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Ballet Talk for Dancers

pointe for all classes


Guest dance4life87

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Guest dance4life87

For being 15 turning 16 at the end of this year, I know that I want to make it into ballet for my career. I was reading "holding onto the air" and Suzanne Farrell says that she did pointe for all of her classes everyday. Ballanchine obviously wanted her to be on pointe all the time for all of her classes. I (for the new school year) am going to be dancing from 4 - 6 hours monday through saturday. I was thinking, and if I want to be a really amazing dancer on pointe and do what she did I'd like to dance all of my classes on pointe too. Would this be a good choice or a bad one? If a bad choice to do all of those hours on pointe how many of them should I be dancing on pointe?

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Guest Old Fashioned

Balanchine did things a little differently.

 

I believe the general consensus on this mb and in most professional ballet schools is that technique classes in soft shoes are essential. Ms. Leigh and Mr. Johnson can go into more detail. :yes:

 

Also, you'll want to talk to your own teacher about that. Chances are she'll disagree with you on taking all pointe classes.

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Old Fashioned is right :yes: Both Mr. Johnson and I feel that technique classes most of the time in soft shoes are preferable, followed by pointe classes. The most advanced level will sometimes take the technique class in pointe shoes, but not all of the time. Maybe twice a week. We feel that the use of the feet, the articulation, and the strengthening of the muscles under the foot are best achieved by being able to feel the floor and use the floor to make the feet work. Once a dancer has really achieved exceptional use of the feet, then more classes in pointe shoes would be okay, but still not all! That is my opinion, and I believe it is also Mr. Johnson's. There are other teachers with different opinions about this, however.

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You don't want all that time in pointe shoes, as they resist a supple articulation of the feet. It's not something to be undertaken before the upper intermediate level of a professional-track major school, if at all. Remember, Suzanne was Suzanne, and Balanchine was Balanchine, and since your particular situation is vastly different from the way she was trained, it is probably not appropriate for you. Save the pointe shoes for pointe class.

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I'm not a teen. This might also be a little bit off topic, so please delete it if appropriate.

 

I just wanted to say that in the book "Holding onto the air" Suzanne also says that the Russians (unfortuenately I don't remember which company, Bolshoi or Kirov) did their classes en demi-pointe and didn't go en pointe until necessary! Nobody can say that the Bolshoi or Kirov are bad companies :yes: So that is a quite clear example that number of hours spent en pointe isn't the cruicial factor!

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Ah, but Suzie, that's another day, another way, too. Russian students at the major national academies are handpicked for success from day 1. What is sauce for the goose is definitely not sauce for the peahen. And while the Russian schools have been known to start children off in castoff pointe shoes, they seem to have ended this practice, judging from recent photographs. Everybody in the whole ballet world starts on demi-pointe and don't go on pointe until necessary. The difficult call is when that necessary point is reached!

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Guest dance4life87

Okay I understand what you mean about really working the feet and all of that... but since this year I'm going to be doing at least 3 technique classes 5 days a week maybe a should do half of them on pointe, or still a lot less then that?

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Now, if that means three classes per day, five days a week, then you might confer with your main teacher and find out if you could use the last one of the day as a pointe class. Do you have any classes which are dedicated pointe classes?

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I hope it's not 3 ballet technique classes 5 days a week! That is way too much, especially too much barre work. One of those classes should be something other than a regular technique class. :yes:

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I agree, but it's not perfectly clear what's meant. By the second technique class, you should be all techniqued out. I've worked in a school with a syllabus and curriculum of its own and the teachers could be relied upon to be giving the same material at the same times, so the students could conceivably had one teacher for barre, and another for center! It was a little screwy and confining, and lacked spontaneity, but you could expect to get a class for center that had been properly warmed up for the center you had planned for that day.

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Guest dance4life87

well they are all technique classes but the first two are the less advanced level.Then their are extra classes such as modern pilates and 2 hours of pointe each week. It is a bit hard to do sometimes 3 technique classes a day although I started ballet one year ago and I need as much training possible if I'd like to be a professional ballet dancer.

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When you overwork the same muscles, the results are detrimental rather than beneficial. It would be better to work your very best in one, or at the most two, technique classes. Three is really overkill.

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Holy Simoleon! At one year, I'd have my doubts whether you should be on pointe at all! I don't see a future in taking that kind of schedule. Ballet isn't something you can catch up on. What you really need is a schedule that won't lead to overwork and fatigue, which is what I'm afraid of for you now! :)

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Guest dance4life87

Well actually pointe isnt hard at all and Im ready for it as well. Ive takin many classes before I even got on pointe. Then I think Im going to only do 2 technique classes a day instead of three... It seems like a much better idea. As well as for my body.

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All right, two is far more realistic than three. And please do be careful about the pointework; I've had to undo a lot of damage worked by pointe on bodies not technically ready or strong enough to carry the work.

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