Unless you’re in the Trocks or performing a character role, there aren’t many opportunities for men to perform on pointe. But that doesn’t mean pointe should be off-limits. In fact, it’s a chance to strengthen your facility and boost your technique.
It Strengthens Your Ankles
“I think every dancer can benefit from a good pointe barre class for feet and ankle strengthening,” says Jonathan Porretta, a Pacific Northwest Ballet principal who has taught at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s summer program and Ballet Academy East. It makes your arches stronger and more flexible, and it can help with balance since it gives you a new awareness of where your weight is.
It Makes Your Whole Body Work Harder
“In flats you tend to forget where your feet are and you can sink into the shoe more easily,” says Roberto Vega, who dances with Nashville Ballet 2. “On pointe, I pull up a lot more and I think about not rolling in.” Matthew Poppe, who dances with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, has noticed increased hip and ankle flexibility from the stretching he does to maintain proper alignment on pointe. He credits the shoes with extending his line, as well; the extra length of the shoe’s box is a constant reminder of how far his extension can go.
It Helps You Feel Lifted
Megan Connelly, ballet mistress and rehabilitation specialist at The Australian Ballet, says the men who recently studied pointe to perform Bottom in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream “discovered a whole new ‘lift’ in their pelvis,” which helped them with balance and stability. And David McAllister, TAB’s artistic director, told the Sydney Morning Herald that he could see the strength they gained from pointe training in their jumps.
It Gives You A New Perspective
Having the experience of dancing on pointe can help you empathize with the women you’re partnering—and choreographing on.
A version of this story appears in Dance Magazine‘s February 2017 issue.