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Getting Back On Pointe


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#1 BroadwayBallerina

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:40 AM

So I've been in ballet since I was 3. Was in a couple of studios that placed students in classes according to how much money their parents donated, which means I didn't go on pointe until I was 14. The next year, I found myself a new love in musical theatre and left ballet to focus on making it to Broadway, taking a few technique classes in between massive amounts of acting, voice, jazz, tap, and contemporary classes. Occasionally, I'd take a pointe class and would be surprised to find that being on pointe was far easier than it had been when I was 14. Now, I'm 19, in NYC, and getting ready to audition for Broadway. I need to have my pointe skills ready to go for that and have realized that I never stopped loving ballet. I'm starting class again soon, so I have to ask: any recommendations for getting back on pointe? Or should I not even try?

Also, I have horrible Donald Duck shaped feet. My ankles are strong after cross-training as an ice skater for a year, but my arches are not as nice as I would like and finding pointe shoes that work with my feet is nearly impossible. Any shoe recommendations? I used to be in Bloch Sonatas, but the heel was far too low and would slip off. I would prefer Capezio, simply because I have so many of their stores at my disposal. Thanks!

#2 BroadwayBallerina

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:56 AM

I'll also add that my technique is excellent, and I have almost a 180 degree turnout along with being capable of triple pirouettes on pointe.

I am 5'1" (far too short to even dream of auditioning for a company), and my legs are surprisingly long.

Edited by Victoria Leigh, 25 January 2013 - 08:21 AM.
Weight removed in accordance with BTforD Policy.


#3 Skittl1321

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

How much ballet have you been doing recently? It is entirely possible for adults to be on pointe, but if you haven't been doing steady ballet- it doesn't seem like it is a good idea. I think 3 days a week, for 2 years is what most people recommend. I'd ask a teacher to evaluate you. The readiness for adults is the same as kids.

The Pointe Shoe forum has a form and suggested pictures you can take and Ms. DeVor does recommendations for shoes for those on the board, though I'm not sure she will do it if you haven't been approved for pointe by a qualified ballet teacher.


(Funny you say you have strong ankles from ice skating. I recently returned to ballet from a 6 year stint in ice skating and I am shocked at how weak my ankles have become since I left ballet for it.)

#4 BroadwayBallerina

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:57 AM

It's been off and on. For the last 3 years, I was doing it three times a week in conjunction with other dance classes. Over the summer I taught a beginning ballet class (a real ballet class, full barre and everything) five days a week, for 8 weeks or so. I haven't danced these past three months because I was just getting used to college. (I have a full course load: psychology, literature, theatrical directing, sound and set design, and experimental theatre). Now, my school is offering it on the side for those who are interested. I've managed to stay in shape, with my experimental theatre class offering me a chance to dance and choreograph on a regular basis, but I haven't been in regular classes m

#5 Skittl1321

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

If you've only had a break since the summer, you might be okay... But teaching really isn't the same as working, unless you demonstrated full out every exercise and really worked your feet, and I think the strength in the feet and ankles disappears a lot quicker than in the major muscles.

You're an adult and can make your own decisions, though, and it seems like you are really trying to justify taking it. If you sign up, would you have great monetary loss if it turns out you can't do it? I know after being off pointe for a year, I put my shoes on and tried to do a pique and pulled whatever muscle runs over the top of your foot. I couldn't believe my feet were so 'out of shape' that I couldn't even do the 'test out the pointe shoe' balance...

#6 insidesoloist

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:41 PM

What is the harm in doing pointe work again? It sounds as if you are (all things being relative) young and in shape, and there is no reason you've given why it would be a bad idea. As long as you take it slowly and don't overdo it, you should be fine. If I were in your place, I'd start with five minutes of foot strengthening at the barre after a technique class, just to test the waters. If that went fine, I'd gradually build up, while listening to your body. I hope you have a wonderful time with it!
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#7 jennT

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:57 AM

I agree. I think you should slowly start with releves at the barre after a full technique class for a few weeks. when you can do 32 eleves in coupe on both feet without tugging on the barre, move to centre with some echappes, passe releves, and retire piques from the corner. When you can easily do 32 of those on each side without falling back or side, add turns and entire pointe classes. :) at least, that's what I've prescribed myself and its working. (not as quickly as I'd hoped, but still...)
good lucK!

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#8 Pas de Quoi

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:05 PM

Hi Broadway Ballerina:

I suggest you check out this book, "The Perfect Pointe" by Lisa Howell. http://www.amazon.co...ect+pointe+book

There is a ton of really good information in it - exercises, self-tests, pictures, etc. I use this book as a guide for my pre-pointe/pointe classes for both youths and adults.

It is not inexpensive, but I feel it is worth the money. When someone buys the book, they can sign up for e-mail information, supplemental videos, etc. There is some advertising that goes with all of these "free" extras, but I don't mind that. I find the information so helpful, I can overlook it.

Good luck to you! Dancing on pointe is really fun. :)

Oops - I forgot to add that if you decide to get the book from Amazon, click on the link on this site so Ballet Talk benefits from your purchase.

#9 Skittl1321

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:33 AM

What is the harm in doing pointe work again?


Well, if you aren't ready for it a myriad of foot and ankle injuries.

#10 insidesoloist

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:46 PM

Right, Skittl, so true! But her self-report, which is all we have to go on, includes having strong ankles, taking technique and pointe classes around the edges of jazz, modern, and contemporary, and having excellent technique. Plus, three times a week for the last three years. That sounds, quite probably, strong enough. And BroadwayBallerina, you could always ask a pointe teacher local to you to take a look at you one pointe and see if you look too weak to be on right now.
-insidesoloist


#11 BroadwayBallerina

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:10 PM

I agree. I think you should slowly start with releves at the barre after a full technique class for a few weeks. when you can do 32 eleves in coupe on both feet without tugging on the barre, move to centre with some echappes, passe releves, and retire piques from the corner. When you can easily do 32 of those on each side without falling back or side, add turns and entire pointe classes. :) at least, that's what I've prescribed myself and its working. (not as quickly as I'd hoped, but still...)
good lucK!


Thanks for the advice! I'm a bit unclear, though: do you do all these on pointe?

#12 BroadwayBallerina

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:17 PM

Right, Skittl, so true! But her self-report, which is all we have to go on, includes having strong ankles, taking technique and pointe classes around the edges of jazz, modern, and contemporary, and having excellent technique. Plus, three times a week for the last three years. That sounds, quite probably, strong enough. And BroadwayBallerina, you could always ask a pointe teacher local to you to take a look at you one pointe and see if you look too weak to be on right now.


Thanks so much! I've been working on strengthening my feet after every class, and along with taking some time in the studio on my own to work on a few variations (not on pointe, though.) I do the Sylvia variation for petit allegro, and Kitri's for grand, along with a few Matthew Bourne pieces, simply because I adore them.

#13 Redbookish

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 05:18 AM

In all of this, you don't mention advice from your teachers, who can actually see you. We can't, so any advice here is given blind.

It sounds as though you're strong enough, but only you & your teachers will know that.

Can I be blunt? How likely are you to make your living in musical theatre? Have you already been doing so? Because it would be a pity to mess up your feet for life (bunions, pain in later years etc) for something that isn't necessary.

By the way, you don't have to answer my questions on a public messageboard! But they might be worth thinking about. In my job I see so many aspirants, and only a tiny tiny proportion "make it" (whatever "it" is) that you really need to consider the long game as well as the present. Remember, 10s of kilos of body weight are balanced on about four toes on pointe!

#14 Willimus

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 08:34 AM

Broadway ballerina. I'm in ny, been dancing and teaching here much of my life. Dawn Hillen and Kathy Sullivan both teach amazing beginner adult pointe classes. Dawn has, in particular, made a specialty of this sort of training. Seek them out...you will love them
"Never Stop Moving"...Luigi

#15 Redbookish

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 08:32 AM

I've done Ms Sullivan's standard beginners & advanced beginners classes at Steps when I've been in NYC, and I can vouch for her as a teacher: detailed, warm, eyes like a hawk, and so gracious and nice!