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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Bone Ossification for pointe


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I agree rubiraven. After all, if I had my feet xrayed they would be shown to be fully ossified (and then some!), but does that mean I should start taking a pointe class?


An xray of the foot may show bone development, but it doesn't show technical ability nor does it show the strength of the ankles, knees, hips or the muscles which work in tune with the skeletal body.


My personal opinion (and I am a parent and not a teacher so please disagree if I am wrong) is that a child who is truly ready for pointe on all levels will progress fairly rapidly. I can't see that a child who began pointe at 10 and one that began pointe at 12 would be at a different level by the age of 15.


I also believe that a good amount of pre-pointe work needs to be done in readiness for going onto pointe. This is a necessary step and gives the foundation.

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I also believe that a good amount of pre-pointe work needs to be done in readiness for going onto pointe.


Bringing me to my next question... What exactly does it mean when a child is "taking pre-pointe"? There is nothing with that name at our school. Technique is technique. Pointe shoes are added individually as deemed ready. Not for a whole class or level.


My youngest daughter has a friend who will be taking a "pre-pointe" class next year at a different school. She has asked me when she will be taking "pre-pointe?". The truth is that she will never take a class with that name, and it remains to be seen whether she will go on pointe.


But what does pre-pointe or "pre-pointe class" mean? They will still be in ballet slippers.

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A "pre-pointe" class consists of the same very elementary exercises that the beginning pointe student will receive when the time comes to go en pointe. Relevés, elevés, echappés, and so on. The teacher makes sure that the student does these things correctly on half-pointe before things advance fully to the ends of the toes.

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Is this different from the work done during a normal barre or some other part of class? Do I assume that my one DD, who is on pointe, had these things incorporated into her normal classes and that my younger one, who is not on pointe, may be doing these types of things now. ??? I sort of read your description as though an actual "pre-pointe class" is for the purpose of evaluating readiness.

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I definately agree with the fact that they dancer must be ready in all ways to go up on pointe. That is why I asked this question. I wanted to be ready when the time comes when the teacher says she is ready. Then I could back it up with the x-ray if it would tell me that the teacheer was for sure correct, just in case. But after reading all of this I believe it's a case by case basis mostly and to trust the teacher unless it's obvious that your dd shouldn't be on pointe.

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Just a few thoughts from an odd mix of experiences, including human endocrinology, dog breeder, competetive gymnastics coach and now parent of a dancer. People, like puppies (sorry if this analogy upsets others), have different bone types that grow at different rates. We all look at puppies and laugh about how big there feet are and how funny it is, and yes it is true, puppies and people gorw into their feet. Feet and hands grow earlier. I firmly believe (with only ancedotal evidence, but we are animals) feet and hands grow earlier than the rest of our long bone structure. So feet may be done growing earlier than long bones and even joints. So at an early age you may be doing no phyiscal damage. (The caveat here being I was a bone and hormone person, not muscle.)


However, as a parent who has a child who did NO dance before the age of 8 and a half and was on point by almost 11, and who had a very successful Ii audition in her age group this past weekend, I gues I am wondering "what's the rush?"


I am not convinced, although maybe others with more knowledge can sway me, that it is to any long term benefit to a child to starting pointe early. Unlike other stage performing where there are opportunities for young performers, I don't see this in ballet. There are no 10 year olds out on tour or broadway (like in musical thearte) or making the big bucks in solo albums (like in pop muisc)


So my personal opinion would be to select the side of caution rather than jumping ahead. Since at 20 or 25 no one will care if you started pointed at 9, 10, 11 or 12.


For my DD starting point was a validation that starting formal ballet at 8, almost 9, was still OK, but she now tells her friends who are the same age as she is, that because she started pointe earlier doesn't mean anything in the long run. She looks at the kids in her class and the kids in the level below and can say, they are still growing its not a talent thing.


So that's my odd mix of knowledge and personal experience and all I would say is double your DDs age and say it made a difference when she was 18?


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I sort of read your description as though an actual "pre-pointe class" is for the purpose of evaluating readiness.


No, it's for teaching the absolutely correct way to do the introductory material that will be given in the first pointe classes. By the time a student starts doing "pre-pointe" material, the evaluation has already taken place. She's ready to be prepared to start pointe.

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