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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Advice re: bare foot pointe!


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Now, I know you are all going to shout at me for even asking this question! :wink:


My dd is (as most girls are) obsessed with going onto pointe. So much so that she frequently "dances" and walks around the house on pointe....yes really...in bare feet. I have told her she really should not do this and why, but tell a child "no" and they will do it anyway!



So my question is, is it better to watch a child go on pointe in bare feet, or allow her supervised "up" time (1 or 2 minutes) in some pointe shoes that will at least support her fragile feet?



It's a bit of a dilemma for me! I hate seeing her on her toes, as I do not want her to damage them, but she does it anyway!

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, smiler :wink:


I'm afraid that the answer to your question is neither of the above! It is absolutely not good for her to walk on her toes barefoot, and it is just as bad for her to have pointe shoes before she has been officially put on pointe by her teacher.


How old is this child, and how much training has she had?


Since this is not a shoe topic, but really a question about what is best for a child in terms of being on pointe, I'm moving this to a parent forum, but will wait until I hear the age of the child.

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Welcome, smiler, to Ballet Talk for Dancers. :wink:


How old is the child?


How long has she been taking classes, and how many per week?

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Shes 7 an 4 years, once a week.


I know neither is good for her, and Im pushing her not to do it, I just wanted opinions!!


I have explained to her about her feet and bones, and have no intention of getting any shoes, but it's one of those questions no-one seems to address!! (apart from a good telling off lol!!)

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Smiler, she is a long way from pointe shoes yet. LONG way! She needs to be two classes a week now, and maybe 3 by age 8 or 9. These need to be 1.5 hour classes. After a couple of years of that, around 11-12, she could be ready for pointe shoes.


In the meantime, keep her off of her toes and far away from the shoes!!!


Just out of curiosity, has she always done this toe-walking, or is it since she decided that she wants to be a ballerina?

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She never "toe walked" as a toddler, but started about 6 months ago (aged 6), yes as you said, wanting to be a ballerina.


I have asked her time and time again not to, but she does it anyway, as children will.


Of course, having danced myself I know the regular advice, but no-one I know has done this (or been able to). Admittedly, she is tiny, and has no weight to speak of...she still gets into age 3-4 yr clothing except they are short on her...she's V skinny!! But Ive never known anyone able to go up without shoes!

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Smiler - My daughter did this as well when she was around 8 - 9 years old. I took care of it by telling her ballet teacher, and having her teacher talk to her about why it was dangerous. Her teacher told her that she could hurt herself by walking that way, and that she might prevent herself from ever going en pointe. That was all she needed to hear, and she never did it again. Of course, I told her the same thing, but it's different coming from a teacher. :wink:

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Smiler, it sounds like she is just pretending to be a ballerina. This does not make it a good thing. Short of controlling her somehow, which is hard in terms of all the time, maybe ignoring, and being sure that everyone else ignores it too, like no one telling her how cute she is up there or anything like that, but also not telling her not to do it. Try looking the other way.

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It sounds as if she's doing it to get a reaction from mummy, and the behavior may be self-limiting as she grows. Just the same, the next trip to the doctor's might contain a query for advice about the matter.

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Well I wouldn't be 'asking' my daughter not to do it, I'd be 'telling' her, in no uncertain terms if necessary. It could be very dangerous. If a talk from her ballet teacher didn't do the trick I would punish her, bribe her or whatever it took. She is absolutely too young to get pointe shoes and no shop in their right mind would sell them to her.

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Another idea would be for her teacher to give her some other challenge that would be safe for her to practice at home, some other balancing or moving activity, that you could redirect her to when you see her doing something unsafe. When my daughter was young, no never worked as well as "Let's do this instead."

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Thanks for all your advice!


When I say I ask, I have a policy at home to "ask" twice and then she get's told...sorry if that caused any confusion and made me seem a bit soft on her!


I do try distractions such as "teach me what you do in class", but I am hoping this is a phase, albeit a long one, and she'll grow out of it. I think though if it persists longer over a year, speaking to her teacher is a very good idea!, but I don't want to put her off too soon, it's exam year!

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When I was a child, I used to walk like that frequently at home for over a year...


My aim was to convince my parents on how passionate I was on ballet and demanding to have a ballet course.


Unfortunately, I never had those classes :-(


Fortunately, my toes are ok. Not broken or anything.


But I think I was lucky.


I have a girl exactly at 7 years and 4 months. So I can understand how resistant they can be. Doctor's advice or ballet teacher's talk may be helpful as other friends have already suggested.

Edited by Bada
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Smiler, I used to do this as a child about your daughter's age and ended up with enlarged big toe joints and a massively wide foot (XXXXX) from calcium deposits and bursitis, which made it difficult to fit my foot in pointeshoes and eventually caused me pain once I started pointe work. I hope you're able to convince her to be patient and develop her half-toe work, because I wouldn't want any child to go through the kind of misery my first years on pointe turned out to be.

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My grandbaby, not quite 3, astounded me over Christmas by walking on her toes and twirling around. Not tiptoe, mind you, on her toes. Her mother, my daughter, said she started doing it after she saw ballerinas on TV. Afraid she'd ruin her feet, Nana here went out and got the little toe dancer tiny tap shoes to distract her. Nobody's seen her doing toe stands in them yet, and she loves the noise they make, so the distraction seems to have worked. It may be possible to distract (not bribe) your 7 year old.

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