Posted by: Leslie White | October 2, 2009


So not only are ballet dancers incredibly strong and graceful, but their anatomy is visibly different from ours. To create beautiful poses, ballet dancers will stretch their joints to the point of hyper-extension. While this creates aesthetically pleasing lines, you can see in the picture below that it has a startling effect on their anatomy. 

 image from

I found one x-ray of a foot in a pointe ballet shoe and overlayed it onto a photograph I took of my ballerina friend, Erika Christiansen. The x-ray image is from I am still looking for x-ray images of ballet dancers, so if anyone knows of a good source, please let me know!!

Erika on pointe



  1. Oh, to have all the x-rays I’ve had taken over the years! I’ve had them on my wrist, arm, hips, feet, and coccyx. I chipped my first bone when I was 11. I don’t have all of the films I’ve had taken, but I’m actually being referred to Mayo for my foot and that necessitates getting copies of my most recent x-rays and MRIs. If they have me transport instead of UPS, I’ll see that some copies find their way to you.

    When I was 14 they told me that if I didn’t slow down the dancing and running, I would need hip replacements by the time I was 40. My dance instructor taught me to hold my arms a certain way so the hyper-extension would be less exaggerated. My feet ache at the end of the day, and my joints sound like a percussion session when I do an extension. I feel (and hear) the bones in my foot “cracking” as I walk.

    I know ballets seem pointless and unnatural…but I cry when I see them, because I know the control and euphoria behind it all. It’s like a panacea for the soul. I think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. 🙂

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