How do I get on Pointe?
How do you know when you’re ready for pointe shoes?
Dancing on pointe, or on “toe”, requires tremendous strength of the legs and feet. TDC has strict requirements for starting pointe work so the dancer is physically protected from injury. The following are requirements that must be met before considering a pointe promotion:
- TDC instructors take into consideration the age of the dancer as well as the dancer’s ability. However, because growth of the foot is nearly complete at age 11 or 12, we tend to promote and introduce pointe work at that time. Dancers under the age of 11 will be asked to consult their primary care physician or orthopedic surgeon prior to admission to the class. For the safety of the child it is very important they do not attempt to dance on pointe shoes if an instructor advises you to wait, as it is easy to become injured.
- You cannot begin ballet training in pointe shoes. In order to be able to dance on pointe, a dancer must have had time to achieve the form, strength, and alignment needed to make a successful transition into pointe work. Proper technique is required to be able to properly rise on the toes without risks of injury.
- In order to maintain proper technique and flexibility needed for pointe work, it is imperative to practice ballet formally at least 2 times per week. The pointe portion of the class should follow the regular ballet class, ensuring the feet and ankles are thoroughly warmed up.
- All dancers will be formally evaluated by the team of ballet instructors at TDC to determine if they are physically ready to meet the demands of pointe work. We are looking for correct body position and alignment, sufficient turnout, strength and balance, ankle strength, ankle flexibility, and mastery of basic ballet techniques.
- Pointe work is hard work. Beginning pointe classes will be more demanding on your body, especially your feet. You must also care for them properly to keep them in good condition. Furthermore, are you ready to devote at least three hours per week to ballet classes? Choosing to dance on pointe is a decision that should be taken seriously.
How do I prepare and ready myself for pointe?
- Focus on the application of corrections from your TDC instructors. Be sure you have a clear understanding of “where and how” the body should be placed at the barre and in center.
- Work through the feet. Practice in and out of class releve’ and eleve’ to strengthen the ankle with the weight of the body centered over the second toe. Be sure the ankles are not rolling back to the little toe, known as “sickling”.
- Purchase a Theraband through Zearly’s and have your teacher explain the appropriate strengthening as well as stretching exercises. They should be done at least 4 times a week (a daily routine is recommended). Please also follow the video: