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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pointe too early

Guest marvelous

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Guest marvelous

I'm having really mixed feelings right now, because my teacher invited me to join the beg pointe class, but according to everything I've read about progressing to pointe, I am no where near ready.


I KNOW you should be taking 3 or more technique classes per week, for years before you go on pointe, but she is saying that I'm ready after only taking one class a week for about six months. My ultimate goal is to go on pointe, but I thought I was being realistic with myself by planning not to be able to do so for five years! I just feel so funny, because here my goal is being offered to me, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not ready.


I guess my question is, how do I decline my teacher? Do I just tell her that I don't want to, or should I tell her that she is just plain wrong? Oh, another bit of conflicting information: she is really strict about not letting the younger girls go on pointe until about 12 or 13 (there is no one in that studio younger than that on pointe), but when I sat in on the adult pointe class, there was this lady who was about 35 on pointe who just looked terrible. I'm not trying to be mean, but she didn't even seem to have basic techniques down.


Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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First of all stick to your initial feelings. If you feel you are not ready then do not do it, end of story. Do not feel pushed into doing it.

Secondly, you can go to the class without actually doing pointe work. The exercises they do will get your strength up for doing pointe work in the future. I would suggest evenbuying demi-pointe shoes, or soft pointes and wearing those in that class. That will really make your feet work hard and prepare them for pointe work in the future.

So at least you will be fulfilling part of your goal to go en pointe.

Even if you do not get soft pointes, just going in your regular soft shoes will really benefit you immensely, and then when you feel ready then go.


I do agree that it is pretty shocking to see some adults on pointe. I have seen some pretty awful things, that leave me wondering how on earth can they do that without seriously injuring themselves. Some look very unsteady and ar enot even going up on pointe properly and yet trying to do the exercises..scary.


Jeanette biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

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Hey Marvelous! Your post sounds a little scary to me. I think if you mistrust your teacher's judgment you might want to start looking for another class to take... that surely won't do in the long run. For me as a beginner it is all important that I trust my teacher fully to push me to progress as much as I can within my own limitations but not injure myself doing e.g. grand allegro after just half a year! I have enough to think about just doing what my teachers say, without also wondering whether or not what they say is the proper thing for me. On the other hand... you could be underestimating your own ability - maybe you really are ready and will look great on pointe! Either way, I wish you good luck!

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  • Administrators

Marvelous, NO WAY after 6 months of one class a week. That is totally crazy. Find a new teacher. This one is not taking adults seriously, and that is a seriously bad situation. Your instincts and knowledge are correct.

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Whatever ability or gift you have, you should not have been offered a pointe class if you dance only once a week! Your first intuition is the right one! You need at least 2 more lessons in the week to reach a strong level and a fitness that you will never have with one class a week...


I would advise you to go to another school (indeed, you should trust your teacher, but it's usually best to rely on what's on her CV. If she has studied/passed an exam to be a dance teacher, it's usually the basic skills you're after. No teacher should endanger someone else's health, and that's just what she did.) frown.gif

As for adults, they also usually come at irregular interval (and if you say their technique looked pretty bad, just ignore her judgement and run elsewhere!)... It's not safe, and it's not intelligent. That just makes me mad mad.gif

Also, what you WILL need to be able to go on pointes, is these extra lessons, at least 2 or 3 years of solid technique, and have a very strong and correct posture and back (so, neck should follow and be in line with the spine, even in a balance -or especially in a balance or a pirouette, or a relevé on both (or one) feet).


Your ankles should also be strong (no wobble in a balance). Do plenty of useful relevés on demi-pointes and focus on a point in front of you.


And finally, if you go to a good teacher, she'll tell you when you're ready to have those... How old are you?


[ January 15, 2002: Message edited by: balletowoman ]

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Sorry, I just realised I'm in the 'adult ballet students' forum, so you must be an adult...

I was asking in case you were a child, in which case, the age also has a role to play...

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Guest marvelous

Thanks to all those that replied. I decided not to take her up on her offer. All the advice made it alot easier to make the decision.


I've decided to start looking for another school that takes adults a little more seriously. When I do eventlually go on pointe, I want to be confident that I will be strong enough to do so.



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Guest mint0621

I find there is no textbook "6 months, no way" reply to this question...it totally depends. It depends on how talented you are, and how strong your legs can be. I started pointe 6 months after I started dancing, and have never looked back. I got full scholarship to dance with SF Ballet Summer Program...so maybe trusting my teacher was the best thing I've done. I had no qualms, no doubts....I totally trusted my teacher. If you have problems trusting your teacher, and believing you're not strong enough, then it might be a problem. Best wishes!

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The fact that it might have worked for you does NOT make it safe or correct. ONE class a week for six months, and then pointe work??? I DON'T THINK SO! I'd say you were very fortunate if you did not suffer any bad results from this. It is certainly not recommended for the majority.

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Guest mint0621

I'd like to reword my post....I feel that each person differs in her strength and when to go on pointe totally depends on the individual. And my decision to accept my teacher's decision was the right one for me.

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You're right in saying that in most cases, you should trust your teacher's opinion, because in most cases, (but reading the initial question, you can see that the teacher allows things to happen when students are NOT ready) they're qualified enough to know what's best for you... cool.gif


You're talented enough to have been 'spotted' as being able to do it so quickly, but it's a very rare case. One class a week is often not enough to build the required strength to go on pointes, so in general, it takes more than a year of good basic ballet (and more than one lesson a week)...

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Guest beckster

I probably started pointe earlier than would be considered acceptable. But the thing is, being an adult, you do have the opportunity to read everything you can, all the facts, all the warnings. In fact you have a responsibility to your own body to do this - you could do ballet for three years and still not be technically good enough for pointe and in this respect there are no hard and fast rules. Children do not necessarily have this opportunity. They are governed by what their teacher wants and what their parents want, and they may not have the knowledge to make an informed choice. We (as intelligent adults in the internet age) have a huge amount of resources at our disposal. If, when you have read everything there is to read and taken advice from everyone you know, you think you are ready (and be honest with yourself here) and you trust your teacher when she says you are ready, THEN its the right time to start pointe.


As adults, we cannot blame anyone else if we don't take the advice we are given. I am well aware that I started pointe sooner than Ms. Leigh would advise, but on my head be it.

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This is a most refreshing post, beckster! Yes, indeed, as adults we do have a responsibility for the care and feeding of our own bodies, and to seek out helpful and reliable information about making decisions along those lines. That's why Ballet Talk is, we think, important as a resource, and we're not advertising ourselves as the only one, no sirree! It's also beneficial for the parents of students who may be reading but not posting, for them to make an informed choice as to what happens to their child.


And I love the quote from the Passion as written by John. Do you know what happened to most of the people who said that? They confessed their sin and were forgiven. In the same way, dancers who received inadvisable instruction can realize it, speak to someone knowledgable about it (confession), and receive corrective work(repentance and atonement) for it. Then the body will be healed from any ill effects of former bad practice(absolution). Lordy, I spent too much time in that seminary! wink.gif

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Guest amdewitt

Bravo Beckster & Mr. Johnson!


This is very refreshing! I have an instructor who thinks I should be able to go on pointe by summer or early fall, while the other is a strict traditionalist who says 2 yrs. Although, I must say that the traditionalist ADMITTED that she knows I'm strong enough and that I would have minimal risk of injury (obviously you can fall in some freak accident), but that she thought I would be bored doing pointe with what little technique I know in just a year of taking classes.


By the fall, I would have been taking 2 classes a week for a year with 6 months of pilates work, and my tapes at home, and I'm hoping upon hope that by then, I will be able to do most of of the "tests", i.e. pirouette, retire en releve with one foot. But again, Beckster is right, it's up to us as adults to make informed, sound decisions. I think if the one teacher says I'm ready, then I would do it (of course, respecting the other one by not wearing the pointe shoes in her class smile.gif . The way I see it is this, I went whitewater rafting with a lot more risk of injury than this. Sure, it was scary (we lost our raft, got stuck on a rock, and had to be RESCUED--there is a risk of severe injury or even death in these situations), but we survived, and lived to tell it. Surely, going on pointe can't be as risky! But it will be equally as exhilarating. I mean, we know we won't be primas.... smile.gif

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I am a little hesitant to post as my pointe of view is totally biased biggrin.gif I started pointe when I was 16, and did it regularly for 9 years. I have not done much pointe at all this year, or rather in 2001 and now 2002. I really desperately want to start doing pointe again, but I know the strength in my legs is not what it was 12 months ago.

Having done pointe for so long, I can recognize when I am ready to go back. I know I am getting to be near ready, but I so don't want to push it as I could injure myself. In the 10 years I have done pointe I have seen many girls injure themselves. Not adults I hasten to add.

Having grown up with ballet I can totally agree and see from Ms Leighs pointe of view. In 10 years I have seen very disturbing things, and some have made me think twice about doing pointe.

I really think you need to ask yourself truthfully 'why do you want to do pointe work?'

I did it becasue it was a natural progression after 9 years of ballet. I had reached a level and it was time for pointe work. to be honest I wasn't wishing away the years so I could go onto pointe. It was just matter of fact. if you wanted to go to the next level you needed to start pointe work. Simple as that.

If doing pointe work will enhance your ballet as an adult, then super.

Don't get me wrong I absolutely love seeing adults dance and encourage as much as I can. I am not a superb dancer, no where near, but I enjoy it, whether it be in soft shoes or pointe. It makes totally no difference to me. So I will go back to pointe only when I know I am ready, and I'm not quite yet. I need to add at aleast another hour and a half of ballet to the 3 and a half I already do before I can be confident that I can go do a pointe class without crippling myself.


Jeanette xx



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