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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Question about the Pointe guidelines


ruralmom

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Are the recommended pointe guidelines only for girls in a pre prof. school or should all schools follow similar guidelines? The former AD at my dd used guidelines such as those. However, the new AD has a different philosphy. She has put all girls 11+ in pointe shoes. What would you expect to be the outcome of this school? Will the girls be injured? My dd is turning eleven soon so I am concerned. The AD has studied at university, so I think she is qualified.

 

thanks.

 

ruralmom

ESL

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I think the thing that is more important than the age is whether the child is technically ready, and whether the school is offering the right amount, the right length, and the right content for classes. So if we are taking an 11 year-old, putting pointe shoes on their feet, having them take 1 ballet technique class per week along with 82 other dance forms, then no, any 11 yr. old is not ready.

 

If however, the training has been careful and clean, and they have slowly stepped up the schedule with each year with the right amount of classes at the right length, and they are to stay at the barre for a few classes before doing anything centre, then it should be fine.

 

One way to know for sure: see a doctor/PT and have an evaluation done to see if your child is ready.

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I will try to explain my question. Will students who dance on pointe too soon ever have the same quality of ballet as students following the guidelines of this board? I know that those schools may be inferior to the school affiliated with prof. ballets. I am concerned about the pointe guidelines form our new AD. She would like my 10 yo to wear pointe shoes. She is very small yet.

 

Thanks. BTW I am ESL and find writing English difficult, so I apolgize for not clearly writing. The AD is also ESL and we are not easily able to understand each other.

 

ruralmom

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  • Administrators

Ruralmom, can you and the AD have a conversation, even if you need to take an interpreter? I am assuming that you both speak English as a second language, and the first language is different, so this might be necessary. But you do need to have communication with her. First ask her why she thinks your dd is qualified for pointe work at 10 years old. If she is not using similar guidelines to the suggested ones and the ones the former AD used, what ARE her guidelines?

 

How many technique classes a week does your dd take? How long has she been studying, not counting anything before at least 7? How long are her classes? If she is not taking 3 one hour and a half classes per week it is not recommended that she begin pointe. If she is not technically strong enough, if she cannot maintain her alignment, control and use her rotation, and straighten her knees in relevés on demi pointe, then pointe work is not recommended. If her feet are not good for ballet, it is not recommended. I would like to know this AD's reasoning for putting her in pointe shoes now.

 

Also, having studied at a University does not necessarily make someone qualified. It can, but it is not a given that she really has the knowledge and ability to teach young children. What is her own training and performance background?

 

Clara's suggestion to see a physician and have her examined for bone ossification is a good one. The guidelines for pointe should NOT be different for children in a small school than they are for those in a pre-pro school.

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I donated to the fundraiser because I appreciate this site and the responses to my questions. This site is valuable to dancers. My dd and I both enjoy reading here.

 

ruralmom

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  • 2 weeks later...

My dd's (12) studio does the same (perhaps a dolly dinkle in disguise I am wondering), by putting all girls who turn 11 in pointe shoes. I am a non-dancer, and even I cringe when I see some of these girls on observation days. Recently, all of the technique classes (4 per week) have been started with pointe shoes for the entire class. Two of these classes are preceeded by a lower level 1 hour technique, but the other two are not. Some of the girls have been en pointe for less than one year and are now doing five classes per week en pointe. I believe the rationale was to step up the level after Nut (where rehearsals took over class time for at least three weeks). This is worrisome correct? I'm glad I found BT4D, but it is hard to discover how much I don't know.

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  • Administrators

Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, harbordancer. You have come to the right place, and your concerns are also valid. I don't know if the school is a Dolly Dinkle or not, but the things you describe are not right.Not every student should be put on pointe at any age, because some students are simply not qualified. Full classes on pointe in the first year, or even the first two or three years in pointe shoes is not recommended. Rehearsals taking over class time is also not recommended. Actually, just not even acceptable. I'm sorry, but I think it's time for you to start searching for a better school.

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Thank you, Miss Leigh. I knew that in my gut. I did have my daughter audition for a somewhat local pre-professional school's summer course (non-residential). She was accepted, and she is excited about trying it. I think it will be a good comparison experience, and perhaps open up other options. There were many red flags at the current studio, but this all pointe all the time philosophy really scared me. I will continue to consult this forum as we explore this world of ballet.

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  • Administrators

That sounds like a good plan, harbordance. I hope you can find a good school. Keep us informed!

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  • 3 months later...

Update. My dd has been at her si for a few weeks now. The difference in schools is amazing. At this pre-pro the feel of the studio is different, more focused. There are still kids being kids in between classes, but compared to our old studio there is more professionalism (in a business sense), more organization, and a definite leveled curriculum.

 

My dd has commented that the teachers all demonstrate, correct by showing/tweaking her, and praise equitably. She loves it.

 

It has taken us a few years to slowly move away from the small rec studio to find a "real" ballet studio. At each stop along the way, I felt that we had found something better but inevitably found inconsistencies that made me start to look again. We have had to travel farther each time. But after finding this forum and reading, I feel better equipped to judge this time around. I cross my fingers that it isn't too late.

 

I don't know if dd will be accepted into this school's year-round program, but we are blessed that it has restored her passion for ballet! Thanks to everyone who posts to provide others, like me, knowledge and tools to help our dancers.

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Ok so I have been told that next year my daughter will start pointe work she will be turning 11 in March. Looking at what you said Victoria my daughter only does 21/2 hrs a week ballet so she really shouldn't be doing it? I know next year the days increase to 5 lessons a week plus she does a private so will be 6. She will be doing grade 5, Inter foundation plus a pointe class. I am kinda of worried now

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