Photo Credit: Flint Rehab
No matter the genre, well-developed feet are critical for all dancers. That's why you should always provide consistent attention and care to your feet to improve your performance. When the feet are strong, movements are smoother, more stable. For upbeat dancing, strong feet let you jump high and land safely on the floor.
The Importance of Foot Strength in Dance
When the feet are strong, you’ll be able to execute the correct technique, and this does two things. One, it enables you to achieve the perfect form for better visual impact. Second, strong feet prevent accidents and injuries.
Weak feet often lead to incorrect use of the feet while dancing, which causes a ripple effect that affects how the rest of the body moves. You’re unable to react quickly, leading to a lack of transition into the next move and coordination with your dance partner. Your timing becomes off, and you’re unable to shift to the proper position as the music changes rhythm. When this happens, you cannot keep up with the music or your dance partner, essentially doing a poor performance.
By strengthening the feet, you’ll be able to use the legs and feet with accuracy. You can jump, leap, sway, and glide in time with the music. You’ll be able to keep up with your dance partner and perform the footwork without missing a beat. All the moves you’ll execute in a performance are connected to your feet.
Because a dancer moves in ten different directions at once when dancing, it’s essential to shift the bodyweight quickly and build excellent coordination. This takes proper weight-bearing and strengthening of the joints and bones. Practicing and performing regular foot strengthening exercises help improve bone density, muscle strength, and flexibility, all of which improve your performance as a dancer.
How to Strengthen the Foot
Working on the alignment: We've discussed the importance of foot alignment, which you can read here. One of the most obvious signs that a dancer is not using the correct alignment is the heaviness of the footfalls during a performance. If the feet fall too heavily on the floor, it's a sign that the body weight is shifted in the wrong place and that the dancer hasn't learned how to work through their feet.
Regular practice: Regular practice builds muscle strength. Fitness is beneficial to the muscles, any muscle group, including the muscles in the feet. The feet consist of a network of muscles and ligaments that support your every step. You have to train regularly to keep you stable on your feet whenever you dance. Isolation exercises are perfect for strengthening feet muscles for better footwork.
Dance shoes: Apart from isolation exercises and continuous practice, wearing the right Latin dance shoes improves foot strength. When dancing, you have to feel the floor to articulate the feet fully, something that you can’t do as efficiently when wearing regular shoes.
Dance shoes like Yami Latin dance shoes are designed for dancing. These shoes come with features that will optimize your performance, like cushioned insoles, microfiber or suede outsoles, sturdy heel cups, and supportive ankle straps. The shoes are very flexible, so you’re not using the ankles too much, which could cause them to lose strength in their intrinsic muscles.
At-Home Foot Strengthening Exercises