When is your dancer ready to go en pointe?

 In Announcements, Ask The Experts, Informative


When young dancers begin their ballet journey their goal is to dance en-pointe, emulating the beautiful lines and imagery associated with the iconic ballet dancer.

Whilst aiming for this progression, it is vitally important that dancers recognise they are unique. Children develop physically and mentally at varying rates and as such dancers will begin their pointe training at different chronological ages. The progression must not be approached as a race, but more as an individual journey. Trust your teacher as she will know when it is safe to make the transition whilst avoiding injury and potential longterm problems.

A good starting point is the pre-pointe class. This hour long class focuses solely on the foundational work required to get the dancer’s feet strengthened, and ready for the rigors of pointe work. It is suitable for; the dancer aiming to progress to pointe in the future, a dancer wanting to improve their footwork, and a dancer already on pointe wanting to further strengthen their feet. Students may join the pre-pointe class by invitation only. Please let your teacher know so that she can assess your readiness. This class requires demi-pointe shoes (available from our store).

Sample Pre-pointe class

The progression from demi-pointe to full pointe is a complex one with many physical and developmental factors needing to be taken into consideration; maturity, strength and development of the feet, core strength and balance. Pointe work places great demands on the ankle and foot as their joints plantar flex to move into the pointe position, in fact no other position in dance is more extreme than this.

The following is intended to give you an idea of the pre-requisites for pointe work.

Dancers should be able to:

*maintain turnout whilst dancing
*maintain correct posture, with straight back and correct alignment.
*avoid sickling and keep the heel forward
*demonstrate sufficient, but not too much, flexibility (but not instability) and motion in the ankles  and feet.
*plié whilst dancing
*dance with a strong pointed toe
*be able to maintain balance whilst holding a passe on relevé
*Perform a piqué passé with a straight leg
*be able to properly carry out pointe exercises.

Dancers should be:

*enrolled in at least 4 ballet classes per week
*committed with little or no absences, and able to take their classes seriously
*responsible and able to remember what to bring to class each week
*in good health and able to take the physical demands of multiple classes each week without sitting out or resting.
*attentive and able to take direction well in order to avoid injury
*assessed as suitable for pointe work – this can only be determined by your teacher.

It is essential that dancers’ pointe shoes are fitted for them by a professional pointe shoe fitter.

We are as excited as you are about your ballet journey but please be patient, work hard, listen to direction and trust your teacher. You will progress to pointe work at the right time for you.

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