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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Pointe in Lower Level Ballet Classes


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Hey all,


I'm thinking about moving and have been researching ballet studios. Of course for adults, most studios have like "beginning pointe" for like 30 minutes once or twice a week. I was wondering do you all think (or have had experience with) taking lower level/ basic ballet classes in pointe shoes could suffice for the absence of a real pointe class?


Do you all think I could improve this way, or do you think I should keep researching for studios that have real pointe classes like 4-5 days a week (which may be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, unless any of you know of specific studios)?



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I asked a lot of questions over the last while since I'm starting out and plan to go en pointe eventually, and from what I gather it takes a long time to get on pointe, but doing it 4-5 days a week is probably overkill unless you're professional or want to learn it really quickly which could take it's toll on your feet unless they're naturally strong. 30 minutes once or twice a week would probably be good to start off on, and work your way up to doing it more often as your feet can take it? Keep doing it for a year or so maybe before stepping up. I think a lot of the excercises and stretches you do with regular ballet will help with pointe work anyway.

Edited by Roseweave
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gerlonda, there are virtually no pointe classes for adults in my city, so most adults (with prior pointe experience) do what you say. It is not ideal, but it can be OK if your teacher is open to it and will help you by giving pointe-specific corrections during those "regular" classes. A number of people here will also put on pointe shoes after a regular class to do some of the standard pointe exercises on their own, and some teachers do tend to stay back to offer feedback. That being said, one of the problems as far as I'm concerned is that it's hard to keep up a schedule with the number of at-level regular classes (taken on demi-pointe) plus lower-level classes (taken en pointe) that I would want to advance both aspects of my technique.

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Okay. Gav, I am actually gravitating to Berkeley Ballet Theater in Berkeley, CA or Ballet Nova in D.C. (Falls Church, VA). I will enjoy both cities, I'm just trying to make the best decision.... even looking at other cities if others know of any other studios offering a ton of good ballet classes....

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Guest Pas de Quoi

I feel for you - finding a good program for adults that includes appropriate pointe classes, or classes that have pointe work for the last 15-20 minutes of technique class is very hard in some localities.


gav provides the best scenario in such cases, and as she states, it is not ideal.


Pointe work should be a separate part of a technique class that is at an appropriate level. Unless the teacher is very good at this kind of thing (allowing students to do part of a lower level class on pointe), bad habits can easily creep in, despite a person's best efforts, and I have found that doing things this way tends to just wear out the shoes without really helping the dancer develop her skills in pointe work.


If I were faced with this situation, I would attempt to form a group of like minded students, and pay an instructor extra to conduct a true semi-private pointe class following a technique class.

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I used to be at a large studio which catered for adult dancers in either ballet or contemporary 6 days a week. But no pointe! However, some teachers were OK about wearing pointe shoes for barre as a strength thing. One teacher who came in especially in the summer would also encourage students already on pointe to change into pointe shoes after barre to do the centre on pointe.


Like Pas de Quoi, I think gav suggests your best compromise: find a teacher sympathetic to you doing class in pointe shoes. And then maybe as Pas de Quoi says, you 'll find a group of like-minded people and can set up a dedicated pointe class.


Good luck with the move! It's exciting (well, you have to keep focusing on that, otherwise moving is horrible).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Gerlonda, I was a student at BalletNova, and the teachers there are fine with you taking classes in pointe shoes as long as you're up to it! Constance Walsh encouraged me to do barre en pointe so that I would get more strength and experience. Their beginning pointe class is relatively new, so I'm not sure how it's progressed since I left in May of 2012, but they are one of the few studios that have an intermediate pointe class for adults as well. Personally, I think it's a great studio for adults. I can't recommend it enough!

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hello Deanlaur,

Thanks for responding to my post regarding adult pointe. I see you are in the DC/MD area and that you recommend Ballet Nova. Personally do you feel like adults improve and advance there? Do teachers give "real" corrections to adults and not just say "Good" to anything they do? Are there performance opportunities for really good young adults?

Thanks for your help!

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I do think adults improve and advance there. I definitely saw it over the course of the time I was taking classes there! The teachers do give real corrections, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the students who take class there take it very seriously and want to improve and advance. As for performance opportunities, I'm not sure how that would go. They just started having adults participate in the in-studio shows for the school, but I don't know about any of the stage shows.


Sadly, I'm in LA now, which is why I'm not taking classes there anymore!

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I have, but it's more of a hodgepodge. I take classes at two different studios so that I can get in enough class time, but the studios themselves are so small! I have some great teachers who are very technical and precise, and some who aren't. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'm a perfectionist, so any time I can take a class with someone who will correct me and help me improve, that's where I gravitate. I've found that most of the dance studios here that have really nice facilities are geared towards hip hop and contemporary...I guess that's going to be better for people in the entertainment industry, but it doesn't help me!


One of my studios caters almost exclusively to adult dancers, and I have to say, I love that. It's such a nice, warm community of other people like me who have day jobs and lives, but share this thing that we love and are passionate about!

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Gerlonda, I just found out that BalletNova has cancelled their adult pointe classes. What a bummer! Apparently the turnout was too low to justify keeping them on the schedule.

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In the bay area, I know of the schools who teach serious adult students pointework. LINES Dance Center, ODC, and SF Academy of Ballet all have adult pointe classes that are not just "beginning pointe". Just in case you ever happen to be in the area....

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