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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Age and/or Readiness for Pointe

Guest dima

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  • 1 year later...
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Guest costumier

Hello, this is an old thread but it seemed like the most appropriate place for my question. I was wondering if the downward shift in the age that girls are going through puberty at has affected the age that teachers are recommending pointe for them? eg when I was a girl 14 would have been considered a normal age for menarche, and 12 would have been considered somewhat early, but these days 12 would be average and 14 is considered quite late.

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Menarche is only one signpost on the road of adolescence when it comes to how the ends of the bones and the musculoskeletal attachment points are maturing. It's a fairly good marker, but not perfect. Problem is, that pointe training is begun slightly BEFORE menarche, and predicting the future is still not one of medicine's true specialties. Only an examination of the bones of the feet and ankles by a doctor and an evaluation of technique and strength by a teacher can show when any given time would be best for introducing pointe to any given student.

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  • 5 years later...

"My own teacher had a way of being discreet about notifying students that they were nearly ready for pointe. She would give many corrections with practically a whisper in the ear, no matter what the matter was. With 11-13s of a certain proficiency, she would whisper, "Time to cut the elastics off and go to ribbons." That quietly signalled the transition to pointe. The next was, "start wearing Capezio Russian Ballet shoes a kind that aren't made any more. The sole was made of the same sort of leather as the pointe shoe, and they made your feet work harder."


I took my 12 year old in yesterday and the doctor said she is a very young 12-year-old in terms of bone maturity and in light of her recent injuries (two were non-ballet related) it made sense to wait on the pointe shoes. He showed me all the cartilage in her feet that showed immaturity. Of course she accused me of pressuring the rather well known orthopedic surgeon into into his medical opinion . . . In any event, while she may be technically ready, her body is not. But, i am curious about these shoes--are there any modern equivalents? Thanks!

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I don't believe any modern equivalent of the Capezio Russian ballet slipper exists. I too grew up in those!! They do make your feet ready for pointe-booties!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been reading this forum and have become a little concerned about my dd's training. I have 2 dd's in ballet. They just switched from a recreational school to a Vaganova prepro. My 12 year old has only been in ballet for 2 years and was placed in a level 3 with girls that just started pointe work last fall. My dd is not on pointe yet and the AD, who is also her teacher, has not yet given her any idea of when that will happen. She attends the 1/2 hr pointe class weekly but only goes on demi. However, their are four 9 yo's in the class on pointe. The other girls are 11 and 12. DD's younger sister is 8 1/2 and in pre-ballet. She should at least have 2 more years before getting to the level that I would have to worry about her going on pointe. My concern now is that the consensus here is that maybe we shouldn't be at this school at all. I thought that I had chosen a good school for them. This school's dancers have done very well in YAGP and the school won the regional "Outstanding School" and Ensemble award this year. Many students took home individual first place and top 12 awards and the Hope Award. My dd's really like the teachers and so do I. Should I look elswhere or just keep my eyes open and not let my younger dd go on pointe too early should the need arise?

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Alright- I'll tackle this. We are talking about 2 very separate things when we are talking about a school doing well at YAGP, and a school actually being able to produce professional-level talent. YAGP is a competition with everything that includes, and children are rehearsed and rehearsed to the teeth, so not a very valid way of evaluating a school for its training potential.


Having said that, there are certainly schools that do take dancers to YAGP and do provide excellent professional training. Unfortunately deciphering between the 2 alongside all of the 'dolly dinkle' schools is left up to the consumer. That's why we are here!!! Hopefully we can provide some education for the consumer so he or she can make a good decision for their family.


So, bottom line is, most large schools capable of producing professional dancers will not place youngsters en pointe at age 9 in the US. Most dancers who go on to a professional career start pointe around 11 or 12.


In Russia, in the schools in which some teachers were trained, children were placed en pointe roughly at age 10, BUT, children lived at the academy and took classical ballet classes daily from their early training on. I'm not sure why we are always in such a rush here to do things....


I cannot tell you what to do in your particular situation, but I will say that I do think you will find the information here that you need to make good decisions regarding your children's ballet training! No harm has been done yet, and if you do decide to make another switch it is not too late. Conversely if you do decide to stay with your current situation, at least you will have some more information upon which your decision will be grounded, which should give you less and less of that nagging in your gut thing. :)

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I am not a teacher just a parent. BUT I bought and read a book called The Healthy Dancer: ABT's Guidelines for Dancer Health. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_1...+healthy+dancer



The narrative around point intersects with the information I read here.


HOWEVER, I find the pictures to be extremely helpful. There is an illustration of a dancer pre-pointe in releve in second showing what a dancer who is ready would look like. (High in releve vs. not high)


Then there is an illustration of 2 dance feet on pointe, one right over the box at 90 degrees and one more like 45 degrees. I guess I am saying that picture is worth a thousand words and it has helped me to understand things that people were describing in words on this site.


Take care.

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  • Administrators

Good to know that, learningdance. Thank you. :innocent:

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Oh learningdance, amazon lets you upload images from the books. Possibly you can upload the image of the page you mention so when members link to the book, they can see your image as an example. That would be cool!

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Tried but can't do it. . . .I have a digital scanner and could scan the pages but alas I think that infringes on copyright. I found found picture of releve in second (correct) but not an incorrect photo contrast is what really taught me.

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  • 1 month later...

Ok, I'm in a bit of a pickle. My oldest DD loves ballet, my younger DD does not (she loves jazz). However, when her ballet class was told they were ready for pointe, she was excited. She was 10.5 at the time, and I allowed her to go on pointe. I asked the studio for their rationale for going on pointe so young, and they told me that their program starts younger but goes slower to build strength (5-10 minutes at the barre per week). I felt ok but now I read on this website that it's possibly a mistake even for such a short time. Was I wrong to let her go on pointe? She's now almost 11. Should I let her continue? Agghhhh! Thanks. I should add that she does ballet about 4 hours a week (jazz for 6 hours).

Edited by socalgal3
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Sight unseen, it's hard to make a determination on this case. As she's taking the required minimum hours of class to introduce pointe, and she's so close in age to the minimum age, I'd say, oh, go ahead. :yucky: I'm still not crazy about the idea, but it will probably cause less sturm und drang than ending it.

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