Starting pointe work is such an exciting time for a young dancer, and many girls dream of “standing on their toes”.However, pointe work is a massive leap from wearing soft slippers and careful consideration must be taken when deciding whether a dancer is ready to make this progression.
Is there a particular age to start pointe work?
No, however most dancers begin pointe from the age of 12 as by this time they would have developed good ballet technique as well as being physically and mentally ready to enter the world of pointe! Some particularly gifted dancers may start at a younger age if their teacher has said that they show correct alignment of the legs,hips, knees, ankles and feet along with strong core stability. On the other hand, some schools may put their girls onto pointe when they are slightly older in order to ensure that their technique is strong enough to meet the demands of pointe work. In a nutshell, the teacher will generally decide when your daughter goes onto pointe based on her capabilities as a dancer, rather than her age!
How many classes should I be attending a week before I start pointe work?
Before starting pointe work, you would normally be attending at least 2 full ballet classes per week (depending on the length of the class). This is so that you would be able to improve strength. Many dance schools will also hold “pre-pointe” classes where you will perform typical pointe exercises such as relevées on demi pointe. This can be a separate class or even incorporated into the main ballet classes.
When will my ballet teacher know when I am ready to start pointe work?
As mentioned before, the teacher will be looking to see if the dancer is demonstrating correct trunk, abdominal and pelvic control, also referred to as “core stability”. Core stability is crucial for pointe work to ensure that the dancer will be able to hold herself up on such a small surface area. The legs, hips, knees, ankles and feet MUST be in correct alignment in order to avoid injury. Finally, the teacher will be looking for a student that is ready to improve themselves and learn a new skill!
I hope that this post will have answered some of your questions in regards to starting pointe work. If you have any more questions, please comment below!
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