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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pointe Work Question


MrsM

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Is it standard practice to allow new pointe students to work away from the barre? Nothing lengthy or complicated, just a few minutes of every class working en pointe and away from the barre. I'll admit to being a concerned mama, so please educate me on what is typically considered safe and appropriate, or if there is no general consensus and each teacher does things his/her own way. Thank you!

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During my DD's first year of pointe the students stayed at the barre. Their time at the barre was slowly increased from 15 minutes at the beginning of the school year to 30 minutes by the end of the school year. During her second year the teacher began to do introduce a small number of center exercises. As you have already stated, each teacher does things in h/her own way.

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I think every studio/instructor may do things differently and I can't comment on what may be the correct way to do things, but in my daughter's case, they started in pre-pointes for the first 4 months and stayed at the barre during this time except for very, very limited movement in the center so they could get used to the feel of pointe shoes. Something like simple releves in the center. After that point, they were in regular pointe shoes and they did 15-20 minutes at the barre and centerwork for the last 10-15 minutes. The centerwork at this point was not limited as they were in the pre-pointes. They were doing quarter and half turns in the center as well as the releves, etc. so still not too much. I also think it depends on the age and the development of the individual dancer and the class as a whole.

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Some teachers put students on pointe very young, and keep them at the barre for a year. This is one method of doing it. Others, myself included, wait until they are older and stronger and have the technical ability to get up all the way right away. With this situation, one can move to the center much quicker. I feel it is a much better method, however, it does require the ability to keep the students (and parents) from thinking they should be on pointe at 9 or 10, or even 11.5 if they are not ready. I say 12, and if not ready, wait until they are. That means that, for me, 11.5 would be the earliest. Period. And that is VERY dependent upon technical readiness and strength and facility readiness. IF they are put up earlier, then they must stay on the barre until they develop the strength and technique for center. Not every child should be on pointe. There are, unfortunately, some who should not. Please read the article in the Sticky threads, on several forums, entitled Facts of Life About Pointe Work. Pointe work is not a "given" in ballet training. Or, at least it should not be. Again unfortunately, in some schools it is.

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Thanks for everyone's input. I was surprised when my dd was out in the center the very first lesson, even though it was after 90 minutes of technique and towards the end of a 1 hour pointe class. While I trust her teacher (she doesn't allow pointe work before age twelve either), it's still nice to hear that this falls into the realm of normal. :)

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Delighted to hear that her teacher holds off until 12! I would bet that the students are much more prepared, and should be able to some center work fairly early on.

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When it was time for both my DD"s to take pointe the instructor went very slow with the center work but they were young. They did only barre en pointe for a few months before they started center. I feel the slow progression worked to their advantage, but again they were young. I know of other schools that start pointe later that do center work quicker if the dancer is older and things have worked out great. so I wouldn't worry.

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Delighted to hear that her teacher holds off until 12! I would bet that the students are much more prepared, and should be able to some center work fairly early on.

 

Yes, she is wonderful! :)

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