If you’re a dancer, or if your feet go into spasms when you have to point one and flex the other, you’ve likely struggled with the dilemma – to point, or not to point? Friends, that IS the question.
During some moves, my students regularly hear me holler, “FLEX FOR JESUS” while they’re whizzing around in the ceiling. It’s a reminder to commit to a strong, well-placed, deliberately flexed foot, which goes a long way towards keeping your butt safely in the air.
Hold the Phone – Shouldn’t I ALWAYS Point Everything in Circus?
Well, no. There are a few reasons you might not want to point your foot!
- When your flexed foot is keeping you alive (example: single ankle hang).
- When you’re being “contemporary”, and using ALL the flexed feet.
- When you’re having a leg spasm in the air because you haven’t been to class in a month. Ahem.
When to Rock a Flexed Foot
To every thing there is a season, and that goes double for feet (HA! Folks, I’ll be here all week). There are times when a flex is not only appropriate, but essential.
- When…it…just is! Some moves just work best with a strong flex. Now, while rules are meant to be broken, and many “flex only” moves can be modified to look pointy, leave it to the super advanced students.
- When you need a larger margin of error. When you’re first learning a traditionally flex-y-foot-y move (kidney squisher, for example), commit to the flex! You want to increase your margin of error, not decrease it by using a sickle-point, which can pop off unexpectedly. If a move is working really well (pssst – ask your coach – your definitions of “working really well” may differ), it might be time to play with….
The Sneaky Sickle-Point!
Some moves (think “crochet up the pole”) should start with a flex; once you and this move are besties, you can safely sneak your foot in a sickle-point. It really is a matter of personal preference – a strong flex is a clean, often aesthetically pleasing choice, so commit to one or the other and do it loud and proud.
What does a Good Flex Look Like?
In a strong flexed position, the heel should be pushing towards the ceiling, with the shin flush with the fabric or rope. The knee should be pressing straight (again, push like you’re trying to leave a heel print on the ceiling), and the foot should NOT be sickled – it should be nice & straight. Make sure you’re not doing YOGA TOES, where you press through the ball of your foot (also called demi-point).
What does a Good Sickle-Point Look Like?
You want a nice strong foot (VIAGRAVATE IT), with a sickle that corresponds to the level of “OH CRAP” you will experience if your foot comes off. For example, if it just means your foot pops off & the fabric slides up your hoo hoo, well, it’s not the best, but it’s not catastrophic – a light sickle is fine. On the other hand, if the oh-crap level is high, as in you get slingshot-ed 20 feet off the fabric, you might want to play that one a little safer.
All in all, don’t be afraid of the flex, make it your friend! Trying to sneak into a sickle-point before you’re ready, or forgetting to flex enough, can have unexpected consequences (chiefly, you splatted on the floor). Go slow and steady, and check with your coach before leveling up to the sickle-point; or, just enjoy the flex! Love and pull-ups, Laura
Special thanks to my lovely foot model Megan Harris!
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