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Pointe readiness test

Jaana Heino

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On the teachers' forum, there was a link to a pointe readiness test. I think I understood most of it (and agreed with everything I understood), but the following gives me trouble:


5. Arch of foot

Have student sit on the floor, back flat against the wall with legs in front of her, and tell her to point her foot and hold it while you measure. As student points her foot, place a ruler on top of her instep, parallel to the floor to measure the space between the toes and the ruler. Repeat on the left foot. Check for space between the ruler and the entire length of all five toes, beginning with the “knuckles.”  


Could someone explain me what's going on there? It could be a language problem (though I think I do understand all the individual words, like instep and ruler), or it could be a problem with the fact that I have no idea what is being measured. :)

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In part, it's checking for symmetry of the feet. My clunky left foot is rather less arched than my right, but it's not a big difference. Another thing that's being observed is the shape of the feet and toes when the feet are pointed. Are there three carrying toes? Two? Only one? Is that one the second toe instead of the big toe? It's good for both the teacher and the student to know about these things.:)

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That was not my interpretation (though I agree all the things Mel listed are important to check, though most of them wouldn't be a "go" or "no-go" as far as pointe readiness).


I thought it was checking that there was sufficient "arch" or "curve" of the foot and ankle that the student would be able to get "over" the shoe onto the box of the pointe shoe.


If you imagine the student pointing her feet on the floor, this test is to see where the highest part of the foot is. If the student has a very low arch (or even worse) very poor ankle flexibility, the toes will be the higher off the floor than the top of the arch or instep. This is a problem - the student will have tons of trouble getting over the box of their shoes and won't be able to properly place their weight in a straight line above the box.


By setting the ruler flat on top of a pointed foot, you can check that the instep is higher than the toes. I think that is what they are trying to check for.


In my experience, a better test (or at least just as good) for this is looking at the height of the demi-pointe position. This would be a great extra though, because then you can look at toe configurations as Major Mel said.



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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Ozzie Oz

Mel, could you please explain what you mean by "carrying toes" in reference to pointe readiness test. Do you mean the toes that carry the weight of the body when on pointe?

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