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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Lack of Pointe Classes


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We have received my dd's schedule for this year. She has a 1.5 hour tech class Mon-Sat but only two half-hour Pointe classes a week. She turned twelve in August and has been on Pointe for three years. We moved last year and the new school is strictly Vaganova whereas the last school was Balanchine influenced. At the last school every class was done on Pointe so it seems almost as if she is going backward a bit. I know she is very disappointed being on Pointe so little during the week. Is just two half-hour Pointe classes acceptable at this age?

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This subject comes up a lot. Age and pointe shoes, because really that is what you are facing. I know this is a controvercial subject but the truth is that 12 is a very good age to start pointe work. The school you are now attending may be one that does not put 9 year olds on pointe and therefor the lesser pointe class opportunities. My DD's went on pointe around the 12 year mark, by 13 they looked as though they'd been born with pointe shoes on their feet and this year at her SI my youngest was told she danced better in pointe shoes than on flat. The ultimate compliment as far as I can tell. Slow and steady training is essential. One pointe class a week starting out is perfect and your daughter gets two short sessions. It's what we did and I'm very pleased with how my DD's have progressed. Check out the syllabus at this school. Talk to the AD, ask their philosophy. I believe 9 is too young for pointe shoes. There can't have been enough true ballet training at that age and there certainly can't be that much body strength developed even in an extremely talented child. Actually, the extremely talented get trained even slower at our studio. They don't want to risk ruining them. I know the change has to be difficult for you but don't panic, pointe work developing slowly even just at the barre at 12 is normal and healthy. I also know not everyone agrees with me!

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I'm just curious if there are many schools that have children do ALL classes on pointe? I've never heard of that, is it a Balanchine thing? I could see why your dd might be disappointed with that change, but perhaps she will be better off in the long term.

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FairyofMine ... There is a thread, just seven topics down from this one. "Pointe Training - Is she Ready?". It would be a really good thread for you to read as the material covered is good and solid. The feedback is first class! It's peppered with humor and other 'growth' issues and has wisdom worth taking the time to read. There are so many dolly dinkel schools out there that are big and successful looking and put tinies en pointe much too early. Read the thread, you'll be glad you did!

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Pasdetrois- Yes, that is an excellent thread...Thank you.


There is another post around regarding after SI letdown. The disappointment is a bit of that, I am sure. It is difficult to spend your summer with daily Pointe and variations classes then return to wearing your Pointe shoes only twice a week for a very short class. Dd needs to "recalibrate" back to the slow simmer of her year round school. :wink:

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Wearing pointe shoes for ballet technique classes is usually credited to Balanchine; however, SAB does not have twelve year olds do this. At SAB, students start ballet at age 8, pointe at 12, and it is not until age 14-16 that they start wearing pointe shoes all the time.


FairyofMine, I actually think the lack of pointework at this age will be a good thing for your daughter. She has many years of pointe ahead of her (although she may not realize it now!) and she will have many more if she goes the slow and steady route, thereby being more likely to avoid burnout and injuries. :wink:

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