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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pointe, here we come!


NikkisMamma

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Yes, I *know*.... this happens to tons of kids, all the time, and their parents are just as proud and excited (and maybe a bit worried) as I am... but I still wanted to share and hope that it OK!

 

DD, whose classes have followed the age recommendations very nicely, turned 11 this fall and this is her second year of pre-pointe classes added after one of her 4 weekly 90min technique classes.

 

They just got THE talk and letter on Tuesday that a little over half of their class will begin pointe work, including her! I wish I had been there to see her initial reaction but I missed it because I was attending my other daughters gym practice. She is just over the moon, happy tears, squealing.... it's just so amazing to see their hard work get them to the goal they want, isn't it? They will begin during March, when my DD will be 11 1/2 and our SO/head teacher is quite conservative about putting them en pointe so I'm confident that she believes these girls are ready. Several of her classmates (who are all older) were told in a gentle way that they needed to work on X,Y and Z before they were strong enough to being pointe.

 

I know, and more importantly, DD knows that it is going to be a lot of hard work and slow progress, she's not expecting to pirouette across the floor in a couple of weeks, LOL, but it's still so exciting and such a milestone for these young dancers. I just hope that it's all she's expecting it to be.

 

We already got her fitted, the much awaited and desired pointe shoes are snuggled safe in their bag, now she's just waiting for the sewing class with sr company so she can start (per teachers instructions) wearing them around the house with socks over to protect and with strict orders to NOT go up en pointe but simply to get used to them.

 

Soooo.... any pointers for us as we begin this new adventure?? How do they "branch out" from what is selected for them at the beginning stage as far as accessories like ouch pouches and whatever not... just trial and error/recommendations from older dancers? So far she has one set of reg ouch pouches fitted with her shoes.

 

Thanks for reading my excited ramblings! I've already combed the Pointe shoe forum since Tuesday, LOL!

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Congratulations to you and your DD! It is an achievement and a milestone for many young dancers.

 

I will share our experience since my DD will be 13 in two weeks and this will be one of the last times to post on this forum. After about a half year in pre-pointe shoes, DD's teacher took the class (and parents) on a field trip to the local ballet store where each girl was fitted for her first pointe shoes. We have pictures! I know that some schools will require certain brands for beginning students, but that was not the case for DD's school. The only prohibition we had with shoes was no Russian Pointes. Some girls had to special order shoes because of small or narrow feet. DD's teacher along with the pointe shoe fitter had to approve the shoes. For the rest of the year, DD's class was only allowed to use lamb's wool. No ouch pouches or gel padding. I think this is so the girls will learn how to feel the floor, get used to the feeling of the shoes, and maybe build up some nice callouses? The teacher observed how the shoes worked for girls in class and would make recommendations for new shoes/refittings. She would also supervised the next 1 or 2 pairs of shoes purchased so that we weren't stuck with $90 shoes that we couldn't return. My DD switched from the original brand of shoes to another brand after her foot began to grow and the pointe work increased. She began to blow out the shoes so we looked for a brand that might give her more time in the shoes and relive the pressue in my pocketbook. After the first full year of pointe, my DD began to learn from older dancers about ouch pouches and other little sewing tricks of the trade.

 

I would say much of the beginning pointe journey is trial and error, learning from other dancers, learning about your own feet and what feels best, different preferences of teachers and pointe shoe fitters, a lot of factors not proven by science and research! Good luck to your DD and congratulations!

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Congrats to your daughter. I remember being thrilled when I was approved for pointe shoes when I was younger. My 9 year old is already asking when she'll get some but she'll have to wait a good 2 or 3 years yet!

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  • Administrators

BalletTeacherUK, be sure and add to your profile that you are also a parent of a dancer! :)

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I've just tried to do that but I keep getting an error: #10245 saying I'm not allowed to view member profiles :( I'm only trying to go to my own though!

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Congratulations to you and your dd!

 

My dd started on pointe this year, and it's been both fun and an educational experience. She did change brands after her first pair of pointe shoes, and I think that as time goes on she learns what feels better and how it should feel. With her first pair of shoes she didn't use padding, but with this brand she has a little toe cap on her big toe. She says that this new brand feels so much better than the first pair.

 

I think it's a very individual experience for each dancer, and I've found that it's given my dd some self-confidence in deciding what's right for her as opposed to others and trusting her instincts. Or, maybe she's just growing up and it happens to coincide with going on pointe!

 

Once again, congratulations!

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A post was removed offering advice regarding pointe shoes pending a review by our Pointe Shoe Moderators.

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first off, congrats to your daughter. My dd has been on pointe just about 8 months. It has been a very interesting year so far.

 

One of the best things I can advise is... do not sew her shoes for her. Let her learn and take responsibility for that. IT is so tempting to want to help, but step away!

 

Go to a good fitter... even if you have to drive several hours. Our local store only stock 4-5 brands and NOT the one my daughter wears. If we had not gone to the big city store, she could easily have been mis -fitted. As it is, I think she wears the most expensive ones around (suffolk prequels) but that is how it seems to go! They are comfortable and she is thrilled.

 

There are several terrific books out there about pointe shoes as well as this forum being a wonderful source of info.

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Thank you all for sharing my excitement and offering personal anecdotes! I know this will be a difficult, frustrating, fun and rewarding journey. From what I have read here as well as talked to the more experienced parents at our studio, I realize that finding the perfect pointe shoe can be extremely difficult and once DD is more experienced (perhaps 2yrs from now or so) we will probably go see what a fitter with a much larger selection can do for her, unless we get lucky and she is completely happy with whatever is available at our studio. For now, we have complete faith in the fitter at our studio (who, after all, has fitted hundreds if not thousands of dancers over the past 25yrs...). My only concern is the somewhat limited array of shoes. :) And of course, the more I read up on it the more I'm worried that these particular shoes might not be her "perfect" shoes and if it's going to make her not love it as much as she could... I have no clue what to look for other than what I can read here. :) There is no way we will start "experimenting" for quite some time, I'm sure it wil happen naturally when she gets more experienced and talks more to older dancers about it specifically. For the next few years, I wouldn't dream of having her do anything regarding pointe without her teachers specific approval! :)

 

I have not sewn her flats for her at all this year in preparation for her to be able to sew her pointe shoes by herself, as they are expected to in our studio. One of her friends (older girl) has already volunteered to show her and they will all have a special "pointe shoe sewing" class. :)

 

Thanks again! I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this forum, and how wonderful it is to have a (non-biased) place to talk ballet! Thank you!!!

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Congratulations to your daughter. :) As others have said, a lot of what your DD will learn will be through trial and error, getting to know what works for her feet and her stage of development as a dancer. Enjoy!

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Congratulations to your DD! When my DD was 12, she went on pointe and it was like Christmas morning for her lol. She started with Grisko, switched to Russian Pointes (which she hated and had the worst time in) and is now in Bloch Serenades. She loves the Bloch's and I was thrilled because they were the cheaper of the three. It's definitely been a trial and error process as to what feels right for her. She's tried ouch pouches and is now using gellows. Lots of trial and error.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Missmary

[NikkisMamma],

 

It certainly is an exciting time for young dancers when they finally get to go up! I did want to respond to your comment that your only concern about the fitter is the "limited array of shoes." No matter how skilled a fitter is, if they don't have access to the wide variety of shoes that are available, it can be problematic. For a young dancer with growing feet, its a very important time to find "The Right Shoe" - and it may be necessary during that early growing/training period to change shoes (not just the size) as their feet grow - , and change in response to training. Our fitter stocks a dozen different brands of pointe shoes in a wide variety of styles and sizes,and is knowledgeable about the characteristics of those he doesn't stock, and is more than willing to special order from other manufacturers for her to try until he finds the right shoe for now - and sometimes the shoe that is "perfect" NOW is no longer right 6 months later. Hopefully her teachers and your fitter check the young dancers' feet and shoes frequently, particularly when they are new to pointe. A young dancer new to pointe doesn't really have any experience about "how" their pointe shoe should feel, but their teachers and a good fitter can learn a lot by looking at the condition of their feet, and changes in their shoes. One of the big shocks as young dancers progress in terms of training is how much you will eventually need to budget for pointe shoes. Last year at my DgD's Summer Intensive, she broke in six new pairs of pointe shoes for her 6 week SI - and all but one were dead by the end. Good luck to your daughter!!

Edited by dancemaven
Removed unnecessary quote of long previous post to save bandwidth and to promote flow of the conversation.
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@Nikkismamma: Congrats! My DD (11 1/2 yo) was approved to start pointe also and we just got her fitted with Grishko 2007s. She was so excited. We brought her shoes in to her teacher and she said they were perfect for her, so I sewed her elastics but DD did the ribbons herself. A real milestone for the young dancers.

 

@Missmary: I have a question about the number of pointe shoes used at SI. My DD is going away for 6 weeks this summer and I was planning on sending her with 2 pairs of pointe shoes. Did you send your DD with 6 pairs or purchase them for her along the way as they died? My DDs feet seem to grow a 1/2 size every 3-4 months.

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@lovedance: I emailed the SI where DD will be going to ask about how many pointe shoes to bring. I gave them her age and how long she had been on pointe thinking that they would probably know within a level or so where she would be placed even though the placement class isn't until the first day. In our case, I was told to bring 3 extra pairs for a 3-week intensive. I plan on sending two already sewn and two more without ribbons or elastic so that I can return them unused if her foot grows. She can always sew them while she's there if she needs to.

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MamatoMary, the store has lots of brands in stock from what I gather *but* the AD prefers to get the beginners started in a few select models (Bloch Amelies/Proteges or Serenades, *or* Freeds). I don't know why, those are just the shoes she has selected as best for her beginners. Once they are more advanced, they can choose from a bigger selection and of course get fitted elsewhere (like RDA festivals, other stores although nearest one is 3-4hrs away etc). I fully realize that finding the "perfect" shoe can and probably will be a long process but I'm hoping that these first ones will be good for now. The fitter is very experienced and I know of only one kid who feels she has not been expertly fitted right here at "home". :)

 

I think *I'm* more worried about finding the "perfect" shoe right now than DD is. I have read so much here about what a difficult journey it can be that I'm freaking out a little, wondering how she could have possibly have found a good fit with so few choices and what if they're not "right" etc etc... but I have to breathe and hope for the best. :)

 

I'm dreading the SI/pointe shoe thing. DD won't be going away this year, probably not next year either, but I know other parents of slightly older kids who sent their DDs with 3 pairs and still ended up having to buy more at the SI (5wk SI). These were 1st or 2nd year pointe students...

 

Lovedance, congrats again to your DD!!

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