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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Putting Adults on Pointe


Gayle

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gimpydancer

Especially when they're so great at what they do!

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luceroblanco

Well, I can't speak to why adults want to get on pointe, since I've never wanted to even when I was younger, and surely do not now. I know that my body and feet could not take it. I also come from a modern dance background and I admire the dancers who do pointe but I don't get the appeal unless you are performing professionally, and then for women, you have to do pointe to do pro ballet. The risks and potential injuries and pain just seem to outweigh the benefits (for me personally) unless you aspire to a ballet career.

 

Speaking with some of the women in my studio (which I estimate are in their late 20s or early 30s) who want to go on pointe, they did it as children or teenagers and it is a challenge for them to get back to where they were.

 

I think it is highly irresponsible though, for teachers to allow adults and children to use pointe shoes before they have built up the strength and are taking enough classes. I guess some of these teachers/studio owners may feel that they have to give in to the adult student if they insist on going on pointe or lose the student. Some adults may also be unaware of the risks that they are taking if they are not properly trained to go on pointe.

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Why do some adults think being en pointe (when they're still struggling in flat shoes) is a good idea? Is it a status issue? ("I've been dancing for X years so I should do pointe.") A lack of awareness of the technique and strength required? A misconception that it's not really dancing unless you're on your toes? Some combination of these?

 

 

I just had to respond when I saw this statement because it is exactly what I have encountered. It is a total status issue. I have seen adults that could barely do things on flat go on pointe. It does them no good and just reinforces every bad habit in ballet known to man. The reason I feel it is a status issue is because of the "if looks could kill" stares these adults give to those adult dancers who can do pointe. These adults don't realize that just because you can prop yourself up in pointe shoes (holding the barre) it means you are ready for pointe work. They seem to forget that you can't rush learning proper technique and strength building. I really wish that all dance instructors and dance stores would treat the pointe issue the same, "not ready = no shoes!!!" Also, these people love to "brag" they do pointe (I unfortunately have to endure this while sitting in the lobby).

:thumbsup:

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Victoria Leigh

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, sanshagirl.

 

I'm trying to figure out from your post if you are also an adult student. Your profile says student, but then you talk about sitting in the lobby. Would you mind please clarifying your membership status, please?

 

Thank you! :thumbsup:

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When I restarted pointe (about 18 months ago), my teacher let me know that she felt that I was ready to go to the beginner pointe classes with the intermediate foundation girls. It was certainly not automatic- I had been back in 2-4 classes per week for the previous 18 months (doing RAD advanced foundation, but without the pointe work).

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, sanshagirl.

 

I'm trying to figure out from your post if you are also an adult student. Your profile says student, but then you talk about sitting in the lobby. Would you mind please clarifying your membership status, please?

 

Thank you! :)

I am also curious as to whether or not Sanshagirl is and "adult" or student. As an adult student I take what I do seriously, and would not be doing pointe if I "weren't ready" or as a status thing. This is insulting to us who work hard at it. My teachers both work with me individually and I do only what I'm taught to/permitted to do during lessons. I work just as hard as the students who take pointe and are younger. Perhaps Sanshagirl is unhappy? Please don't generalize all adult pointe students.

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I don't think Sanshagirl is generalising adult pointe students...as she says in her post above "SOME adults" and then says she's seen adults and continuously refers to them as "these adults" which suggests she's speaking about a specific sub-set of adult dancers who are, unfortunately, allowed by their teachers to be put en pointe too early.

 

Being an adult dancer myself and having had the misfortune of taking a (just one) class with a teacher (when I was looking around for a new studio) who immediately put me en pointe in that first lesson (having NO idea what kind of training I'd had or how long I'd been back at ballet) and who had numerous adult dancers en pointe who really shouldn't have been (they had barely any training at all, not strong enough, etc), I feel that the problem usually lies with the teachers in a case like Sanshagirl describes.

 

There's also the problem that dancing en pointe can seem like a status symbol (especially for young girls, and it's apparent also at times in adults), as one generally is supposed to have reached a certain level of strength and technique to even be allowed to dance en pointe. I think ignorance on the part of some adult dancers is also a problem - how can one know better if one has never been taught that pointe work requires good technique and a LOT of strength? IMO, there are far too many bad teachers out there who fail to educate their students (be they children or adults) about pointe work and who do not follow safe practices when it comes to pointework. I count myself lucky that I found this board because, although I have fairly-decent (best I can get right now) training, I have learnt so much more about pointework on this board. What about adult dancers who haven't had childhood training (like I had) or are completely unfamiliar with the ballet world? How can they know better if they don't know what good training is and what safe pointework practices are, simply because their teachers are poor teachers?

 

Rant over. I don't know, that's just my take on the situation. There are also many schools where adults take pointework seriously, work very hard at it and follow (good) teachers' instructions.

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Ummm...yes...this thing about putting adults on pointe does seem to be a problem, both with teachers and with adult students. I've seen women who are supposed to be adults (at least as shown by their age on their drivers license) that act like young kids when put into pointe shoes, and I've seen teachers who put these adults into pointe shoes for some unknown reason or reasons. I have also seen women do amazing, remarkable dancing when put en pointe, and it's lovely to see. As with most anything, it comes down to the individuals.

 

Thus said, I have had the good fortune to attend classes with other adults, all of us doing pointe work, where we learn a substantial amount about articulating our feet, body placement, balance, and just dancing in pointe shoes. I have also had the misfortune to attend classes with immature women who appear to be wearing pointe shoes just for the sake of showing off (with very poor ballet ability). :)

 

I guess it's just another one of those facts of life in a ballet studio, like dancers who don't know how to stay in their own space when traveling across the floor. :lol:

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Hello everyone.... just want to clarify that I am not being critical of all adult pointe students or generalizing adult students at all. I am an adult student myself. (I'll update my status). I am speaking about a a very specific type of adult student. The one who does not appreciate or understand that at any age pointe work requires a certain level of technique and strength to perform. These adults make the decision to go on pointe themselves without any clue of what they are doing, thus the status "thing". I think it make them feel like more of a dancer.

 

I was fortunate enough to have a teacher (when I started pointe) that emphasized proper technique and didn't let me do things unless she felt I was ready. Years later I still carry this mindset with me.

 

I feel that dancepig and Lau summed up my sentiments exactly.

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I'll amen the comment "dancers who don't know how to stay in their own space...." this drives me crazy - sometimes a refresher course in class ettiquete is necessary.

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Hello everyone.... just want to clarify that I am not being critical of all adult pointe students or generalizing adult students at all. I am an adult student myself. (I'll update my status). I am speaking about a a very specific type of adult student. The one who does not appreciate or understand that at any age pointe work requires a certain level of technique and strength to perform. These adults make the decision to go on pointe themselves without any clue of what they are doing, thus the status "thing". I think it make them feel like more of a dancer.

 

I was fortunate enough to have a teacher (when I started pointe) that emphasized proper technique and didn't let me do things unless she felt I was ready. Years later I still carry this mindset with me.

 

I feel that dancepig and Lau summed up my sentiments exactly.

 

 

I appreciate the clarification - thanks much - I so agree with you - I know that there is at least 1 person who comes ( and not consistently) to my studio, who one evening asked the teacher if she could wear pointe shoes. Being an open class, the instructor gave his hesitation and comments that it probably wasn't good idea, didn't do any good. She showed up the next week with pointe shoes. ARGH - It is a tough/tricky situation - I also worry about all the videos on youtube and general pointe DVDS, I have the feeling that some people also decide to learn from videos rather than with a professional, it scares me.

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there is at least 1 person who comes ( and not consistently) to my studio, who one evening asked the teacher if she could wear pointe shoes. Being an open class, the instructor gave his hesitation and comments that it probably wasn't good idea, didn't do any good. She showed up the next week with pointe shoes. ARGH - It is a tough/tricky situation

 

Doesn't have to be a tricky situation, at my studio when any student asks if she or he can wear pointe shoes, if that student isn't ready, the teacher says (and very loudly) NO. End of discussion. I have seen adults bring in pointe shoes and the teacher will tell that student to take them off if that student isn't ready to wear them. I've also seen the teacher make a loud noise when a student is more than ready to wear pointe shoes and the student doesn't want to. The student usually ends up getting pointe shoes and ends up very happy that she did.

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I am speaking about a a very specific type of adult student. The one who does not appreciate or understand that at any age pointe work requires a certain level of technique and strength to perform. These adults make the decision to go on pointe themselves without any clue of what they are doing, thus the status "thing". I think it make them feel like more of a dancer.

 

I feel bad for this sort of student more than anything else. If they don't appreciate or understand the technique or strength required to perform then they really are heavily dependent on their teacher, who should not allow them to go en pointe.

 

I wonder whether teachers feel under more pressure to put adult students en pointe, even when they're not ready?

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Mazenderan - here's a link to a post about this topic (putting adult students en pointe if they're not ready) from the teachers' board last year:

Do you make allowances for adults wanting to go en pointe? (from teachers' board)

 

It appears that some teachers really do face pressure from adult students to allow them en pointe.

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Oh - Lau, thank you for that link, it's very interesting. It's also very sad to see that any teacher would feel pressured into allowing any student to start wearing pointe shoes when that teacher is not comfortable with the situation. At least it seems that particular teacher did stand her ground.

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