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Please help, going on pointe at 10 years old?


momto2ballerinas

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momto2ballerinas

I've posted before that we want to leave our current studio. We've been trying a few classes at another one and my DD10 did 2 classes. The teacher said that she could go on pointe this summer and had my DD go up on her demi pointes to illustrate her readiness. DD wobbled and had trouble even going on her demi pointe and I thought how on earth can she be ready? And she's only 10 which makes me nervous. This teacher has only seen her in class twice, that's it. Am I being paranoid or is this too young? It's kind of raising a red flag with me at this new studio. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much.

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momto2ballerinas

Thank you. Based on that pinned thread, it appears that my DD10 is indeed too young. So I'm not crazy then! I just can't imagine her little foot bones ready for the demand of pointe work. And like I said, she was wobbling even on her demi pointes. Would you consider that a red flag for this studio that we're contemplating going to then? I don't want my DD10 injured.

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Victoria Leigh

Yes, I would consider it a red flag, momto2ballerinas. I don't believe that most children at that age have had the quality and quantity of training necessary to prepare them properly for pointe work, nor are their bones ready for it.

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All I can say is that we left a studio when we learned that 9-10 year olds were en pointe. They had my DD pegged to go up by 10 and I was having none of it.

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momto2ballerinas

Thank you! I was worried that maybe I was being paranoid but then I read the pinned thread above and now I know that it's too soon for my DD10. Why do they rush to put them on pointe so soon I wonder? I'd think the chances of getting injured versus starting that young are too great. What I found slightly shocking too was that this teacher at the studio we were trying out has only seen my DD dance twice.

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Victoria Leigh

There are several reasons that teachers will do that, momto2. One would be lack of knowledge, of course. Another would be that she did it at 9 years old, and she danced professionally and is fine, so it has to okay. But a huge reason is very often survival. Financial survival, which means keeping the students happy and especially keeping the parents happy. Most parents are not like you and do not seem to know or question the potential dangers, they just want their child's ballerina dreams to come true. They want to see her on stage in a tutu and pointe shoes. If the teacher says no, not ready, then she will pluck her out and take her somewhere else. It's the same thing as choosing a school that is close and convenient, taking them once a week for ballet, and not having any idea that it's not exactly like piano lessons where the child has a lesson once a week and then does the rest of her own. If that closest school does not happen to be a good pre-professional school, where the only once a week classes are creative movement and pre-ballet, and the students move up to more and more training as they get to Ballet I, 2, 3, etc., and are placed on pointe only when they are both qualified and physically ready, then the parents don't know that what their child is getting at that studio is not quality training.

 

One would hope that anyone who wants to study something like music, dance, art, or anything else that the parents would seek the best training. But sometimes they just don't have enough knowledge themselves to realize that it is something one must search for, and take the time to learn about what they seeking for their child. And all that is one of THE most important reasons we exist! :)

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momto2ballerinas

Thank you! I've read such conflicting information about going on pointe too early. 10 just seems so young to me. I know the Russian style of ballet tends to put them up earlier but I worry about potential foot/ankle problems later on. It's just not worth it to me, to risk my baby (ok, she's 10 and not a baby!) getting injured when there doesn't seem to be a benefit to going up early.

 

Is it normal though for a dance teacher to have only seen my DD dance twice in class and be able to determine her readiness for pointe?

 

At my DD's current studio, they don't put you on pointe until you're 12/13. And that decision is made based on your regular teacher observing you throughout the previous year. When this new teacher said she should go on pointe this summer, my immediate thought was no way lol. But after having read your reasons above, I see how it's possible for places to do that. There are girls at the current studio my DD dances at who literally pressure and complain for the AD to put their DD's on pointe. I always thought that was crazy seeing as how the AD and teachers are the ones who know ballet and can decipher whether or not a child is ready.

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manhattanmom

I can share our experience. My daughter is 12, going into 7th grade in the fall. Her most recent dance school did not offer pointe, but she did get good solid technique and lots of prepointe work. Knowing that she would be expected to do pointe at her summer intensives, we found a good teacher who does private pointe lessons. My daughter had two one hour pointe lessons and did some practicing at home. I would have preferred a couple more privates but there was no time. She also had a good pointe shoe fitter who found a pair of shoes that fit her perfectly. I am rambling, but what I wanted to say was that my daughter and I were up in arms that her current school was not offering her class pointe. We were worried that she was getting old and would be way behind.

 

Well, the bottom line is that the first day she bought her pointe shoes she came home and started practicing on her own and doing all kinds of things on pointe without pain!!! She was strong enough to be able to do two intensive one hour private lessons with minimal pain. And the best thing is that she started her summer intensive today, took a one hour pointe class and told me that it was a piece of cake compared to her two private lessons. So...to make an incredibly long story shorter, I truly think that because she has waited until now, and because she had good prepointe training this past year, she was able to go right up on pointe as if she had been doing it forever. She experience mild discomfort today, but not much. I think if she attempted pointe, even last year, I would be telling you a different story. So, in my limited experience there is no rush to start pointe now. All my fears were unnecessary. Just make sure she is getting enough technique hours each week that include pre and even demi pointe work.

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BalletTeacherUK

Just out of curiosity when will your dd turn 11?

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Just a side note. My DD's SI began yesterday. During a class with the Director, the subject of pointe came up with DD's group (ages 8-11). Per the Director, their school typically begins pointe work around 13, but will make some students wait longer. One highly regarded student was not trained en pointe until 16. Other students are never trained en pointe and are instead directed to the school's contemporary division.

 

I am no expert, and there are surely those who will disagree with me, but this is an example of why we like this studio so much. I feel that I can trust them to do what is in the best interest of my child.

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Victoria Leigh

Oh how I wish that would happen at more schools, tldx! I see 11-12 year olds all the time who have been placed on pointe prior to having the physical strength, placement, use of rotation, coordination, and working without being able to straighten their knees even on demi-pointe, much less get fully up on the platform of the shoe. It's sad, and just plain wrong. If the child has the potential, waiting for the technique and strength will not be a detriment of any kind. They will progress on pointe so much quicker and be so much better if they wait. Why or why can we not get across to teachers and parents everywhere??? :wallbash:

 

And yes, there are some students who do not have the potential and should never be placed on pointe. Try and get that one across to people.

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  • 6 months later...

Should this question be placed in a new topic?

 

My DD went on pointe at 10.5, rather than the more typical 11.5. We checked this carefully at the time and it made sense - this is not the issue I'm wondering about.

 

What I am wondering is this: In the guidelines post (http://dancers.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=54927)

 

it says:

 

Age 10- at least 3 ballet-only classes of at least 1.50 hours in length per week; other dance genres like Tap or Improv could be perfectly acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals/classes for a performing group, and some sort of floor exercise class

Age 11- at least 4 ballet-only classes of at least 1.50 hours in length per week; other dance genres like Tap or Improv could be perfectly acceptable as an add-on, as are rehearsals/classes for a performing group

Age 12- typically this is the approximate age for beginning pointework, so a typical schedule would be similar to age 11, but with an extra pointe-only class of approximately .5- .75 hours following a ballet-only technique class at least once per week, hopefully twice

 

Since she is 11.5 and has been on pointe for one year, should she be doing the 12-year old schedule?

 

Thanks

 

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Adam12,

 

What is her schedule now? I can tell you my DD started pointe at 11 1/2, about 9 months ago. This is her current schedule: 4x weekly 90 minute technique on flats, 2x weekly 2 hour technqiue w/pointe incorporated, 2x weekly 1 hour pointe only. She also does her own 45 minutes of daily stretching and takes pilates regularly at a studio.

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My oldest daughter turned 11 in April and had her first pointe class in July. She took 2 pointe classes a week, an hour each, for 3 weeks this summer. Once regular classes started, her level takes only 1 pointe class a week for an hour to slowly ease them into it. There is always a ballet class on flat prior to any pointe class that is required, otherwise you don't get to participate in the pointe class. She takes ballet on flat 3 days a week for 75 minutes each class, modern and jazz once a week for an hour each, and then has rehearsals/solo lessons 2-3 times per week dependent on the production she's involved in. She just practiced her classical solo on pointe for the first time last week after months of doing it on flat. Her teacher is very nurturing and cautious about their tender feet at this age - I appreciate that very much!

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