Ballerinamom2girls

Pointe opinions

15 posts in this topic

Hi. DD who just turned 10, was asked to start pointe this past summer. She did for 8 weeks. I've decided that I'm really not comfortable with her starting this young, and I'd like her to wait another year (she's upset of course, because she was really enjoying it). This isn't crazy right? She's technically strong enough, but I just think there's no harm in waiting til her bones are a little more formed. We're going to switch to a school that starts around 11, instead of her current studio that routinely puts girls up at 9/10. Please just affirm my decision that this makes sense?? I'm not at all a ballet expert but it just didn't feel right to have her start at 9.

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Ok thank you! That's good to read. It's just hard to say no when teachers are trying to push it. I wish I hadn't even let her start. Oh well, I can only correct that mistake and move foward.

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I think you are an amazing mom to NOT push it. There are a couple moms that are really pushing their kids at our school and no one wins that way (as if going on pointe early will mean something??). Because I knew nothing about ballet, I had some concerns about my kid starting at 10 (which is abnormal at our school), but I also totally trust my ballet school teachers and I went with it (much to the crazy delight of my kid :) . I think if you have any doubts you should do what makes you feel best as a mom. There are some local schools that are not prepro who have kids on pointe that- even to my very untrained eye- should not be. I also think the schools that put kids on pointe because they have reached X age or level doesn't seem quite right either. Kudos to you though!

 

Edited to add: I also wasn't trying to say anything wrong with your school- probably it's all good and your kid is just strong enough and ready. 10 is not terribly unusual or does not appear to be unsafe. My school is very cautious and they have dd on pointe.

Edited by nynydancer

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Should you implicitly trust a reputable company attached school as far as assessing when your child should go on pointe even if it is quite early as in these examples of young 10 year olds? As non-dancing parents, are we expected to go with their judgement because presumably, that's why we have our kids there -- we shouldn't need to second guess their decisions. Do any of you know if the big name schools put young 10 year olds on pointe?

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BalletValet, I wouldn't. Keep in mind, most schools might have an agenda that is not necessarily in your child's best interest. While my DD was at a big 3 letter school we saw girls go on pointe that were too early. There was no guidance, advice or care involved....go up a level, get pointe shoes. This may have been unique to that company attached school.

 

We have also observed at our smaller studio parents push to have their children put on pointe too early and teachers giving in rather than lose a paying customer. :nixweiss:

 

As in all things that involve your children, it is important to be their best advocate.

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It could be relative. My dd went on pointe when she was 10, nearly 11. However, that didn't mean she was really dancing en pointe. She spent a lot if time at the barre at first, and even the early center work was rudimentary. It seems like some schools put girls en pointe early and they are "performing" within months. In both cases the dancers were younger, but with very differing approaches.

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Update: moved to new school, and they agree that she is technically strong enough so as a compromise (because she dances with 12 year olds on pointe), they have her at the barre only on pointe; she switches back to ballet slippers for the pointe center work. This I'm comfortable with.

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buzzandmoo, what would be the reason for the company attached school to put kids on pointe too early (other than that they think these kids are ready)? I could see a smaller studio giving into parental pressure, but I don't imagine that would be the case with the company attached school. I just wonder if generally, lots of studios, including the big name ones, are starting kids at a younger age these days if they deem they are ready. Is the new norm around 10-11 instead of at least 12 years old?

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BalletValet, I would think there's still a range at most studios. My dd was the youngest that started Pointe 1 at our studio last year, 3 months shy of 11. However, when I post my dd's age of starting pointe here, it automatically sounds like, "10 year olds regularly begin pointe at that studio" when in actuality it is rare--with only one other "just under" 11 year old last year and all of the girls beginning this year right around 12-13. They did do center work in addition to barre pretty early in her first year, but it is only now in her second year that she has begun working on anything exciting.

 

I feel like age isn't the defining factor, but I would never in a million years want my 9 year old or even newer 10 year old in pointe shoes. I would probably run from any place where a very young girl starting pointe was the norm rather than the exception.

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At first they made it seem like she was the exception, and then all at once her entire level of 9/10 year olds were put on pointe (to please the parents). That made me very uneasy and was one of the reasons we switched schools.

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BalletValet......one word, MONEY. Just because the school is well known, endowed, doesn't mean that they don't suffer from the same monetary pressures of a smaller school. The lower levels at my DD's old school were a ATM for the school (In fact so well known as a money maker, the New Yorker did an article about the school it a few years back mentioning this phenomenon). The year my own DD went on pointe (at 11.5) I would say that after the first year on pointe, half the class still couldn't get over the box of their shoes correctly. Many were wealthy kids who's parents were big donors. The lower levels of the school were a factory...they couldn't leave girls back a level to gain physical maturity because they had many, many, more in the pipeline waiting to be moved up. Not their business model.

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We are fortunate that our studio takes a slow and steady approach, but when my daughter did a young dancer's program this summer (with a well-known school) nearly all the 10/11 year olds were on pointe. It was okay for some of the girls, but pretty frightening for most. I was shocked that they were allowed to attempt variations and weren't put in flats. I know that these girls came from other studios, but I would have thought the company running the program would have intervened. It can be hard to stick to your guns when your kid sees this being allowed at big name company programs.

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Like Momma, our school puts them on at around 11. Both my daughters (who attend this school) fell into the 10 year old category because they have fall birthdays, so they were nearly 11. But also like Momma-- our school goes extremely slow. They spend a LOT of time rolling one foot at a time up and down in releve and very slowly move toward 2 feet, and for the first couple months it seems most things are at the bar. Its a very gradual process, so even if there was someone who was only borderline ready, I can't imagine the risk for injury would be too high.

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Thank you for the post! I was wondering the same thing. The pinned thread from BW helped alot. Thanks for the advice.

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