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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Age and/or Readiness for Pointe


Guest dima

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Unfortunately that happens all over and resembles one particular parent at our school. I observed the pointe class in which her daughter is taking and found that the child cannot excute pointe correctly. Her ankle sickles quite frequently and she rises to demi-pointe only! This child is talented in the other forms of dance and I feel that the parent pushed for pointe. The ballet instructor had already told the dancer she was too young and by the end of the week the child was in pointe class. What does this tell me? It tells me that I should not trust the instructors instinct in regards to my own child.

 

I realize that I did not specify my daughters age when I first posted my question. She is 12. She was told she was ready for pointe and that is when I talked to the Doctor's about her physical readiness. I was about to go out and have her fitted for pointe shoes because I believed the ballet instructor was chosing the students for pointe based on techincal readiness as well as physical. When I found that the 9 and 10 year olds of the group were going on pointe I had to rethink my decision.

 

To Victoria Leigh regarding the other foot problems my daughter has. Her podiatrist works with the National Ballet and has said that she has strong feet and is can do pointe work. He told her that pointe will help her arch as long as she ensures that the listens carefully to instruction and executes the moves carefully and correctly.

 

I don't know if my daughter will go into Ballet as a career as she hasn't really leaned in that direction yet. She just loves to dance.

 

Thank you all for your help on this subject. I am so glad that I found a place that has the knowledge base and support group that a Parent of a Dancer needs!

:)

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Dima, a question: How many ballet technique classes a week does your daughter have, and how long are the classes? (Sorry, but I must have misread your first post, as I thought your daughter was only 10.)

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Dima, a question:  How many ballet technique classes a week does your daughter have, and how long are the classes?  (Sorry, but I must have misread your first post, as I thought your daughter was only 10.)

No, you did not misread my original post. I didn't mention her age and after I re-read it I realized that it gave the impression that SHE was 10.

 

She currently takes 3 hours of ballet a week with the studio and about 3 1/2 hours a week in school. She is in a school of the Arts with dance as her major. The school centres on ballet and modern.

 

I am concerned with pushing her into something she may not be ready for. She expresses a desire to learn pointe but I don't think she will like it as there is plenty of pain involved!

 

:grinning:

Edited by dima
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Edited to add that my daughter is almost fully grown at 12 (being 5'3" with a max of another 2"). Many 12 year olds are not at that stage. She has one dancing friend her age who is 4'8" and will not be starting pointe until she gets much older or further into puberty.

Sounds almost like a complete double for my daughter. She is 5'2" and 93 lbs and 12 years old. I fear that if she continues to grow her ballet aspirations will be over.! :grinning:

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It seems my daughter has you all beat and we aren't concerned at all! She is 12 1/2 and is now 5'4 1/2 (with a max of 2" more)...she is very light weight wise, but I do not want to post it... unfortunetely sometimes people get the wrong ideas about weight and height with their children and start making comparisons.

Some kids grow faster than others and hit different stages at different times. I have 3 daughters, 3 stepdaughters and 1 son and not one of them grew at the same rate as the other. My 12 year old did grow very early and matured early too. She doesn't look like the average 7th grader. There is one other 12 year old in her dance class that hasn't even begun to hit puberty. She hasn't seemed to grow in the past year height wise and does not show any signs of beginning puberty. My daughter looks like a giant next to her.

My daughter did begin pointe earlier than most but hasn't seemed to suffer. She was already blossoming and had very developed muscles and feet from skating for several years prior. She was taking 4 technique classes a week at 1 1/2 hours each class and 1 hour private lesson. I completely agree (in my novice opinion) about beginning pointe too early. The little girl I mentioned above has parents that feel age determines advancement and not physical readiness. Because our daughters are the same age, they feel they should both be at the same level. This poor kid can barely stay on pointe and can't get over her pointe at all. She is so tiny, she can pull her feet right out of her pointe shoes. I think if she sat any harder on her toes she would sink through the floor. She isn't on them long. She takes 4 technique classes a week but doesn't seem to be getting any stronger. The other girls who are not as advanced and just got on pointe are doing better because they are stronger physically. You can really see the difference. The teacher did not recommend pointe for this particular student, it was the parents who wouldn't let it go. They do their own thing without consulting the teacher. There are some situations you just can't win.

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Goodness, my just-turned-12-year-old is pushing 5'6" already! With a >5" growth spurt and puberty behind her, I'm guessing she doesn't have a LOT more growing to do. But who can tell? She just started pointe a few weeks ago. I don't always completely trust our school's judgment, as I have seen some kids that seem dangerously weak put on pointe. I'm hoping it's okay for her.

 

Victoria, you've shattered my illusions. "It's only 10 minutes a week," that's EXACTLY how I've been reassuring myself!

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Oh My! She has grown hasn't she? Well from what people are telling me she only has about 1 or 2 more inches left in her!

 

If you are really worried about her and pointe class why don't you talk to your Doctor about it? I did and I feel better knowing that she is physically ready for it.

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Regarding parents who push for pointe work, I recall one particular mom who was neurotic in this regard. It wasn't just pointe. She insisted her 7 year old take class with my 9-12 group, and the administrator could not reason with the mom

Guess I was the opposite of this! My dd was moved into the class with 9-11 year olds at barely age 7 and I was questioning the appropriateness of that. Her teacher said, "If you're really concerned we can keep her in the younger class, but I really think she's ready." So we decided to see how she did over the next couple of weeks. Luckily, all worked out great & she stayed in that class until this year, when she moved up a level.

Some kids grow faster than others and hit different stages at different times. I have 3 daughters, 3 stepdaughters and 1 son and not one of them grew at the same rate as the other.

I agree here. Dd was a huge baby, but is now average ht. & very slender. I believe I mentioned on another thread that she is quite a bit shorter than I was at the same age, but developmentally (pubescently??) seems to be at about the same point. So it seems she will be slightly shorter than me when full-grown. Son was an even huger, enormous baby & is still very tall for his age. Although he is one of the youngest in his class, he is nearly the tallest kid. The one boy I've seen who's taller is also nearly 2 years older. Also quite slender due to being a VERY picky eater, but if current growth rates continue he could be 8 ft. tall! :grinning: OK, maybe a slight exaggeration there, but let's hope foot size is no indicator. At age 8, he's already passed up his sis!

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My 12 1/2 year old DD is tall and I'm sure she has some growing to do since I'm tall and my husband is very tall. She was put on pointe at 11 1/2. She,too, was dancing with girls 1 and 2 years older than her and worked very hard atdemi point to be considered for pointe with her"comrads" Even though she's been on pointe for a year now, she just recently began to progress. I believe if she was put on pointe yesterday, she probably would be at the same pointe level as she is now. So every kid is different. She's tall, and just now beginning to grow into her body.

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So basically what we are saying is that age definitely has a play in whether or not a child is ready for pointe. Usually it is recommended that a post-pubescent child attempt pointe rather than a pre.

 

My daughter, being 12 and post, is more than likely ready for pointe then. She has taken ballet since she was 7 so the background and structure is there.

 

I thank you for the input.

 

Also, as for the "growth" (height and weight) being 5'2" is not TOO tall right because she feels that ballerinas should be petite? She is not worried about her weight, (well she considers herself a "stick" and tries to gain).

 

:lol:

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I have found more information on my DD's ballet instructor. She is from the "Kirov" Ballet. I do not know much about ballet myself so can anyone tell me about it?

 

Much appreciated.

 

:wacko::lol:

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Even though she's been on pointe for a year now, she just recently began to progress. I believe if she was put on pointe yesterday, she probably would be at the same pointe level as she is now.

 

Jaynny, this is exactly my pointe in one of my posts above. When it's too early for whatever reason, including age, size, lack of technique, strength, or the early growth which generally creates a problem of lack of control and muscular strength because the body has not caught up to the growth. If one waits until they are really ready, it's SO much easier and smoother. The earlier time should be spent in gaining the technique which will make the pointe work happen as it should. I see no point at all in a child spending a year or more struggling to get up all the way, to try and rotate while up there, and struggling to straighten her knees all the way.

 

Dima, the Kirov dancers are trained in the Vaganova school. The dancers are not automatically trained to teach, although some of them do go through that training following their performing years. One of the problems I see with some is that they do what is done in Russia, which does not necessarily work very well here. The children there do start pointe a bit younger, however they are highly selected children, with perfect bodies for ballet, and they start their training with DAILY classes, not once or twice a week. These children progress more rapidly in technique because they have rotation, flexibility, great feet, straight backs, and strong bodies to begin with, and then they have a lot more ballet technique classes from the beginning than our children do.

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The children there do start pointe a bit younger, however they are highly selected children, with perfect bodies for ballet, and they start their training with DAILY classes, not once or twice a week. These children progress more rapidly in technique because they have rotation, flexibility, great feet, straight backs, and strong bodies to begin with, and then they have a lot more ballet technique classes from the beginning than our children do.

So I guess I am right in having reservations about the instructor. The 10 year old that she put on pointe does not have the "perfect" ballet body and it is quite clear that her "expertise" lies more with jazz.

 

I am not trying to "dis" a dancer or "lord" it over anyone. I am merely trying to express my fears and trepidation that what I am observing may not be the best atmosphere for my daughter.

 

Oh, just as an added note....my DD, who previous "disliked" ballet has discovered that, after one pointe class, she LOVES IT!

 

Also as an added note, my DD has taken it upon herself to research how to prepare for pointe herself. She purchased the "POINTE BOOK" and has "surfed" the internet for ways to reduce injury and prepare her toes for the "pain and suffering" that pointe brings.

 

Yes, I guess I am bragging a bit. But I worry so much about the risks involved and I don't want to think that she is taking unnecessary risks.

 

This board is a great help to me. :lol:

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Dima, this board could also be helpful to your daughter! While she is not yet old enough to post, she can certainly read the Young Dancers and Pointe Shoe Forums! :lol: Then, when she is 13, she will be very ready to be a member!

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I'm with you Victoria! In my daughter's case although she was seemingly technically ready at the time, she wasn't. About two months up, she developed a sickle because she was trying to compensate for her lack of strength. For the past 8 months she's worked diligently with the stretch band and other foot strengthening exercises. Over this past year we've had countless pointe shoe fittings to find the right fit. Now, everthing is finally clicking. I know it has to do with her developement. Most of her 13 and 14 year old comrads are at a point level above her.

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