Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. PC Zoran Jelenic

Men, This Is Why You Should Train on Pointe

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.

Jonathan Porretta, PC Angela Sterling

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.

Luke Marchant and Cameron Hunter of The Australian Ballet preparing for The Dream. PC Lynette Wills.

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.

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Studio Bleu students Jaxon Keller, Samantha Halker and Alia Wiggins. Photos by Chris Stark

How Turning Boards and Practice Mats Can Revolutionize Your Dance Training

When it comes to equipment, dancers don't need much—just shoes and whatever can fit in their dance bag. But between rehearsals in the studio and performances on stage, one major piece of equipment often goes overlooked—the floor.

Dancers too often find themselves warming up on the concrete or carpet backstage, or wanting to practice in a location without a proper floor. For years, Harlequin Floors has offered a solution to this problem with its innovative turning board, offering a portable and personal floor that can be flipped between marley and wood. Now, they've revolutionized portability again with their practice mat, offering dancers the option to roll up their own personal floor and sling it over their shoulders like a yoga mat.

We spoke with experts from every corner of the dance industry to see how Harlequin's products have become their everyday essentials:

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