Pointe

Are You Ready For Pointe?

Ever wonder why getting en pointe takes so long? Pointe work can be dangerous and permanently damaging to your feet if you are not properly trained and not ready to dance en pointe.

Your teacher has trained and is knowledgeable and doesn’t take this decision lightly. Several factors are involved before dancers are given the green light. We know nothing will ever compare to that magical moment when the words “You’re ready for pointe shoes!” leaves your teacher’s lips…but FIRST you must meet certain criteria.

These requirements are to ensure every student has the best possible success and experience en pointe.

 The dancer must be at least 11 years old.

  • The bones of the feet do not fully develop and harden until approximately 13-15 years old.
  • A dancer must be strong enough to help protect the developing bones.
  • Beginning pointe too early can permanently damage immature bones.
  • It’s crucial that you do not start pointe work when your bones are too soft. You could develop growth-plate fractures, which can cause foot deformities (yuck!).
  • If in doubt, please see an orthopedic doctor and have your feet x-rayed.

The dancer must have at least 3 years of consistent training in ballet.

  • Dancers must have a strong foundation of classical ballet training before pointe work is added.
  • The dancer must be taking 2-3 dance classes a week consistently. (Preferably 2 ballet classes.)

The dancer must be able to hold correct turnout while dancing from flat to ¾ pointe. (A minimum of 145o turnout is desired).

 

1st Position

Maintaining Turnout

 

 

  • Correct turnout is achieved from the hips and not from the feet and knees.
  • The foot, the knee cap, and the hip joint are aligned.
  • Correct turnout should be easily maintained in demi-pointe.

The dancer must be able to maintain a strong, straight, engaged core while dancing.

  • A straight, engaged core is held by BOTH the back muscles but more importantly, by the lower abdominals.
  • Dancers must demonstrate the ability to use their core strength to lift up and out of their pointe shoes.

The dancer must be able to perform a correct demi-plies and grande-plies in 1st, 2nd, and 5th positions in center.

 

  • Plies should be performed with turnout from the hips while maintaining the knee cap in line with the 2nd toe.

The dancer should always have a fully pointed foot.

 

Fully Pointed Foot with Turnout

 

The dancer must be able to maintain straight legs through the knees and hamstring while in releve.

 

Straight Legs Through Hamstring

Zero Position

 

 

  • The dancer must be at zero station while sitting in pike position.
  • When sitting on the floor, the back of the knee must be touching the floor.

The dancer must maintain level hips while in pique passé (and retire) with straight supporting leg.

 

 

 

The dancer must have a minimum of 90o develope to the front and side.

 

At 90, Side View

Above 90 Rear View

 

 

The dancer should have enough strength to push themselves onto ¾ pointe.

  • This step is harder to do en pointe and a bent leg is usually a sign of weakness or improper step preparation.
  • The dancer must be able to do 16 relevés en center while maintaining balance and engaging core.
  • Relevés are excellent for building up calf muscle strength, which is vital for pointe work.

The dancer must be able to hold their relevés in 1st, 2nd, and 5th positions en center for a minimum of 16 counts.

  • A dancer who keeps her heels very low to the ground is not preparing her calf muscles adequately, and will not have the strength for pointe work.

The dancer should be able to hold coupé on ¾ demi pointe for 45 seconds on each foot.

  • The dancer should be able to correctly execute 64 releves in coupe without fatigue.
  • The dancer should be well-placed (hips square, back straight, legs turned-out), and have the strength to balance on ¾ pointe.
  • This is difficult to correct en pointe, as the surface area for balancing is smaller and the strength requirements are greater.

The student must have enough of an arched instep to stand en pointe.

  • When you’re en pointe, there should be a straight line from the hip, through the knee and ankle bone, to the toes.

The student must be in good health and able to take a whole class.

  • Beginning pointe classes are demanding on your body, especially your feet.
  • If the dancer frequently needs to rest because of illness or injury, she is not strong enough for the extra demands that pointe work requires.
  • If a dancer frequently makes excuses for not being able to execute a step properly, she is not strong enough for pointe.
  • If the dancer is frequently injured, she is not strong enough for pointe.

LASTLY….

  • The dancer must be emotionally ready.
    • Pointe work is hard work!
    • Are you diligent with foot care?
    • Are you prepared to suffer from sore feet and occasional blisters?
    • Are you responsible enough to keep track of and take care of your pointe shoes?
      • You must be taught the correct way to put them on your feet and tie them.
      • You must also care for them properly to keep them in good condition.
      • YOU, not your mom, not grandma, and certainly not your teacher must be able to sew the ribbons on your pointe shoes.
    • Are you ready to devote at least two to three hours per week to ballet classes?
    • Choosing to dance en pointe is a decision that should be taken seriously.

Dancers will have to meet all of the above criteria before they will begin pointe work. Please remember that this policy has been instituted to enhance your dance experience and safety in ballet and for pointe work.

Parents, our teachers respectfully request that you explain to your child that it is important to be patient in the pursuit of excellence. It is important to trust your teachers and mentors in life. Our sole purpose at this studio is to further each dancer’s goals and dreams in every way possible.

 

CHECK LIST:

  • Age minimum and/or orthopedic doctor’s permission
  • Minimum 3 years ballet training
  • Taking 2-3 dance classes a week consistently
  • Maintain correct turnout (A minimum of 145o).
  • Demi and grande-plié in all positions en center.
  • Pointed foot
  • Straight legs
  • Zero station
  • Level hips in piqué passé (retiré)
  • 90o Developé
  • Consistently dance on ¾ pointe.
  • 16 relevés en center
  • Balance in ¾ pointe in 1st, 2nd, and 5th positions en center.
  • Hold a coupé on ¾ pointe for 45 seconds each foot.
  • 64 releves in coupé without fatigue.
  • Correct body alignment
  • Good health
  • Arched instep
  • Always prepared for class
  • Emotionally ready