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Ballet Talk for Dancers
Victoria Leigh

Facts of Life About Pointe Work

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Victoria Leigh   
Victoria Leigh

Victoria Leigh Posted: Jul 12 2000, 10:31 PM

 

 

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT GOING ON POINTE

 

1. Pointe work is NOT for everyone, regardless of how long they study and how old they are.

 

2. Taking ballet for 5 years or 15 years or 30 years does not mean that you are well trained enough or have the physical facility to dance on pointe. Some people have had ballet "training" (and that is in quotes because there are, unfortunately, still thousands of schools in this country who hold ballet classes, but have no idea of what ballet training really is) for 10 years, once a week. Others have had 3 or 4 years, but many more classes per week. Which one will be more advanced? This is not a trick question. It depends on the training, however, it is more likely that the one with 3 or 4 years will be more advanced because the kinds of schools who even have once a week classes are not teaching ballet properly.

 

3. In a properly graded school with teachers who know what they are doing, students who have the potential to progress to the pointe level will be encouraged into at least 3 one hour and a half classes a week by the time they reach the age of 10 or 11 and have had 2 to 4 years of training. Pointe work would begin for these students as they arrive at the age of 12 or older and have at least 3 years of training.

 

4. Students who do not have this potential will probably be kept in a twice a week class and not encouraged to do more.

 

5. If you are not in a school which has hour and a half technique classes on a daily basis for advanced students, then you are probably not receiving the kind of training that will get you into the profession. Students in a school which has an "advanced" class which meets once or twice a week are living in a dream world. There is no such thing as an advanced dancer who has not had daily intensive training. It is highly unlikely that students taking once a week will ever get past beginner level, and even with twice a week they will not get past low intermediate, if that.

 

6. If a student has no rotation, poor placement, weak ankles, and especially no instep and arch, then they should not be on pointe. While these things can be improved if worked on early enough and hard enough, when one arrives at full growth and still does not have the physical facility for pointe, then it is probably not going to happen.

 

7. One can live without dancing on pointe. There are many other avenues open to you in dance, and it is not the end of the world if you cannot become a "ballerina". Very, very few people can. But there are lots of other dance forms, most of which are more fun, and, while they also require lots of hard work, do not require the same degree of physical perfection that ballet requires. There is also dance history, criticism, dance management, and dance therapy. If you are a wonderful student, then use that - be a doctor and specialize in dance injuries!

 

[This message has been edited by Victoria Leigh (edited July 12, 2000).]

 

 

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