In Defense of "Bad" Feet

I have an odd confession to make: I enjoy watching dancers who have bad feet. And I don't just mean that I can appreciate good dancers in spite of their stereotypically "bad" ballet feet. I actually like their lack of instep and/or little arch.

 

Don't get me wrong—I'll drool over a pair of banana feet as much as the next bunhead. I can stare at photos of Alessandra Ferri's feet for several minutes on end. And sometimes when I watch Paloma Herrera dance I think I don't notice anything above her ankle.

 

But I also love it when instead of being a comma at the end of a dancer's line, her feet are more of an exclamation point. Who decided that flatter feet should be shunned in ballet? I find they can make a dancer's line looks like it never ends. As long as she uses her feet well and points through her ankle's full range of motion (and the range includes at least being able to make a straight line from her shin to the top of her arch), feet that shoot straight out instead of curving around can be just as beautiful to me. 

 

Feet are one of those parts of our bodies that after a certain point, we simply can't change. Instead of hopelessly sticking our arches under pianos or walking around on the tops of our metatarsals, maybe one day the ballet world will see the beauty of different shapes, and we will all become a little less footist.