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Going On Pointe as an Adult


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#1 danceprincess

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

As an adult how many years of ballet should you take before attempting to go on pointe?

#2 Skittl1321

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:14 AM

The readiness factors are the same as children, it isn't a matter of years. I think it is typical to suggest at least 2 years of solid training though, and need to be taking the same minimum classes a week as kids do.

For the record- I went on pointe after 3 months (but had other dance training for 13 years)... then I moved three months later to another studio, was invited to their pointe class, realized that despite being able to pique onto pointe nicely and thinking I was doing well, I was woefully unprepared for actually pointework, took myself off out of the class, took pre-pointe and 3 technique classes a week for a year, then went back on pointe. So for me it was like 1.5 years of ballet, 15 years of dancing. I was about middle of the pack for my class in ability- never got pirouettes though (and moved after a year again, and was no longer able to take pointe classes.)

#3 danceprincess

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:28 AM


Thank you. I've been taking ballet solidly for 1.5 years now. Right now I take 6 hours of ballet technique a week (this includes pre-pointe). I think I need at least another year before even attempting to go on point but I'm just curious to see how long it takes most adults to progress to pointe (adults who've started ballet training in their adult years).

#4 doormouse

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

I started somewhere between eighteen months and two years ago, currently doing two-three classes a week (three or more given half a chance but work and finances don't always allow for it!) I am just starting to look towards starting pointe - the current aim is to try to take my first lesson before I hit the big '3' '0' in August!

So I guess that will be about two and a half years in, but I expect to progress very slowly with it.

#5 LaFilleSylphide

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

I think each individual is also different as well. Despite the time spent dancing (hours, years, etc.) there is always the issue of individual strength and anatomy. Two people can spend the same amount of time dancing, and one might still be more naturally inclined as well as stronger. Injuries and anatomy can also affect one's capability of going en pointe. Some dancers have very inflexible ankles and are just physically incapable of pointing their feet and legs into the straight line (or arched line for those naturally gifted dancers) required to be on pointe. Some dancers have the mixed blessing of being extremely well arched and flexible in the ankles (with extreme insteps) - and while they are able to point easily and look gorgeous on pointe, they can often have the tendency to be more weak and off balance than the average dancer. It's really quite arbitrary. Ideally your teachers should be able to tell that you are ready though!

#6 BlleFille

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 02:01 PM

I went en pointe after about a year as an adult...I have been taking pointe for about 1.5 years now....I am pretty good at the barre but still not able to attempt pirouettes, though for me, I think it's more because of fear than lack of strength.
I have a hip injury so I am better on my healthier side...
I always wanted to take pointe..for me it is a dream come true! I have flexible ankles and good feet so am lucky that way..but it is still one of the hardest thigns I have ever done!

#7 ami1436

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:12 PM

I think the pointe readiness sticky gives some good advice. Usually 3 years is recommended, although there might be variation at the individual level. I think it is important, however, to think of pointe as involving more than just anatomical strength and ability. In addition, students need to have a good mastery of the majority of ballet vocabulary, knowledge of their body, etc. etc. etc. For example, I think the sticky recommends being able to consistently complete clean double pirouettes. Learning vocabulary and mastering steps on demi not only assists in the transition to pointe, but makes attempting those steps en pointe easier.

#8 DancinMomof2

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:43 PM

For me, it was probably close to 6 years of taking ballet class once per week at my current studio (had very young children when I first came to this studio so really couldn't do much more). Plus I've had other dance training for well over 25 years. When I started at this studio, I had no intentions of ever getting back en pointe. I did take pointe for 4 years as a teenager but it was a Dolly Dinkle studio since I only took one 45-minute pointe class per week back then (I still wonder how I made it through without injuring myself :blink: ). So in reality, I more or less started pointe as an adult.

Once I was able to take a technique class at least twice per week on a regular basis (sometimes more), I joined our adult pointe class (with my teacher's approval, of course). It's a short class (30 minutes) and I've been taking it for about 1.5 years now. Have I improved much? No, not really because I know I am not taking enough classes and I don't expect to ever perform en pointe. However, just getting back into it as little as I do has been fun. I will occasionally see little improvements here and there and that keeps me motivated to keep at it.

#9 danceprincess

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:12 PM


I think the pointe readiness sticky gives some good advice. Usually 3 years is recommended, although there might be variation at the individual level. I think it is important, however, to think of pointe as involving more than just anatomical strength and ability. In addition, students need to have a good mastery of the majority of ballet vocabulary, knowledge of their body, etc. etc. etc. For example, I think the sticky recommends being able to consistently complete clean double pirouettes. Learning vocabulary and mastering steps on demi not only assists in the transition to pointe, but akes attempting those steps en pointe easier.


Thank you. Where can I find the pointe readiness sticky? I did a search but didn't see it.

#10 Pas de Quoi

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:16 PM

Hello danceprincess: Here is a great resource - The Perfect Pointe Book by Lisa Howell. It has great explanations, exercises and tests you can use to determine if you are ready for pointe, and if not, how you can strengthen what needs to be strengthened so you will be successful with pointe work: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/1452857407 It is a bit expensive, but I feel it is worth the investment. I use this book for all my pre-pointe/beginning pointe classes.

#11 ami1436

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:19 PM

Hi danceprincess:

Here is the link, it's in the pointe shoe forum. There's another great link for adults somewhere, I'll go search for it now!

http://dancers.invis...?showtopic=7125

#12 danceprincess

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 05:25 PM

Thank you everyone!

#13 doormouse

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:06 PM

When I started at this studio, I had no intentions of ever getting back en pointe. I did take pointe for 4 years as a teenager but it was a Dolly Dinkle studio since I only took one 45-minute pointe class per week back then (I still wonder how I made it through without injuring myself :blink: ). So in reality, I more or less started pointe as an adult.


So true - when I started ballet as an adult (20 years after leaving the pre-primary class aged 8!) it never even occurred to me that I'd ever be able to do pointe. The little girls dream of being a fairy (which all, for some reason, had pretty ballet shoes with ribbons and stood on their toes!) never quite died - but it was a huge surprise to me when my teacher suggested that I would be able to. :)

#14 HighwayStar

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 07:30 PM

Hi danceprincess,

I started ballet as an adult with no prior dance training. I believe I was able to start working in "de-shanked" pointe shoes after about a year, and then the next year I was able to go onto full pointe. It is really up to your teacher to tell you when you should progress to pointe work. I'm a huge fan of Lisa Howell's books and would strongly recommend you check her out. She has tons of videos on YouTube that you can watch.

Good luck!

#15 danceprincess

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:34 PM


Wow. Very encouraging. What are "de-shanked" pointe shoes?