A major milestone for any ballerina is to able to dance “en pointe” or on pointe. Dancing on pointe means to dance on your toes. But this requires tremendous strength of the legs and feet. Most ballet teachers will have strict requirements for their dancers that want to start dancing pointe. How can you be sure if you are ready? The following are a few things to consider before starting pointe ballet classes.
Age for Point
The age for which a dancer could start dancing on pointe is some what controversial. Most teachers don’t have a set year for their students to start. Most usually wait until at least the age of 9 or 10. However, a child’s foot growth is complete at the age of 11 or 12, so this might be the best time to introduce pointe lessons. If your teacher advises you not to dance on pointe shoes, then don’t. You would not want to get injured.
Years of Training
You can not begin your ballet career in pointe shoes. The first steps to being able to dance en pointe is, to achieve the proper form, strength and alignment that is needed for the transition into pointe work. You need to have the proper techniques before you rise onto the toes, so you don’t get injured.
To keep the flexibility and technique that is used in pointe work, it is best to practice ballet at least three times a week. In a normal ballet class the pointe portion should be done at the end of the class. Even if that means staying later. Being done at the end of the class ensures that your body and feet are properly warmed-up and ready.
To be sure a dancer is ready, it is best to be evaluated by their ballet teacher. The teacher can tell if the dancer has the correct body position and alignment, sufficient turnout, strength and balance, and the mastery of the basic ballet techniques. The teacher only wants what is best, so take what they say to heart.
Pointe work is extremely difficult. You must make sure that you are prepared for all the hard work that is needed to master the correct techniques. Your body will suffer for all the hard work. You will probably form blisters and have sore feet. You must listen to how to properly maintain for shoes, feet and ankles. You must be able to devote enough time to attend the ballet classes. Choosing to dance on pointe is a big decision. Do not go into it lightly.