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Pointe work off the barre

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I haven't posted in ages but still check these boards regularly for tips and motivation.


I have been doing 20-30 mins of pointe work once a week (at the end of class) for about 5 months now. I feel that I am progressing rather slowly because this is the only time slot my teacher offers for this type of work. Currently we do releves, coup de pied exercises, eshappes, poses, bourres and the like at the barre. Only recently have we been given the option of doing a few things in the centre. I find even simple things (like eschappes to second) incredibly difficult in the centre and wonder how one EVER manages do something more demanding - like a pirouette - en pointe! I just can't imagine this ever happening for me. Admitedly, turns are not my forte but even so...the thought of performing an enchainment en pointe in the centre just seems impossible! :angry:


Has anyone else felt that they'd never "dance" en pointe and yet moved on? Perhaps I am being impatient but I feel I have hit a plateau with my pointe work and that I will need to do something hugely different to move past this point. Thing is, I don't know what it is! If anyone else has been through this and can offer any words of encouragement, advice, etc, please post!



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I felt like this in the beginning and now am doing echappés to second and fourth in the center without having too much trouble (they are far from perfect, naturally, but not too bad). Bourrées make my feet cramp (teacher says it's not my technique, it's my strength) and pas de bourrées are sketchy at best, but I'm progressing in those too. For reference, I've been in beginner pointe for about four months, twice a week end-of-the-class arrangement probably much like yours.


I think the second session a week really adds a lot. It could very well be that your plateau is only about the fact that once a week for less than half an hour is just not enough to learn a new physical art, no matter what art. Could you talk to your teacher about arranging another possibility - e.g. a 30 minute beginner pointe after some other technique class?


(I'm sure the teachers here will have something more constructive to say, I just wanted to say don't lose hope :angry:.)

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Patience, patience, patience. Coming to pointe as an adult is a slow and gradual process of strengthening and technique-building on a mechanism that has pretty much finished growing, and all the parts come to their final maturation conformation. You should be able to move past this phase of your training, and get on with the business. You should be adding a second pointe session about equal in length to your present load, but when is your teacher's call.

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I have been on pointe for about 1.5 months now and take 1.5 classes on pointe per week. Last week I was feeling very much the same way that you are feeling and attempting to do center combinations with other students in soft shoes made me feel like a klutz. I finally took my teacher's words to heart - you do the same thing in pointe shoes as you do in soft shoes, you just have to forget that the pointes are on your feet. So for a week I didn't do any pointe work and I worked on improving my technique in soft shoes. Then when I was confident that I COULD do all of the steps, I put on my pointe shoes. It's all about tricking your brain!

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How would your teacher feel about letting you do the barre of your regular class en pointe? That's what I do, even though almost no one else in my class does. It doesn't do much for specific pointe technique (you don't get a lot of bourrees, for instance) but I find it helps for strengthening, since I can only squeeze in one pointe class per week (so few adult pointe classes are offered), and that's really not enough for me. Don’t worry, you’ll get past your plateau… I found that the hardest thing about pointe was getting over the fear! Once you do that, everything suddenly gets much easier!

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I've been studying en pointe now off and on for almost a year and a half. I'm a professional ballet dancer and started pointe work with all the advantages that come with being a professional --- lots of technique, lots of strength, everyday practice, etc. And yet it was STILL intimidating (and continues to be so). Only just recently have I been able to do anything significant away from the barre --- even as I have improved many, many things in my overall dancing because of it. So I would agree --- patience is key.


I've discovered that the better your ballet technique, the better you will dance en pointe. And the better you dance en pointe, the better your general ballet technique will be. Finally, training en pointe can help highlight weaknesses in your technique and allow you to fix them. This is all true because pointe IS ballet.


I found I could go a month without pointe class and improve because I was improving in general; it's not something I have to do every day to improve at. As long as you keep improving on your turnout and length and placement and balance, then you will (eventually) keep improving at your ability to dance in pointe shoes. If you can find one thing in your technique in every pointe class to improve and then work on it over the next week, you should doo well.

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Thank you so much to everyone who replied to my post! As with so many things in this life just knowing that others have been there too can help you stick it out.


I would certainly like to add a second session of pointe to my week - and my teacher has said that we might do this some weeks so we should bring our pointe shoes to each class. Alas, not everyone is taking pointe at the school so if the class has a few students who do not take pointe, we don't get this extra session. Sometimes I do some work on my own at home but I am not nearly as motivated without music and mirrors :wink:


I guess I get frustrated because I feel my lack of ankle and foot strength lets me down. By the time I get into the centre I am getting tired and it means I can't get over my foot as well as I can at the barre when I am fresher and therefore stronger. It is really hard to balance when you are not properly over the foot - ever noticed that? :P I realise the answer to getting this very specific type of strength is to keep working at it but sometimes I wonder if it'll make a difference. Thanks again for replies so far - it would appear that I can expect progress as long as I keep putting in the effort!





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Strength takes time to develop.


It might also work to discuss your body with your teacher. Some people have very strong but inflexible bodies; others are very flexible but not very strong. The types of exercises you have to do differs depending on which you are.

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I'm sorry, I misunderstood something. I thought there weren't more than one class with a pointe session available and that was the reason you couldn't take more. However, it seems now that there are more classes that could include the pointe work and that the teacher just has decided not to add another one yet. In that case I naturally would trust the teacher's call (if I trusted her enough to be in her classes in the first place), and then "patience!" is the best advice. :angry:


(In my classes there is a pointe section in the end in some particular classes. If you are not on pointe but take those technique classes, you can either leave when pointe work starts (and pay less for the class) or take the pointe section in soft shoes. It's not cancelled because some people don't do it.)

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Hi Podiumstar,

I think i have typed and retyped this sentence about five times trying to put into words what i am thinking. Doing pointe work in the centre gets easier with confidence. When you do your barre work, do it by holding onto the barre with just your little fingers or your index fingers, this way you are not relying on the barre to support you - um well thats what i find personally. Its also getting over the fear factor. We have to do pirouettes in the centre in the advanced foundation. doing them en dehor was not such a problem but en dedans is still proving a little nerve wracking but it is getting easier every week along with the confidence. There is a lot of pointe work in the centre in this syllabus but i am enjoying the challenge that is presenting itself to me.


Good luck with it all and let us know how you get on.


Skippy x

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