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only one not on pointe


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I apologize in advance that this will be kind of long, but I have a couple things.


First, I want to thank everyone on this site for their excellent advice! It gave me the courage to talk to my daughter's teacher/AD when a couple girls in her class were moved up and she wasn't. I just asked them to talk to her about why she wasn't moved, because she felt she should've been moved (I did too, but I always try to trust the teacher!) I never would've said anything, but from reading this site I learned it never hurts to ask! It turns out, the only reason she wasn't moved was I was concerned about the number of hours she takes, and they didn't want to bump up her hours. She got to move, and we modified her schedule so her hours weren't increased.


The end result of this move leads me to my question. She is now the only one in her class not on pointe. I'm not concerned, she's only 11 1/2, but she is. Do you have any advice so she doesn't feel so self-conscious about if? She's embarrassed to be the only one not on pointe.


Thanks for any help for her.

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Have no fear. She's only reached the calendar age which would allow her to start point safely, and that's without my knowing whether her skeletal development is that of an 11.5 year-old! Eleven-and-a-half is just the threshhold for being able to think about pointe. Now, as to training, has she been studying ballet for at least three years? Has the latest year of training been at least three 1.5 hour classes per week? Those are the minimums. Sometimes, I've held kids off pointe until they were 12 or 13 because their bones weren't solid all the way to the tips of the toes!

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Guest balletmom1

Perspective from a mom whose daughter was one of the last in her "group" to go on pointe. She was a bit behind in technique (we had transferred from another studio) and teacher was waiting to see certain things. However, when she did go on pointe, she caught up to her peers in 6-9 months. She was older, her body was ready, and she made up for lost time. :huh:

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  • Administrators

If the other students in her level are taking more hours per week, this would be one reason she might not be ready. It's never really a good thing to have a child in a class that meets, for instance, 3 times a week, but she only attends twice. Makes it very hard for her to keep up, and she will not progress at the same level. Actually, it should not be allowed.

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Thanks for the comments so far! Actually, my concern about hours is because she takes so many. Her ballet background is: She has been at this preprofessional school since she was 8 years old. She attends an arts school and has ballet as a subject. Then she stays for ballet in the evening through the ballet school. As a result, she had 14 hours a week of class before her schedule was changed. The new schedule, if she were to take all the classes, would put her well over 17 hours a week (more than anyone in the class). This is why the schedule was modified. She takes class six days a week.


When she moved up a level, she moved from the prepointe level to a class where everyone has been on pointe for a year. The two other girls who moved up with her were put on pointe, but she wasn't.


This is why she is upset. Her teacher said there is no rush, and since she has good feet she will go right up on pointe. However, she is struggling with being the only one in class not on pointe.

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As the parent, I'd be pretty psyched to find a teacher who's in no rush to put a young dancer in pointe shoes! But I know that's small consolation to the dancer herself. You might try "repositioning" this challenge as an opportunity for your DD to prove how well she can follow and respect directions from a teacher. It seems to me that so much of doing well in dance (and in life, for that matter :dry: ) is the ability to do what's asked of you and to give it 110 percent. If she's feeling all pouty about not being in pointe shoes, I can guarantee a good teacher will sense that, and that's not a good reputation to acquire.

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I am afraid I am asking the obvious here (perhaps I read others posts too fast and missed it) - but you seem to have done well asking a straightforward question, and getting a rational straightforward answer with that last situation -- has your daughter been told what the reason is, or what the time/progression will be, more or less, for her to be on pointe -- so that she has the understanding. Can she ask in a way that is not pushy sounding?


Of course, whatever it is, she should be glad to be in a place that is taking care with her. Tell her her goal post is about what happens when she is 18 or so. It won't be on her resume that she wasn't on pointe at 11.5. :dry: Nor, as the others have said will it matter a hoot if she went up a little later than her classmates. However, the reverse situation (going up too soon) could make a very big difference in her life.


Ah, time is what we don't have when we are young -- isn't it ironic. (A feeling-old-mom)

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Great perspective Syr!! I do appreciate that they are taking care of her, and I totally agreed with her teacher that there was no rush. I guess my problem is that no real explanation was given to her or me about why she was the only one not put on pointe. The only thing implied at all was about how super-flexible and hyper-extended (in every joint) she is and about how easy she'll go on pointe eventually, but it didn't make sense. Therefore, my dd doesn't know what to think, and she keeps asking me when she will get to go on pointe. I told her to trust her teacher, and it will happen when she is ready, but she is frustrated. I told her to talk to her teacher (in a non-pushy way), but I know she won't. I don't want to because I don't want to imply I'm pushing for something my dd's not ready for. I just want her to feel more comfortable in her situation. It is really hard to be the only different one--especially at the middle school age. They blow it way out of proportion, and all the sudden it is the end of the universe. I guess this is what I want to contain- Does that make sense???

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  • Administrators

It makes excellent sense, freespirit. My guess is that this is one of those children who have all the flexibility, but perhaps not yet quite enough strength. It is better, by far, to wait! I have, in the past, kept dancers off pointe until 13, for various reasons, but when I put them up, they were SO ready, and SO strong, that pointe work was no big deal at all. They just did it. Easily, and well. One of them went on to become a principal dancer in a company. So, tell her that! :pinch:

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I'm very excited to hear that her instructor is paying attention to your daughter's individual needs. I think that shows they truly have her best interest in mind. Ballet is very individual, and cyclical. Your dealing with physical growth, strength, hormones, mental readiness and also emotional readiness. It's easy to be the one who feels singled out for an obvious positive reason (the first to go on pointe, the first to accomplish a certain combination or step) but in reality this is a positive reason. Her instructors must think her talent is valuable and worth the wait. The long term benefits will far outweigh the short term disappointment.

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