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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is pointe a foolish dream?


rlyons

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I have only been back at ballet for a few months but am seeing great improvements, I believe...and I've been told, though I am still struggling greatly in petit allegro areas, etc..

I, however...I have a dream..and that is to go on pointe! I have read that it would take at least two years to be at that level and by then I will be 42! I don't look close to 40 now and am fit and super healthy (despite my body having a hard time with coming to terms with turnout...things are getting easier...and I am slowly getting more flexible too) but am I still dreaming???

 

Is it foolish to hope that I could go on pointe?

I take classes now about 3 to 4 times a week and practise at home too.

If it may be a possibility for me...around how long should it take ideally before I am ready? And what else can I do, besides taking classes to prepare myself?

I am a terribly determined person when I want something!

Who else out there started pointe for the first time at my age? And how hard was it?

Pointe shoes are the prettiest things in the world to me! :D

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This is a little off-topic, but did you resolve that hip problem?

 

I'm not a teacher, and I have absolutely NO desire to ever do pointe, but there are quite a few ladies at the studio I go to that do pointe. A couple of them are in their 40s or older. I don't know if they did it as children and came back to it or what. I think that if one is healthy, has strong feet and ankles and of a proper weight, it's possible to do it in middle age. If you've gotten beyond the hip problem then go for it. But think about the expense too. Not only do you have to take 3-4 ballet classes a week you have to take pointe class and also pay for those shoes which do not last a long time. Maybe money is not an issue for you but think about the $60 every month or more replacing those shoes... Be careful though. It's YOUR body. From what I have seen a lot of teachers of adults will let adults get on pointe even if their technique is not right or they are overweight. They are afraid to discourage the student because they'll lose income. Just make sure it feels right to you and if it were me (which it never will be) I'd get a couple of opinions about my suitability for pointe before trying it. I don't like injuries and I don't like pain so I wouldn't want to put myself into a situation for either.

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If you're strong enough and willing to work slowly and carefully, it could happen. Be prepared to take your time with it, though. Don't push or rush yourself as yet - we break a lot more easily than kids do.

 

If you are willing to stand the pain and the expense and your teachers think you can cope, then go for it. I do it on a limited basis and have certain goals that I've almost achieved. I'm not looking for perfection, but just to enjoy myself and look reasonable. LOL!

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Guest Pas de Quoi

I have the pleasure of teaching many adults who started pointe at an older age or began pointe again, after dancing on pointe at a younger age. With the correct preparation, and good feet and ankles, one can enjoy dancing on pointe, even if one is no longer a young teen or 20 something.

 

The students in my classes do not complain of pain - I try to ensure they are using good technique, are strong and well placed, and are in the correct shoes. As far as the cost of shoes goes - yes it can be quite an expense, but those who choose to wear a shoe like Gaynor Mindens ( and they are not right for everyone) can get away with far less of an expense because the shoes last much longer than other kinds of shoes. I have to concur that pointe is NOT fun if one is not ready for it. There are several threads on Ballet Talk that detail the level of technique and the physical attributes that are required to be able to dance successfully on pointe.

 

 

Good luck to you! :)

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I started pointe six months ago at the age of 46. I'm in pretty good shape, run three times a week (~2.5 miles each run), taken ballet for about six years (started as an adult) and have been taking classes three days a week for a year and a half. Yes, there are places that will put you on pointe when you're not ready. Fortunately, my studio would be the last place to put a person on pointe. Girls that moved there from other studios who were already on pointe were taken off until they were ready. We don't have adult pointe classes because most adults can't take the required three classes a week needed for pointe work. We also have an amazing pointe shoe fitter :) I had to ask a teacher I had worked with for five years for privates and then was given special permission this year to attend a children's class that has a pointe class afterwards.

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In another life, I have taken classes with adults, all late starters (none of them ever danced before). They all started around the age 30, most of them even later. When I took their class, they all were on pointe, everyone of them over 40. They did not do any great things on pointe, slowly rolling up and down, echappés at the barre and so on but they were all incredibly happy and they did much better than some of the teens I have seen!

 

I would say your dreams are realistic, also the way you think about it! You are willing to put the effort and the work that is necessary to get so far (many teens I have seen do not have that!).

 

Keep in mind: We are as young as we feel :)

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rlyons, some good advice here, but it takes time, remember. For example, elsethread you are still struggling with the basics, and you should not even be thinking about pointe until you are confident in an Intermediate level class.

 

Have a look at this Sticky from the Pointe shoe forum; it is excellent advice from a very experienced dancer and teacher:

The Facts of Life about Pointe Work

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Redbookish, I agree..if you read my first post, I mention that I know it would take at least two years to be ready. I am nowhere close...I would just like to know if it can be in the cards for me.

 

Claude_catastrophique, very inspiring! Indeed, we are as young as we feel...I often hesitate to mention age as then people limit you....but I still get asked for ID when I go out and I feel like a kid. I have never been fitter or happier in my life.

 

Gimpydancer....your name obviously doesn't remotely apply to your success as a dancer! Again...very inspiring!

 

Pas De Quoi,

Thanks! Great to hear about those older girls doing so well!

 

Serendipidy, I am not too concerned about the expense...I am not rich but all my money is mine..I don't have kids....I think that is another reason why I still feel like a kid myself! :)

 

Luceroblanco,

I have had some professionals look at my hip issue and it seems that the concensus is just my body getting used to turnout...it is getting less painful and easier as time goes on, happily.

It seems it is not the joints but the tendons and muscles.

I already take 3 to 4 classes a week and like I said...my money is mine to have fun with and this is my main hobby!

I am not overweight and I am very fit. I hike 6 times a week and am very active. I don't consider myself to be a "middle aged" person..if you saw me and spoke to me, you would laugh at this description....it's always why I am so hesitant to mention a number...people think I am in my late 20's or early 30's.

I will absolutely be careful as I have not danced for so long and have A LOT to learn before I could be even close to being ready for pointe...I just like to have a longterm goal :innocent:

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I've been in class where ladies who are older than 40 have definitely been able to school me on pointe! I hope you and the body come to terms with turn out and improving it though... I can't stress how necessary it is to be able to have decent turn out and maintaining it to be able to work on pointe safely and effectively well. Hard work, dedication, good placement, and proper technique.. that's your pathway to pointe! Best of luck!

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I am not in the 40 age group just yet, and I started pointe work nearly five years ago, one of my friends who also goes to class with me was 42 when she started on pointe and I hate to say it but she does MUCH better than I do (we were both first time on pointe at the same time)!

 

I dont believe it is just a foolish dream, I would say that with time and provided you dont have any injuries that would prohibit it it is definitely achievable... in time.

My experience... although my teacher was more than happy for me to go on pointe and perhaps nudged me a bit in that direction with hindset I dont know that my mindset was right for it yet or that I had developped all the strength that I needed. I do have high arches and strong arches but didnt have the sort of strength in the glutes and legs then that I have now... that combined with a pair of shoes that FINALLY fits well (dont ask how many pairs I went through) and I am finally starting to really make progress with pointe. I find that the need for "perfect" technique is even greater on pointe.

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I am 29 years old and just started pointe a month ago. Without an ounce of dance experience from my past, I was able to start pointe after 10.5 months of dancing. I'm still only doing about 10 minutes at a time, but it has never actually been painful, only uncomfortable. Everyone is different, but it certainly CAN be done! Good luck to you!

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I hope you and the body come to terms with turn out and improving it though... I can't stress how necessary it is to be able to have decent turn out and maintaining it to be able to work on pointe safely and effectively well.

 

This is a really good point (sorry about the pun). I was thinking further about why I am never really enthusiastic about going on pointe as the goal for adult dancers -- I think it's because bad or inadequate work on pointe is really worse than no pointe work at all. There is so much else that is there to be learnt, that I can't see the gains to be made by doing pointe work badly ... for me, it's not the be all and end all of ballet.

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why I am never really enthusiastic about going on pointe as the goal for adult dancers --

 

I'm fully supportive of all dancers who want to go on pointe because I understand the desire to reach it and the mystique it holds. Also, there's something to be said about the satisfaction and achievement after all that perseverance behind getting on pointe (before everyone gets the shoes and realizes its back to square one :thumbsup:). I also am unenthusiastic about pointe being the reason and the goal for adult dancers learning ballet. It makes me wince when I hear it because 1.) it takes so much work & dedication, 2.) it's better not to go on pointe at all if one isn't going to be doing it properly or well, and 3.) it's just not always physically possible for some people, adults and youths included. There are possible unfortunate physical factors keeping one from being able to do pointe; besides major issues like turn out, something like how one can or cannot fully point their foot, major bunion problems, or even a back/spinal issue can really get in the way!

 

Reason 1 seems to be the least of most students' worries since dancers tend to be workaholics anyway, so hey.. best of luck! I just hope that the constant rehashing of these points doesn't dishearten people or become white noise to everyone's ears.

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LaFilleSylphide....I agree that one should be ready to go on pointe and that it may be physically impossible for some...also, for me it would just be a wonderful additional goal...not the be all and end all.

I just love ballet classes so much either way. When I first started back, I had NO intention of even considering pointe but then the idea crept in. If there was a prize in my class for most improvement I think I would get it! :thumbsup:

I only started back three months ago and I don't think I would recognize myself from the start!

When I started back I was shy, lacking in confidence, unable to bend much (I had just been hiking and weight lifting for all the interim years) and couldn't remember a step to save my life....but now, I am getting compliments more and more and am so dedicated; taking 3 to 4 clases a week and practising almost every day at home... that it MIGHT be in my future.

I did the arch test and my arches are quite high, I can point my feet very well, my turnout is getting better by the day and though I still struggle, I have so much more in me!

Even if I never get on point, I will never stop dancing!

 

I don't have any injuries, am fit and at a good weight and very passionate and happy about my classes...they changed my life....Whether I go on pointe or not! :D

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