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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pointe Class: 1-hour vs. 30 minutes


citibob

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An adult student recently asked about pointe classes at Ballet Academy East. Such classes are in the format of a 1.5 hour pointe class. Other pointe classes are in the format of 30 minutes after a regular technique class.

 

What are the pros and cons of these two training approaches? What is more appropriate depending on one's experience level en pointe?

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Meaning, 1.5hrs all on pointe, but presumably pointe-oriented? I like this idea a lot--I feel like one of the main obstacles to building strength and ease on pointe for adults is a simple lack of enough time in the shoes.

 

The [dedicated] pointe class where I go is 1 hour, but is immediately preceded by a 1.5 hour tech class, which many of the pointe students take. The teacher expects those who weren't in the tech class to be somewhat warmed up already. It makes for a long night, though--probably I'd prefer just a 1.5hour pointe class.

 

I feel like 30 min. pointe classes just aren't enough time, though of course if they were after _every_ class...

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Thirty-minute pointe classes are usually for students just past the very introductory phase of pointe instruction, the part that's the last fifteen minutes of a ninety-minute technique class. Hour pointe classes are more usual for intermediate level and up. Given a proper curriculum and syllabus, a teacher could very easily develop lesson plans for a ninety-minute pointe class.

 

As you can see, the ever-lengthening time spent devoted to pointe is incremental, by definition, and cumulative over the span of the curriculum.

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I feel like 30 min. pointe classes just aren't enough time, though of course if they were after _every_ class...

 

The most irritating part of a 30 minute pointe class is that at least 5 minutes are dedicated to put on shoes (and put them off to change the padding etc.), thus most 30 minutes classes I have attended where actually only 20 minutes in time. While I think it is very important that students are fully warmed up (by a preceding ballet class), I rather have an hour of pointe work than just a small "add-on" at the end of a technique class.

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I'm talking here about a class where the typical student is about 12 years old. It is up to the teacher to make sure that the students are properly instructed in how to put on the pointe shoes, when, and where. It is the responsibility of the studio owner to make sure that there is a place, if it is not done in the classroom, to give students an appropriate space in the changing area and the approaches to the classroom which is free of wax or other contaminants of pointe shoes. A ½-hour pointe class should ALWAYS be scheduled with a technique class immediately ahead of it, and sufficient time for changing shoes efficiently allowed for in the lesson plan.

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Ooops, isn't this the adult board?

 

Mel, I agree on your views on time management in between classes, but I have rarely encountered an adult class where there was an extra time for putting on shoes (basically I pay for the waiting time when some students take 10 minutes to put on their shoes).

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Ooops, isn't this the adult board?

 

Mel, I agree on your views on time management in between classes, but I have rarely encountered an adult class where there was an extra time for putting on shoes (basically I pay for the waiting time when some students take 10 minutes to put on their shoes).

 

My point exactly. Adults shouldn't need ten minutes to get into pointe shoes. The time for experimentation with padding, &c. is before the class begins. If you need more than about three minutes, you're doing something wrong.

 

Hans, in my hypothetical ninety-minute pointe class, a lot would be basic ballet technique, but done with an emphasis en pointe. It would be in addition TO a regular technique class. I myself would prefer to teach an hour pointe class after a technique class.

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My point exactly. Adults shouldn't need ten minutes to get into pointe shoes. The time for experimentation with padding, &c. is before the class begins. If you need more than about three minutes, you're doing something wrong.

 

I'm not sure about this. I think there's often this thought that as adults we know 'better' or whatever, but I think that for a lot of adults going on pointe - that is, beginning pointe dancers - there is just as much questioning, need for supervision, etc.... from a knowledgeable, informed, caring teacher. The feeling of 'well you're an adult, you should know' also serves as an obstacle to ask questions...

 

Major Mel, I'm not disagreeing with you - we don't need 10 minutes, etc., but there are similar questions and experimentation, whatever, that beginning pointe folks, as adults, still need to have addressed.

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I wish I could find a good adult pointe class full stop (or period - as you say on the other side of the Atlantic).

 

15 mins at the end of one of my regular classes is not enough.

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I don't mind how long somebody takes to put on pointe shoes/padding, but my point is that this time should not be taken away from the actual class time.

 

K123, I wholeheartly agree on your view of 15 mins!

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Re: using class time to get shoes all set, etc.: It's true, for returning adults, there's often a period of experimentation and adjustment, especially since there's a lot of new stuff out there for those of us who were away for (ahem) a while. But this should be taken care of before class.

 

An advantage of the stand-alone pointe class is that students can reasonably be expected to arrive in time to get themselves prepared as needed. If the pointe class is tacked on to the end of a class, some delay is inevitable, even with the speediest shoe-changers.

 

And yes, I am unimaginably grateful for the one-hour dedicated pointe class available to me as well as the teachers who allow me to do their technique classes on pointe (of course, there's one teacher who I suspect likes to toss in things that are extra-hard on pointe when the pointe shoes appear...)

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I feel as though a half hour after a regular technique class is good for a beginning pointe student, but an hour to an hour and a half is necessary after the initial introduction to pointe.

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Re: using class time to get shoes all set, etc.: It's true, for returning adults, there's often a period of experimentation and adjustment, especially since there's a lot of new stuff out there for those of us who were away for (ahem) a while. But this should be taken care of before class.

 

 

I agree with this for returning students, and I agree with the idea that putting on shoes, etc, should not take away from class time. But specifically for adults who are going on pointe for the first time - not as returners, I think there needs to be some way (their first pointe class, scheduling a meeting with a teacher, etc), for questions/answers/advice, etc - too often I see concerns not addressed.

 

That said, I also agree with lampwick - 1/2 hour pointe is just not enough after a while.

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I believe that quite a few teachers expect adult students to pick a lot of things up by osmosis. (Information moves from a more saturated to a less saturated area through a permeable barrier) Now, while a lot of times, this can be the situation, adult new starters need just as careful instruction in how to put on pointe shoes as adolescents do, maybe even MORE careful. If you haven't been given this direct instruction, then by all means talk to your teacher and get the correct information from her/him.

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