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Ballet Talk for Dancers

To Pointe or not


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My daughter is 19 and a sophomore, dance major in college. She had knee surgery at age 14 for a torn meniscus. The knee has been ok for the most part, but under periods of intense rehearsals, etc, it has given her some pain. She is a very strong modern dancer, and that is her passion. She has not done pointe since the surgery (before that she had only been on pointe for less than two years). Her college has made a big, giant move towards more ballet/pointe than modern. The last performance was almost all ballet/pointe, with only 1 modern piece for which she was not chosen. The spring performance is going to be Tommy, a rock opera ballet, and when it was originally set on the Dayton Ballet, of course, they were all on pointe. My daughter is feeling alot of pressure to try pointe again, or risk never getting to perform in anything while in school. :jawdrop:


I am planning to take her to the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries for an evaluation. But I have 2 questions:

1. Does anyone have any experience with kids coming back from this type of surgery and doing pointe successfully, and without further injury?

2. Does anyone know of the absolute best place to get fitted for pointe shoes in New York. (we are on Long Island, but will travel)


Any helpful suggestions, or insights would be much appreciated...

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If I may, does she have hyperextended knees? How did she tear it in the first place?

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Nope, no hyperextended knees. She just knelt down one day and we heard a loud pop. It hurt a little but it seemed to pass, so she went on to do a summer intensive where she did do pointe. Before the 3 weeks was over, she couldn't even straighten the knee at all. She had surgery right after the intensive, the doc said it was a bucket handle tear, so they cut out the torn part and did not repair it. He said the recovery time was longer for that.

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My DD also had knee surgery at age 14. Her meniscus turned out not to be torn, but needed to be tacked down (hypermobile meniscus). She was on crutches for a while, and had a full brace for many weeks.


She did return to pointe after she was fully healed and she had caught back up with her class. I can't remember the time frame any longer -- she's 23 now -- but I can tell you that senior year she danced Sugarplum! So, I guess that qualifies as a successful return.


She is just one data point, but I guess that's all it takes to prove that it can be done. Good luck to you and your DD.

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Actually, pointe work is not generally the cause of knee problems. It's rotation. Forced or incorrectly used rotation, or lack of us of rotation, is much more likely to cause injury than pointe work itself. If the knee has healed, I don't really think she has any reason to fear pointe work, as long as she has good alignment, weight placement, and correct usage of her rotation. Rotation needs to be worked and used to the best of one's ability, but not forced.

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Thanks you all so much for your input! I'll pass along the info to her, hopefully it will all work out.


Does anyone know of any good places to fit pointe shoes in New York. (we had some really bad fittings in the past, and don't want to make that expensive mistake again)

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Mary Carpenter at Freed. It sounds like Freeds may be a good choice for her anyway because they are good tools to help a dancer with her placement.

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Thanks again, we will certainly check it out. She used to wear Chacotts and Gambas back when she did pointe. She had kind of an odd foot, and we used to have to have a low vamp and a 3/4 shank. Sometimes I even had to cut the shank down more for it to conform in the right place on her foot. Oh the woes... :D

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