance teachers were telling me about how she does this a few weeks ago actually. Apparently She ices her toes until they are numb minutes before she goes on to dance so that way the pain that you would normally feel from forcing yourself that high up onto your tippy toes is very VERY muted. But i think she also is just naturally very high to begin with.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By luckycharms5
On Sat Jul 23, 2011 08:47 PM
She probably has a little weight on the ball but very slight. I believe ballet is also 12 in most schools as well. We had a pair of real pointe shoes as a decoration in her room (her godmother had worn them years ago), I had to take them away because she got them off of the wall and was trying to wear them. Maybe it will help her with her irish dancing some day.
re: How do I stand on the tips of my toes?
By IrishhDancerr
On Sun Jul 24, 2011 02:13 PM
i would call myself a very high toe dancer .
2 things i did to get high toes ;

1 : i always practiced up on my toes and when it came near the end when i was tired i tried even harder .

2 : i did an exercise were you went up on your toes as high as you can til it hurts and hold it for a minute . try increasing the time little by little as you get the hang of it and do it with your back to the wall so you can use your hands to help balance yourself !

hope that helps ! :D
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