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Article on Pointe Readiness


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I found this nice article on point readiness on the website of Internal Association for Dance Medicine and Science. I would love to hear the Pro Mods weigh in on the content. I really liked the specificity of the article. As a researcher I tend to like specific and scientifically supported information.



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We have discussed this article before, but it has been a while, so it's good that it came up again. It is an excellent article, and I take exception to only one thing, which is that it is okay, with some qualifications stated, to put a twice a week student on pointe if they meet those qualifications. I do not feel that a two class a week student can successfully meet the qualifications in most cases.


The rest of the article is fine, especially the quotes from Celia Sparger, and the very end quote from George Balanchine.


I have taught in many, many places around the country, and I see students everywhere I go who have pointe shoes, but cannot get up on pointe correctly and cannot do anything once they are there. It is painful to watch, and extremely frustrating. The rush to pointe work should be, IMO of course, illegal. Trying to work with a student who has no control of abdominal muscles, no use of gluteus and upper thigh muscles and rotation, sometimes knees that don't straighten, no solid demi-pointe position with good balance, etc., etc., etc., is beyond difficult. It is just plain wrong, potentially harmful in many ways, useless, and unnecessary.

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Thank you too for posting the article learningdance. Even though my DD is turning 9 this fall; the previous ballet school we had left this past March would have had her taking pre-pointe classes this year. I'm sure if we had stayed she would have been en pointe prior to 10yrs.

I'm glad I've read a wealth of information off of this board to move my DD to a reputable school where she is properly placed for her age and ability.

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After reading this can I ask.....Should you have their feet Xray prior to starting pointe? I have heard of parents doing this and others who don't. Thanks

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Ipnlotus, we took our DD to have a full evaluation by an orthopedist which included an x-ray. I am not sure that there is one standard but we wanted to be sure for the sake of her health despite what others may have done.

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  • 9 months later...

Interesting article--lots to think about. I realize this is an old thread, but rather than start a new one I'll ask my question here. Point number three listed in the guidelines at the end states:


If she is not truly pre-professional,

discourage pointe training.


I'm wondering if this is a commonly held belief. If I understand correctly, he is saying that there is no point (ahem :grinning:) to going en pointe if you are not planning on a professional dance career. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Here is the thing.....if they are taking classes at a recreational school, they will usually only take 2 classes a week. Often they are even one hour classes instead of 1.5 hours. Even a student who is 11 or 12, and studying for 3 or 4 years, will not be sufficiently prepared for pointe work, even if she has the physical facility.


Therefore, it's not about their goals as much as it about the training. If they are in a very good school, with the proper number of classes and hours for enough time to be ready for pointe work, and it is something they really want to do, if they have the facility, then why not? They do not have to have the goal of becoming a professional dancer, but they do have to want it badly enough to take the number of classes over a long enough period of time. They must reach a certain level of technique and strength, and be willing to add even more classes or more time for each class, in order to get in the pointe work.

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I've been curious about something, and this seems like a good time to ask. Where I live there are two pre-pro schools. One (not the one DD attends) tends to put their girls en pointe at a younger age but they spend an entire year at the barre without doing any center work. The other waits a bit longer, but the girls start doing center work earlier - about halfway through the year. So my question is: is it better to start earlier and do more at the barre or start a year or so later and begin center work? (I left the ages out because I didn't want specific ages to sway opinions - I'm just inquiring about generalities.)

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I agree with Miss Leigh. Students who are ready, and commit to a program of study which supports safe and proper pointe technique, should be placed on pointe regardless of their intention to pursue a professional career. If the prerequisite to pointe work includes the students desire to dance professionally I believe most non "professional" schools would close due to lack of enrollment. (I am not saying we should place students on pointe to increase income. That is a tragedy in itself.) It's like saying if you don't want to play in a professional orchestra you shouldn't learn the violin or the piano. If the time commitment is there, along with the physical and mental attributes of course, there shouldn't be an issue. The benefits of the commitment to higher learning within the art, i.e. pointework, far exceed the walls of a studio. These are our future patrons, donors, administrators, and parent of the next generation of dancers. I believe each student has the right to learn the art properly regardless of their intentions.

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Yes, a student being introduced to pointe should have been studying ballet technique for at least three years, the latest year of which should consist of three classes per week, each 90 minutes long.

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Once they begin, are three 90 minute classes/week still sufficient? And is pointe work typically integrated into those classes or a separate class?

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