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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Old guy on Pointe?


Old Ballet Guy

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After 5 long years, my teacher has asked me if I'd like to try going "En Pointe". I am excited by her offer, but should I take her up on it? I'm a 55 year old guy who loves ballet and I have worked very hard. I often joked that my goal was to be the oldest guy ever on Pointe, and now I've reached that goal, my confidence is lacking. Any advice or words of wisdom?

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Well, Old Ballet Guy, even most all of us who danced on pointe for many years have given it up well before the age of 55! Personally, I do not think it is a good idea for anyone to start pointe at that age, male or female, however, if your teacher has invited you to try it, and you trust this teacher, and you really want to do it, then, it's your life and you are an adult. Make your own decision. :rolleyes::thumbsup:

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My gut says I'd like to give it a try and I certainly have no plans to perform on Pointe or make it a serious part of my life. I'll just consider it an adventure in the wonderful world of ballet.

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I've been taking a weekly beginning pointe class, in regular technique shoes. (Most beginners attend this class in technique shoes for a few months before getting pointe shoes, to build up the right kind of strength.) It's been very good for me to develop both strength and control of what my feet and toes are doing.

 

But I have too many adult friends who complain recreationally about their pointe shoes - how much they hurt, how bad they fit, how many different ones they have tried, how expensive they are, ... even if I could, I have zero interest in putting those things on my feet! Fortunately, no matter how hard I try or how much stretching I do, my feet will never be arched enough to get over the box. So even though I'm nearly 10 years older, your record will be safe from me.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm a so called "mature dancer", since I started at about 50....

a few months ago (now I'm 55) teacher allowed some of us to try pointe: we started slowly, just half an hour per week, with both hands at the barre, but I must sayt that, with due caution and prudence, I'm really enjoying the experience .

susanna

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  • 1 month later...

Well I'll add a bit on the "men on pointe" theme as it was active some time ago, when I started doing pointe a bit (at about the age of 55).

 

Our teacher in a mixed level class had pointe exercises at the barre then continuing into the centre for about ten minutes in all. She encouraged the men to join in, which I did, partly out of curiosity, and also so as not to feel left out.

 

Glad I did it, glad I stopped, and so on. Yes, it satisfied my curiosity. It gave me a glimpse of what women go through. It helped enormously with getting the feel of how to hold my leg muscles when the foot is extended - this is the really positive value that came out of it, a lesson I remember to this day.

 

But it was difficult finding shoes big enough, my toes are the wrong shape for ballet (too tapered), and I could only keep going with difficulty and with lots of padding, and was never stable. I mainly stayed at the barre. I was completely unsuited to doing anything on pointe so apart from the strengthening/muscle sense aspect it was not helpful to me. This teacher is no longer teaching, so continuing it is not an option anyway.

 

But one reason I am replying is that there is another issue here, the gender-crossing issue in ballet. I think this is partly behind the interest the topic generates. As pointe is an extreme example of female specialism in ballet*, I think some men at least want to have a bit of experience of what the majority of ballet dancers (who are female) are going through. Once that is satisfied (at least cursorily) maybe they just then want to get on with doing ballet as usual. The other thing, is that, do men look appropriate on pointe? I think not - it does not go with the male physique or the male role. It is presumably only suitable for ironic or satirical roles.

 

Jim.

 

(*not sure if this phrase makes sense)

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Jim, don't overlook character work. I picked up pointe in order to do Cossack dances, where the pointework is entirely different from that expected in classical work, but hey, it looks very similar from the front.

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Gender lines are arbitrary in most things (other than reproductive roles) and we're just used to things "the way they are" because it's familiar. There's a lot more crossover and blending of traditional gender roles in everyday life AND in work and play, and men on pointe is just another example of that. My opinion is that anyone who has the curiosity, the physical ability, and the mental discipline to try pointe should give it a go (with the right instruction and oversight, of course), the same advice I'd give to a girl who wants to play American football. Yes, at the elite/professional levels there are understandable restrictions, but those do not apply to us recreationalists...so let's take advantage of that freedom! :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I started pointe one week before my 50th birthday, and I still enjoy it, 7 years later. :) Just a few things to keep in mind; you will need to work and progress very slowly, I mean very slowly. Don't worry if others are progressing faster than you, just listen to your body, and your feet, and you'll do fine. Also, take advantage of all of the wonderful technology there is in the new pointe shoes and all of the different types of padding. Find the best pair of shoes you can for your particular feet. If you do decide to try pointe work, be sure to fill out Ms DeVor's pointe shoe form and let her help you in finding a perfect pair of shoes for you. And lastly, enjoy the experience and let us know how you're progressing!

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