A Ballet Barre Workout Without The Barre

How to do your ballet barre workout without the barre....Choose some daily routines from class, and do them without the barre.

I have implemented this early on in a class' development. After a few months, when every student understands and executes correct technique in plies, battment tendus, battement degages, and battement frappe, I would have them do those exercises periodically, all away from the barre. Weaknesses and misunderstandings show up this way. This is one way of working smarter, as in pre-pointe exercises, to assess exactly the right level of progress for your self, or your class.

It's always a good habit to be aware of how you are using the barre. Your hand should rest on it, and your wrist should be relaxed. Pay attention to when you press down or squeeze the barre. It's exactly that moment that your weight is shifting, or your posture is changing incorrectly, or that the wrong muscle is bearing the work of a movement.

Perfection may not be possible, but understanding the mechanics of technique perfectly, and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses leads to you doing your best.

Ideally, in plies, you want to have a smooth transition when the heels lift, and when they return to the floor, without the weight shifting or a clutch of the barre.

Whenever you have a press-up in the warm up, always lift the fingers off the barre. Note if you have any strain in the neck and shoulders, and where your posture and weight is.

As in pre-pointe routines, repetition of press-ups, on two feet or one at a time, reveals your true strength.

In boys' classes, (not at a beginner level) I often gave a grand plie, back up to demi plie, and back into the full plie again before straightening fully, to build strength.

A class needs to have the basic strengths in place before a more demanding exercise like battement fondu is added to daily routines. Fondu asks for a perfect postural plumb line, whether done with low or full extensions, coordination of legs to complete the movements at exactly the same time, and much more core strength.

In your own daily routines at home, periodically add a barre exercise, done without the barre. Make a note of where your weak spots are. You can do core exercises, repetitions of press ups on two feet, and in coupe de pied, to build your basic strength.

Think of all these very basic issues when you watch your favorite dance stars perform the variations you love best.

Aside from the fact of plain true talent, you can get an edge on your competition with good self-assessment, and work smarter with simple but consistent daily routines. If your focus is pre-pointe, or you are a male student needing to strengthen and work your feet better, this dancer's guide refines your ballet barre workout. You'll never be the same!

Interesting Comment from a Pole

I read an interesting comment somewhere on the internet from a Polish person living in New York.

She complained that while back in Poland people always take their shoes off and the host may offer to let guests keep them on (an offer normally declined by the guest), in New York the situation was very different. Every time she visited a friend she would be asked to take her shoes off when she would have removed them anyway. She found it really annoying being asked to take her shoes off when she that was her normal custom.

Let me apologise in advance to any Polish people if this happens to you in my house. If you are Polish, I know from experience that you will take your shoes off without being asked, but just in case I do ask you, please be understanding.

Dear Poles, you must understand that we British and Americans are less socially advanced. People in the West have to be trained to remove their shoes. That is why some of us ask for guests to remove their shoes. But maybe if you people keep coming to our country and settling here that might change and we shall all be well mannered enough to always remove our shoes.

Beginning Pointe Work and Chiropractic Treatment For One Leg Shorter

Get your dancer's guide on self-assessments for beginning pointe work.

There are several accurate assessments that I've read recently of the problem of a dancer having one leg shorter and finding difficulty standing in an even position in ballet class. One thing I have not seen addressed is the spinal, or back bones' misalignment, or any joint misalignment that can affect the leg lengths.

If you are walking behind someone who has a back misalignment, or another joint misalignment, sometimes you can see that their shoulders are uneven.

If you see someone who needs a back adjustment, sometimes one of their hips is noticeably lower than the other. It is a little harder to notice that one leg is shorter than the other.

However, if you're standing in fifth position, the difference of having one leg shorter is like having something in your eye.

Assuming that you're not struggling with another situation like hyperextended knees, the fact of having one leg shorter could be from back misalignment.

If you visit a chiropractor, he or she is going to check (among many other things) your leg lengths.

Every major joint from the ankle through to the suboccipitals (just under your skull) can be checked and adjusted if necessary, until the two legs have the same length.

A neck or back misalignment is often the cause, or some other joint misalignment in the pelvic area.

And while you are there in the office, you can ask the doctor to check all your foot bones and make sure they are in place too.

Many chiropractors recommend that children get adjusted every three months to accommodate normal playing and sports. Many who work with serious sports players, ballet dancers and ice skaters recommend more frequent check ups, and ALWAYS when pain is experienced. Not soreness, but pain.

If you want to be assessed for pointe work, it's a good idea to get a chiropractic check up as well as any other type of physiotherapy check up. Knowing that you are strong enough, and that you don't have a back misalignment or another joint misalignment, means you can move on securely through pre-pointe daily routines, to beginning pointe work.

Whatever I Feel Like: Taking Shoes Off at the Door - Practical or Pretentious?

Whatever I Feel Like: Taking Shoes Off at the Door - Practical or Pretentious?

MotheringDotCommune: Enforcing house rules with guests

MotheringDotCommune: Enforcing house rules with guests

Some advice from the wikiHow website: How to Ask Someone to Take off Their Shoes at Your Home

* I edited this a bit, having been invited to do so by wikiHow admin. I think in real life, most people are not bothered enough to be offended at being asked.

How to Ask Someone to Take off Their Shoes at Your Home

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

When you invite someone to your house it can be pretty awkward to ask them to remove their shoes- especially if they are wearing sandals or flip- flops. Here's how to do it.


  1. Create an area clearly visible from the entrance where you can place your shoes that you have taken off. When people enter, they'll see the "shoe area" with you and your family's shoes, they'll see you (and other household members) without shoes on, and hopefully they'll put two and two together.
  2. Invite them in to the house. Try saying, "Do come in - you can put your shoes on the rack." That way the request is tagged neatly on to the invitation to enter. In fact, it would be very awkward at this point for your guest to do anything other that remove their outer footwear.
  3. Know that if they should not take the hint, ask again more firmly, but politely. Give a good reason for asking them such as having had new carpets or having just had them cleaned, the weather being particularly foul or you can say that your driveway is gritty and you're trying to minimise how much of it gets walked in.
  4. You might provide socks or slippers for guests. In Japan, it is unheard of to walk into someone's house in your shoes which are always left outside, and pretty slippers are always available. These can be bought quite cheaply in most high streets. However, you will probably find that most guests will prefer to be in socks or barefeet than wear borrowed slippers.


  • It is best to let people know in advance that you would like them to remove their shoes. You could say "Oh, by the way we don't wear shoes in our house. You may want to bring some slippers."
  • If you are inviting guests to a party, write your request for 'no shoes' on the invitation.
  • Provide socks or slippers for guests. In Japan, it is unheard of to walk into someone's house in your shoes which are always left outside, and pretty slippers are always available. These can be bought quite cheaply in most high streets.
  • Have scented foot spray available in case your guest is embarrassed at having foot odour.
  • Ultimately, it is your responsibility as a host to ensure that your guests feel welcome in your home. If your guests wish to keep their shoes on you must ask yourself which is more important - your flooring or your friends.
  • While it may be scary to ask people to take their shoes off, remember that most people will feel more comfortable for having removed their shoes. Most people will not be at all bothered by having to remove their shoes. If you are a good host, most guests will be happy regardless of whether they are in their shoes or not.


  • Some people will not understand why you wish them to remove their shoes in your home, and may be offended.
  • In some cultures, having bare feet is a sign of disrespect.
  • Some people may have a good reason for not removing their shoes - be sure you know that they are not going to be embarrassed by your request.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Ask Someone to Take off Their Shoes at Your Home. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Fantasy of Ambience

I would just love to sit for hours in an empty room with a clean white carpet. I would just love to feel the heavenly ambience.

Battement Frappe - A Ballet Barre Exercise

A ballet barre exercise, frappes are important.

Frappe is a French word for ballet meaning "struck". The inclusion in daily routines of a striking movement of the foot along the floor, to a sharp point, is one of the best ballet exercises to build strength towards jumps and pointe work. The optimum result is muscle memory that contributes to a precise and sharp push into a finely detailed jump, such as battus in all their forms.

Battement frappes is always included in the daily routines of barre work. It is a simple looking but finely detailed movement benefiting both working and supporting leg.

Battement frappe imitates the movement of a jump - from a demi plie to a full stretch of the leg and foot. By the strike of the ball of the foot on the floor, there is a quick sharp finish to the movement, like when your feet, then toes, push off the floor in a succession that is almost too quick for the eye to see.

The foot then is drawn in quickly to the coupe de pied position - and maybe rapidly taken out and into another coupe de pied position - imitating the rhythm of a battu. This develops the strength in the adductor muscles, the insides of the legs. Besides battus, it gives quality to brises, assemble and petit jetes battus, and quick cabrioles.

A rapid fire succession of single frappes en croix is a challenge to the working lower leg.

A rapid fire succession of single frappes en croix without the barre is a challenge to the core muscles, the turnout of both legs, and the body weight remaining stable over the supporting leg.

An extra challenge is the battement frappe a la arriere - behind you. It's a fast change of pelvic postiton, and recovery, relying on the whole body to remain stable over the supporting leg. It imitates an assemble travelling backwards - you must degage with a strong brush to the back, jump, change the body position of the pelvis slightly, stay strong in the core, relaxed in the neck and arms, and then land assembled, everything back in place.

The endless repetition of the finely detailed daily routines make the effortless classical presentations possible.

Picture Giselle, only one example, and all the lovely footwork demanded of the lead ballerina role - the daily grind has been done, and the optimum results show.

KU Shoe Donations

KU Dontations, originally uploaded by One World Running.

Miranda Spini stands with some of the shoes she collected, which will go to the spring central american shipment. Miranda, 24, is a University of Kansas graduate and an AmeriCorps member serving with Youth Volunteer Corps. She was the assistant cross country and swim coach last year for St. Teresa's Academy, an all girls high school. This year she is the head swim coach at St. Teresa's.

"I actively participate in road races ranging for 5K's to Marathons," says Miranda. "I also enjoy triatholons. I just hope that this small amount of shoes will make at least one persons life easier and better.

"These shoes were raised by Mid-America Running Association (MARA) after the Chilli Run on Dec. 8 in Kansas City, Kansas. The participants ran in 30 degree freezing ran that day but it did not stop them from coming out, running, and giving."

Flickr: Russian Slippers

Flickr: Russian Slippers

Everyone should have an home

Okay, this post is going to be a bit different.

While I try to keep this blog relatively separate from my religious and political opinions, I think it is right to speak out here on the issue of homelessness.

This blog is all about promoting the shoes-off rule. It is about valuing homes. People should value their home by taking their shoes off at the door. It is good for us to value our friends' homes and remove our shoes when we visit others. It is right and proper for hosts to encourage their guests to show respect in their homes by removing their shoes. Homes are precious things and we should value them.

Sadly, there are many people in the UK who are homeless.

Housing is a basic need. When we people lack a roof over their heads, they can suffer in so many ways. When there are people in society who are homeless, all kinds of social problems are caused.

I am proud of the fact that here in the UK, local government authorities have a legal duty to provide housing to homeless people. Nevertheless, there are still faults in the system. There are too many people living in temporary accomdodation. There are too many families who live in poor quality housing. And there are people who fall through the system completely and end up sleeping rough.

I have decided to link to Shelter, a UK charity that fights against homelessness and champions decent housing for all.

Shelter is sometimes associated with the Left of British politics. Maybe.

As a Conservative I believe that people need to be responsible for themselves. Nevertheless, I believe it is right that Britain is a welfare State. Sometimes people need help to get through crises in their lives and sometimes the state is best able to provide that help.

As housing is such a basic human need, I think that housing needs to be a clear priority of the government. We cannot deal with problems such as crime, substance abuse and educational failure without addressing issues of housing.

Remember that not everybody has an home, so treasure your own and always take your shoes off at the door.

New couple at our home fellowship meeting

A new twenty-something couple joined our home fellowship group yesterday evening.

They removed their shoes when they came into the house in which we meet. That followed the normal pattern at the meeting of the younger people removing their shoes and the older people keeping them on.

Athlete's Foot


An unpleasent fungal infection.

A lot of people mention Athlete's Foot as an argument against people having a shoes-off policy. However, this is a quite unnecessary concern.

Athlete's Foot is generally associated with swimming pools and changing rooms. It is possible to catch Athlete's Foot on one's barefeet at a swimming pool or in a locker room. However, recent research indicates that this is not so likely as was previously thought.

Most importantly, the reason people catch Athlete's Foot in those places is not because people there are barefoot, but because the fungus needs a warm and wet environment. People get exposed to the fungus in the damp conditions. If they fail to dry their feet, the fungus is very comfortable and even more so if the victim puts on sweaty socks.

The fungus will not survive long on the clean, dry floor or carpet of a person's home and so you are very unlikely to catch Athlete's Foot in somebody's house, even if the owner has the condition.

What is more, people who are not wearing socks are likely to put on sandals when they leave, as opposed to closed shoes. Thus, they will not create the right environment for the condition to thrive.

Of course, if you are worried about it, you can always bring some slippers or socks when you visit a shoes-off home.

People who have a shoes-off policy ought to let their visitors know in advance and be willing to lend a pair of clean socks, if not slippers.

Should One Provide Slippers for Guests?


In some Eastern European and Asian countries, guests change from their shoes into slippers provided by the host.

Some argue that if you intend to have a shoes-off policy in your home, you should keep some slippers for guests to wear. This will make them feel more comfortable and prevent embarassments such as foot odour and holes in socks.

This is a fairly good idea, but I am not so sure. If slippers are provided, then they must either be disposable plastic slippers or else slippers that can go in the washing machine. It would be quite unreasonable to expect guests to wear slippers that have been worn by somebody else that day. I am not sure whether most slippers are machine washable. Some guests might not even trust you that they really have been cleaned and may prefer to stay in bare or stocking feet.

I think the practise of providing guest slippers might be just a bit too weird for British. Many British people will have been to a house where shoes-off was required, but not many people will have been offered guest slippers to wear, unless it was in another country. I think a lot of English guests would prefer to go shoe-less, rather than wear slippers that are not their own.

I think it is a good idea to buy slippers for family and regular visitors and keep them at your house. These should be worn only by the person they are provided for. Hopefully, one's family and close friends would be delighted by this consideration.

Providing clean socks is a different matter. I would suggest keeping a supply of clean socks in different sizes by the door for guests who are not comfortable going barefoot.

I think it is very sensible to let visitors know in advance that one has a shoes-off rule in one's home. That way, they can be sure to wear socks without holes or bring their own slippers if they prefer.

The Ballet Barre - Setting Realistic Goals To Improve Your Ballet Exercises

Sometimes working smarter means doing less. For daily routines, realistic goals may be achieved by picking one aspect of your ballet barre exercises. Optimum results for muscle memory may come from a super slow motion repetition, such as press ups, maintaining your postural plumb line.

For example, if you find the tiniest deviation from your plumb line in a slow motion press up, you can identify a joint or muscle that needs to be relaxed and stretched, or strengthened.

If your weight moves a tiny bit forward at the end of your rise, pushing your hip joints forward, that means your core muscles are not holding at that point of the movement. Or it could mean that your rise was on a tiny slant.

And that movement forward may be the result of a tiny movement backward at the bottom of your demi plie. So which came first?

When your are standing in first position, you require tension in your rotator muscles, your thighs, and your core muscles.

Some students pull down at the front of their diaphragm to add to the stability of their core muscles. This will lead to shallow breathing, the shoulders collapsing forward slightly, and rigidity at the back of the neck.

If you do basic training like this for a couple of years, you will have difficulty spotting when you get to turns, just to name one out of many negative results.

So, back to first position, your core ab muscles can be held tightly, yet the chest can still move up and down easily for breathing, for allowing the chin to be free and for the muscles at the back of the neck to be free. This way you will have graceful head positions, free arm movements, and plenty of oxygen going to your muscles.

You relax your thighs and knees and ease into a demi plie, until you feel the weight press into your heels, and then you push upward, before your heels lose their pressure into the floor, and before your weight moves backward.

If your muscles are working well, you will go straight up from here and end in a perfect rise. No tension in the shoulders, neck, arms or fingers.

And you will be on balance, breathing easily, able to do a simple port de bras, able to turn or incline your head, and able to control the movement down with your foot muscles, until the heels touch the floor.

Now you are back where you started.

No matter how your proportions, your height, your weight, your flexibility, your looks, approximate the ballet ideals, you CAN do basic movements perfectly, in your ballet barre.

In Ballet Pointe Shoes - Working Smarter For Pirouettes and Fouettes En Dedans

Get your own book for the basics of perfecting technique in ballet pointe shoes.

I've written considerably about the finer details of pirouettes en dehor and fouettes, and turns a la seconde. For pirouettes en dedans, the daily routines of securing a straight up and down press up or releve, with relaxed arms, head and shoulders, is the basis for turns en dedans too. The following analysis is to help you with working smarter, developing the correct muscle memory, and attaining optimum results.

If you can now do a series of 8/16/32 en dehors pirouettes from fifth position, with relaxed spotting and a straight up and down releve, then change the series to en dehors/en dedans, en dehors/en dedans, all going to one direction. It doesn't take much force.

You can also do this without any help from the arms, by putting your hands on hips or shoulders, and making sure that the turn is coming from your legs, back, and from a grounded demi plie. In other words a good push off from heels pressed into the floor.

A pirouette en dedans from a relaxed fourth position plie, requires a sharp releve, turning out the supporting leg towards which you are turning, a push off from the back foot with just the right force, and a good easy but quick bringing the head around. You can do a single without the arms. If your posture and turnout are secure, you can do a double without the arms.

When you get to triple and you use your arms, it will be easy. No strained neck, no shoulders creeping up.

When you come from a lunge, you're just covering more movement, and hopefully not losing your postural plumb line as you ronde de jambe en dedans to a la seconde and turn, releve and bring your foot into retire simultaneously and effect an easy spin. If you lose your balance, you need to practise without the turn until you get a strong releve maintaining your plumb line.

If these tours en dedans get really strong, it's nothing to do a tour en dedans in attitude. You've trained yourself to do a double without the arms. You've trained yourself to maintain a plumb line. Now you add changing your weight to a high attitude, and again, you can do this many many times without the turn, in between classes, to get that perfect position and hold it on balance.

You don't want to lose the feeling of spin - so try for as many turns as you can in class, within the parameters of the exercise given. And do the back-peddling to perfect your finer details, after class, with another student who will watch you, and get coaching from you for the same things.

If your buddy from class will hold the hand of your supporting side, and help you do some slow motion transitions from a lunge to your retire position, you can detect and correct anything going wrong.

The exercise lying on the floor, lifting the floor-side waist up to get the spine straight, and raising both legs slowly will strengthen the back and side torso muscles. This is where you need to be stronger, if you are not able to maintain the postural plumb line on your releves and turns.

I hope you'll try these exercisees in your daily routines, enhance the finer details, and create that muscle memory along with building strength. You will achieve optimum results for both quick sharp turns and the "floating" adagio turns that are so beautiful to behold.

Strengthen your work in ballet pointe shoes with this comprehensive dancer's guide.

Fabulous Finds: Seven Reasons to Remove Your Shoes

Fabulous Finds: Seven Reasons to Remove Your Shoes

Thanks go to Richyrich for directing me to this one.

I do notice that a lot of blogs that post on this issue have an emphasis on 'going green'. That rather makes mine an odd one out. However, if 'going green' makes me people get into the habit of taking their shoes off at the door, I won't give them any Eco-Scepticism.

Degrees of Firmness part 2


I think for friends I would go for the very direct no.6 (Could you take your shoes off, please?) and for people I did not know, I would use the more restrained no.4 (Are you alright with taking your shoes off?).

It may be that you are just too shy to use the more direct requests. However, you might find that the softest approach no.1 works a lot of the time. If you are barefoot and there are a lot of shoes by the door, you may get the right reaction just by saying:

You can take your shoes off here, if you like.

Degrees of Firmness


1. You can take your shoes off here if you like.

2. We take our shoes off here.

3. We do like visitors to take their shoes off.

4. Are you alright with taking your shoes off?

5. You don't mind taking your shoes off, do you?

6. Could you take your shoes off, please?

7. Take your shoes off, please.

8. Shoes off.

9. Shoes off now!

Dangerous Weapons

I noticed a girl at church today who was wearing shoes with incredibly sharp metal heels. They were so narrow they looked like needles. I am sure she must have left some holes in the church carpet.

The National Trust (an English heritage organisation) has a rule that if you visit their properties and you are wearing heels smaller than a postage stamp, you have to change into slippers. The heels this girl was wearing looked smaller than a pencil point.

Fortunately, I know her parents do not allow shoes in their house. Very sensible people.



Some people are of the opinion that it is very important that guests have the choice of whether to keep their shoes on or not.

However, it is not as simple as that. Some choices may impose on the choices of others.

Some visitors may want to take their shoes off, but may fear that doing so will be considered rude. Being informed that shoes-off is encouraged will be a great welcome for these people.

The shoes-on folks might then argue, "Yes, but you can still let people keep their shoes on without imposing on the people who prefer to go shoeless."

However, this is not the case. Firstly, those people who want to take their shoes off may fear, if there are lots of other guests, particularly at a party, that their feet may get squashed by other peoples' shoes. In a crowded party, it can be hard to avoid having people tread on your toes.

Secondly, people who take their shoes off will prefer to walk on a floor that is cleaner. In fact, there is another issue here, as Angie pointed out in a previous post. Some guests will enjoy sitting on the floor. And sitting on the floor is a much more pleasent experience when it is clean. So allowing guests the choice of wearing shoes imposes on those who like to sit on the floor.

The simple truth is that no host can please everybody. However, there are far more good reasons to insist on shoes coming off at the door than for allowing shoes to stay on. Let guests chose between slippers, socks ot barefeet. That is choice enough.

Increase Ballet Turnout - Ronde de Jambe

Get your own copy of the book that shows you how to increase ballet turnout.

This is an exercise you can do separately from class in daily routines at home, and also use as a focus in your ronde de jambe a terre in class. Even if you're not working in ballet shoes and pointe shoes, this will get you optimum results in strength and muscle memory utilizing primarily the rotator muscles. Recommended for all styles of dance, it is almost a full body workout.

In class, doing ronde de jambe a terre, there is a tiny section of movement where you can feel the rotator muscles, the back of the thigh, in a struggle to hold your turnout in both legs.

It is the pointe where you leave a la seconde and move toward a la arriere.

A lot of muscle strength is needed right here. As the foot draws away from a la seconde, pulling the leg seemingly away from the hip socket in a lengthening pull, the core muscles pull up and away from the legs, and the supporting leg pushes down into the floor to also keep its length.

You try to keep the turnout as the leg is circled toward a la arriere. You keep the spine long as the working hip opens, but only as much as it needs to, to reach the arriere position. I prefer an arriere position where the working leg is behind the working hip, not crossed over to be behind the spine.

Crossing over to the center point of the body brings too much compensation as very few people have the turnout to even attempt this. There is enough strength required simply to maintain turnout and body position without this extra challenge.

Hopefully, even in advanced classes, the teacher does some ronde de jambe a terre very slowly during the exercise, to allow activation of the rotator muscles and maintenance of the full body position.

If this does not occur in class, you definitely need to practice this at home or after class.

The mental image is full of finer details - doing this in your imagination will actually help when you stand up or do the floor exercise.

First, review the muscle dynamics:

*** the working foot draws away from a la seconde aiming for the widest circular movement possible;
*** the supporting side core muscles pull up and away from the pull of the working leg, with a push down feeling through the supporting leg, all of which maintains the elongation of the whole body posture;
*** this work in the supporting side also keeps the body weight from being pulled back onto the heel;
*** this elongation is therefore maintained when the working hip opens, allowing the optimum result in the turnout as the a la arriere position is reached;
*** once the position is reached, the torso above the waist is still square and the working hip is not bunched up toward the body, but the whole working side is elongated;
*** you can let go of the barre, lift the foot up an inch and maintain your position.

As a floor exercise, lie down on your back, use a rolled towel under the neck to help keep it supported and relaxed. You can relax the arms across your stomach. Do a tendu to your a la seconde position. Then circle back one inch, without losing your body position or supporting leg turnout. Move the leg back to your a la seconde position. Repeat ten times each side. Draw out and down with the foot, elongating the leg.

Turnout is harder to hold in pointe shoes, so your pre-pointe work is crucial.

Always relax and stretch after practicing, and often during class. Turn IN between exercises. This will help you increase ballet turnout.

It is not Selfish to ask Visitors to Remove their Shoes


Some people claim it is selfish to ask visitors to remove their shoes. They think that it shows excessive concern for one's carpet or flooring.

On the contrary it is not selfish at all.

Firstly, there is an health issue involved. Peoples' shoes pick up dust and animal excrement which is not good for one's health and especially bad for the health of one's children. If one has babies or small children that play on the floor it is extremely sensible to keep one's home shoe-free.

There are many worries today about the health risks posed by pollution, toxins and chemicals. Personally, I think many of these health scares are exagerrated. Many of the supposed health risks have not been scientifically verified. However, it is best to keep as much nasty stuff out of the house as possible.

Secondly, the notion of selfishness here is relative. In a country where shoe-removing is the norm, like Finland or Russia, it would hardly be selfish to insist on shoes-off.

In Britain or the USA, where keeping shoes on is the norm, there are many people who would like to insitute a shoes-off policy, but who are afraid of causing offence or being deemed 'selfish.' If a person is brave enough to insist on shoes-off, she makes it easier for those other people who feel that they would like to make their homes shoe-free. In time, the norms of the UK and the USA may change and shoe-removing may become as normal as it is in Thailand or Sweden.



I believe there is an issue of stewardship here.

All that we have is a gift from God. We may enjoy our posessions, but we do need to give account to the Lord of how we have used them.

Carpet cleaning services are necessary to keep homes really clean, but they are very expensive. Replacing carpets costs even more. Having a shoes-off policy considerably reduces the need for maintaining carpets and other kinds of flooring. Therefore, as stewards of God's gifts, I would suggest that Christians ought to strongly consider the benefits of having a shoes-off policy in their homes.

Clean homes can also be more effectively used in the service of the Kingdom. Homes can be put to so many uses; entertaining visiting speakers, providing shelter for those who need it, hosting fellowship meetings (I think a good case can be made for holding all church meetings in homes) and Church lunches. Keeping homes shoe-free means that larger numbers of people can be accomdated at the home with minimal impact. It also makes the floor a safer place for small children and babies.



You may not have a baby at crawling age
But if you ask visitors to your home to remove their shoes, you send a message that it is acceptable to keep your home shoe-free. That makes life easier for those who do have crawling babies.

You may not have a new carpet
You may have an old carpet that needs replacing or a wooden
floor that is covered in scratch marks. But if you have a shoes-off policy, it will make it easier for those who do have a new carpet to do the same.

You may not live in an area where there is pesticide on the ground
But if you have a no-shoes rule in your house, it will make those who do need to require shoes-off feel more comfortable about it.

New Slippers

I got some new slippers on Friday, from Marks and Spencers. They are really comfortable.

They are these ones.

Pointe Shoe Strength - The Multifunctional Degage

A lot of focus on footwork goes to pointe shoe strength daily routines. Here is an addendum to the multi-functional degage ballet exercise. In working the toes to give a sharp, strong quality to jumps, as well as to pointe work, you help build strength in the foot muscles, relieving the calf muscles of over-training and residual tension.

Here is an exercise you can add to daily routines in order to build foot strength.

I will assume that you've already done some playing piano with the toes, and toe swapping - picking up the big toes separately, and then the other four, separately. These exercises build strength and also fine tune your communication with all those tiny little foot muscles.

This exercise is to build strength in the toes. It is the movement that completes a battement degage, the final push off that the toes do. It is a little different here.

Do a battement tendu a la seconde, stopping when the arch is fully stretched but the toes are on the floor. Now relax your leg, feeling its weight. Then, using only the toe muscles, pop the foot off the floor. Let the leg fall back to the tendu position, toe joints relaxed, arch held. Relax the leg, feeling its weight, and again, using only the toes, pop the foot off the floor.

Then repeat 8-10 more times, rapid little degage from the 3/4 pointe position to the fully pointed degage position. Close, demi plie to relax.

Repeat with the other leg. This repetition of the final tiny sharp movement of the toes builds strength, builds muscle memory, and adds an extra quality to your releves and sautes.

An advanced version of this is doing a succession of sautes in first position, with no demi plie. Facing the barre, in first position, do a saute just by pointing both feet. You may not make it off the floor. It is just to get a feeling of the strength and power in the feet, independent of the calves and legs. This is NOT a daily routine, but something to do once a week or so and feel the build up of strength from doing other pre-pointe type exercises. You can actually develop the strength to do a few sautes, with no plie. Controlling coming down through the foot is important.

Always keep length in the toes, no curling them!

Use a rubber or golf ball to roll under the foot muscles and relax them, and include the under part of the toes. Relaxing those little muscles, and stretching them gently, will enhance the muscles tone.

Soaking your feet in warm water with epsom salts, or apple cider vinegar, or sea salt, or sliced ginger, and then icing them for a few minutes, is the icing on the cake for your foot muscles.

Muscle memory for relaxing is important too!

Get your own copy of the dancer's guide for pointe shoe strength in ballet exercises.

Some Serious Theology- Are you a Tramplian or an Offalist?


You may be sick of the Calvinist/ Arminian debate, so let me introduce you to some new theological terms; Tramplian and Offalist.

Tramplians like to trample the carpets or flooring of their homes with their shoes on. They find it rather objectionable to be asked to remove their shoes when visiting somebody else's home.

The central principle in Tramplian theology is the freedom of the will. They believe that they should be the ones to decide whether they take their shoes off at a dinner party. Their attitude is "I decided what outfit to wear. I decided what shoes to wear. I should be able to keep them on if I like". They do not believe that a hostess should impose shoelessness on them.

Tramplians have a strong belief in the goodness of hosts. They consider that a hostess should be above all concerned for her guests wishes and convenience above keeping her home clean. They believe that if a hostess likes them enougth to invite them into her home, she will accept them with their shoes on.

Tramplians believe in the power of their own ability to keep their shoes clean. They consider themselves to be grown-up and to be careful about what they tread on. They do acknowledge that their shoes can be tainted by the corruption of dirty streets, however they hold that this can easily be dealt with by wiping their feet on their hostess' doormat. Their shoes can be restored to cleanliness by the exercise of their will.

Offalists in contrast, always remove their shoes at the door. Offalists believe in the Total Depravity of the soles of their shoes. The corruption of city streets has completely ruined the condition of their shoes, they argue, and the only hope is a change of nature for their feet, namely into slippers or clean socks. The Offalist pays heed to warnings about the health risks of pesticide, lead paint and animal excrement.

The Offalist upholds the sovereignty of the host. The hostess has been very generous in inviting her guests, however, she is sovereign over her own home and has the authority to set the rules. She will not allow anything corrupt to defile her home. Those who would enter her home must not come in their own shoes, but must meet her condition of a change into slippers or stocking feet.

The Offalist holds that the root problem of the Tramplian's theology is human pride. The Tramplian is proud of her ability to make decisions about her outfit. She is proud of her Manolos, her Prada heels or her Jimmy Choo boots. She is too proud to combine her outfit with stocking feet. She resents the idea that her hostess would not accept her in her own shoes.

The Offalist argues that if the Tramplian would only forsake her pride, she would actually find that she was far more comfortable in slippers, socks or bare feet. Her determination to remain in her stilettos will in the end hurt her feet and drag her to destruction. She may well remain outside the dinner party in the outer darkness.

37 Reasons for Having a Shoes-Off Policy in Your Home


37 Reasons for having a shoes-off policy in your home:

1. Carpets are not easy to clean.
2. Carpets absorb dust and become breeding grounds for dust mites, causing the development of asthma and allergies.
3. If you do not have a carpet, the dust will not be absorbed and you are likely to breathe it in.
4. Shoes can leave marks on wood, PVC and marble floors.
5. Shoes can scratch wood flooring, especially if they have high heels.
6. Boots and high heeled shoes can cause wear and tear to carpets.
7. That goes for rugs as well.
8. Shoes pick up small particles of grit that cause wear and tear to carpets.
9. Shoes pick up traces of petrol fumes and industrial pollution.
10. Shoes can pick up pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals.
11. Shoes pick up traces of animal excrement.
12. Ever noticed how much chewing gum there is stuck to the streets?
13. In a square mile, there are more insects than people on the planet. How many do you think you have squashed on your shoes?
14. If you have a crawling baby, do you want him or her to be exposed to the dirt from people's shoes?
15. In rain or snow, you are less likely to get the floor wet.
16. If you live near a beach, you will bring less sand into the house.
17. If you have a crawling baby, you will do less damage if you accidently step on him or her.
18. If you get mad and kick the cat or dog, you will do less damage (apologies to animal lovers).
19. If your children play rough, they will do less damage.
20. It creates a less formal atmosphere.
21. It creates a greater sense of relaxation.
22. Your guests will become more like you by removing their shoes and will feel part of the family.
23. An oriental, Scandinavian or East European visitor will feel more at home.
24. It teaches children the importance of respecting and looking after things.
25. Psychologically, removing your shoes helps you to enter a frame of mind where you keep your everyday troubles outside your home.
26. It is more comfortable.
27. It is healthier for you feet to take your shoes off during the day.
28. Small children with growing feet should wear shoes only to the minimum.
29. If you wear high-heeled shoes, your feet badly need a break.
30. You can put your feet up on the sofa without taking your shoes off first (Dont tell me you put your feet on the sofa with shoes on?).
31. You can put your feet up on the coffee table without taking your shoes off first.
32. If you ever visit Japan, it will seem less weird.
33. If you are ever arrested and they confiscate your shoes, along with your belt and jewellery, it will seem less weird.
34. Your feet smell less if you do not wear shoes all day.
35. When you lovingly chastise your children, you will have a slipper to hand.
36. It was a Biblical custom (come on, did they wash their feet with shoes on?)
37. Do you really think the Saints in Glory are going to trample the sparkling, clean New Jerusalem with shoes on?

You Tube:Crazy girl getting arrested

You Tube:Crazy girl getting arrested

I thought I would post this video link again. I know it is not about shoe removal in homes, but it does feature shoes-off in a rather different context.

I think it is rather funny the way the police officers are trying so hard to be nice to the girl. One can understand the girl being rather distressed, but it is not down to the police officers' treatment of her.

I just the love the line from the female cop "I'm here to talk to you and make you feel better." I do hope the British police are that nice in the event of my being one of their guests.

Apartment Therapy: Is Shoes Off at a Party Proper?

Apartment Therapy: Is Shoes Off at a Party Proper?

I have posted this link at least twice before. The discussion started in 2006 and people still keep commenting there.

This one got rather heated in places.

Ballet Moves - Ronde de Jambe A Terre

Get your own copy of a ballet tips guide to improve your ballet moves.

Every ballet exercise can be broken down into tiny parts. A good dance technique is in store for you if you can get the correct technical information on every basic exercise. If you select one exercise, or one component of an exercise, to put into your daily routines, and rotate the selections that relate to your particular technical weaknesses, you'll have an ongoing regimen for building strength. Here is a little analysis that you might not find in a book at the ballet store.

Ronde de jambe a terre is the phrase of French ballet words that mean "rotation of the leg on the floor", as opposed to "en l'air" which means you raise the leg up off the floor. You can build strength with extra standing or floor exercises.

Ronde de jambe a terre develops the rotator muscles in the back of the pelvic area, specifically. It is a whole body workout as you are also holding the turnout in the supporting leg, keeping the weight balanced properly on the supporting foot, using the support of the barre sparingly, maintaining your postural plumb line, and working your core muscles well so that the neck and shoulders are not straining.

And, if you can take a barre ronde de jambe exercise into the center and execute it, you have achieved a considerable result in building strength!

Ronde de jambe en dehors, or circling outward from your tendu devant, seems simple. You draw a circle outward from tendu devant, towards a la seconde, maintaining your maximum turnout in both legs. Nothing else changes. You end the movement at your second position, as far to the side that YOU can go without losing turnout or balance. Lift the foot off the floor an inch, and take your hand off the barre. Be aware of any change of position, or ankle and foot movement to maintain balance on the supporting side. These are the details that tell you how to improve.

Floor exercises can be very helpful, especially if you are tired from previous classes, or your other daily routines. When you lie on the floor, place a cervical pillow or a rolled towel under your neck, to support the curve and help avoid straining those muscles. Place your arms a la seconde, and your feet in first.

Extend one leg forward to a tendu devant position. (If you roll to either side, your turnout has changed in one of your legs, or your abs and back muscles cannot hold the position). From your balanced position, slowly circle the tendu foot toward your second position. If you lose balance again, go back the point where you can hold your position with your turnout and core muscles.

You can also relax your arms, folding them across your stomach. Don't place them on the floor unless you are really off balance. If any muscles cramp, stop and stretch and relax them, and continue.

It doesn't matter if you do this on each side for a while, only moving partially to a la seconde. You are strengthening your turnout position exactly where you need to.

You can also tendu a la seconde, and circle toward the tendu devant position, working for a balanced position without strain. This is ronde de jambe en dedans, or inwards.

Always relax the legs, and turn IN to relax the rotator muscles, often during class and in your daily practice routines at home. Use a rubber ball, leaning into it around the hips, under the thighs and calves, under the tibial muscles and the foot muscles. It's a great massage. You will hit some very tender spots that you can work on daily. This will also tell you where you are straining, and where you need to strengthen.

No matter what your level is, whether you are pre-pointe, pre-pas-de-deux, or more advanced, your daily routines will be useful especially during holidays, so you don't get strained or injured when you return to class.

Although many ballet stores sell technical books on ballet, I am not aware of any right now that pick things apart the way technical points needs to be explained.

This is just one piece of one exercise, but very powerful.

Look here for a wonderful detailed analysis of daily routines with self-assessment charts and other organizational material, about ballet moves.

Under-Floor Heating

I spent New Years Eve with a family from my church yesterday.

In the lounge they had under-floor heating. It was lovely and warm.

If I had not taken my shoes off at the door, I am sure my feet would have been drenched in sweat.

Under-floor heating is quite common in shoe-removing South Korea.

I am sure under-floor heating is expensive, but it does go really well with having a shoes-off policy.