Unless you hit the genetic jackpot and came out the womb looking like Svetlana Zakharova, most of us have to train very hard to recreate the form and grace that ballet requires. Some dancers have beautiful arches, but they don’t fit the rail-thin image of the Soviet ballerina; others may have a very thin frame, but less-than-stellar feet. Despite these seeming imperfections, physical attributes alone do not make a memorable artist. With a little confidence and strategy, these dancers can turn perceived “weaknesses” into strengths.
Perceived "Weakness" #1: You don't have great feet.
The solution: Focus on your upper body.
Don’t misunderstand—you do need to work on improving your feet. Floppy feet and flexed toes are unacceptable. However, not all dancers possess the gorgeous arches you see on the cover of Pointe Magazine; some of us (myself included) have “straight” feet, meaning we have strong pointed toes and ankles, but lack the signature banana-like curve that’s characteristic of “perfect” ballet feet. Some dancers are downright flat-footed. Don’t despair. It doesn’t exactly make pointe work a breeze, but dancers with average feet can still be proficient, talented artists. The key to drawing attention away from your feet? Develop exceptional grace and fluidity in your upper body. These dancers need to learn how to successfully distract the audience from mediocre arches and shift the spotlight to their head, neck, torso, arms, and hands. Yes, this perceived “weakness” is actually a wonderful opportunity for a dancer to hone their port de bras and develop appropriate facial expressions.