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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Hops on pointe

Ballet Day

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I used to be able to do toe hops really well, and could even do Giselle's thirty-two across the floor. However I haven't practiced them for a long time, and I've gone through multiple brands of shoes. Sometimes in class we do a step across the floor en pointe, and it's just step to fifth, step - hop, step to fifth, step - hop. I used to have no trouble with this step, and wouldn't think twice about hops on pointe, because I knew I could do them. However, when we do this step sometimes, I find it really hard and can barely do them. My teacher gave me a correction about how my weight was too far back, and that helped a lot. However, for hops on one foot, I don't know what I'm doing wrong or why it's so difficult to even do three, when I used to easily be able to do thirty-two. Is it because of a different brand of pointe shoes? I would try toe hops on every different brand of pointe shoes, but I still found them hard. I use to wear Russian pointes for three years, switching between the almaz and the Rubin, but Russian pointe very rarely has my size anymore (I miss them though ?). Is it hard to do toe hops because I rarely practice them any more? I honestly have no idea..

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  • Administrators

Hops on pointe require strength, especially in the ankles. They also require knowledge of how to hold the ankle so that you are on the platform but not pushing the arch. You are on a bent knee, so have to hold the foot back, but definetly cannot hold the weight back. And yes, they take a lot of practice and very regular intensive training and point classes.

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I want to practice more toe hops but I'm afraid that they will kill my shoes in the wrong area of the platform. Are there any exercises that would help with toe hops? Also, could my weight be too far back and that could be the problem?

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  • Administrators

Ballet Day, I have moved your topic to a technique forum because it's really not about pointe shoes. However, I was not sure whether you are an adult or still a teen, so please tell me if this belongs in the Young Dancer forum. :) I also changed the title to specify the topic using ballet terminology.


In terms of practicing hops on pointe, I really think you need to build your technique and strength back first. We really cannot say whether your weight is too far back or not without seeing you, but it would help for us to know your training background, and also what classes you are taking currently. There are no specific exercises for hops on pointe beyond all of the regular barre and pointe exercises, and working on building strength. But to correct you, we would need to see you, so your teacher is the one to do that.

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Guest Pas de Quoi

What shoes are you currently using? It could very well be the shoes. I ask my students to practice just performing the fondu action of the ankles, while the feet are placed in 5th en pointe, facing the barre, and then when they feel ready, advancing to sobresauts on pointe, followed by changements on pointe, then fondus on one foot with the other placed in the cou de pied position, and then the hops - all the while facing the barre and working slowly. Traveling down the barre students can perform pas marché sur les pointes. I suggest they really try to feel the stability of the whole leg (maintaining strength and rotation from the very top of the leg) while working on these steps.


I agree that placement in general has to be very strong. If a dancer is returning to pointe, one of the best exercises is to perform these steps on demi pointe with and then without the support of the barre, as another way of further strengthening in preparation for the steps to be performed on pointe.


Just an aside - I find that performing these hops while wearing Gaynor Mindens is VERY difficult for me, although I have no problems at all when I am wearing my Grishko Ulanova's.

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While the problem could possibly have something to do with the shoes, without knowing anything about the dancer's age and training, past and present, it would be helpful to hear those things before dealing with shoes. We actually don't even know if she is a teen or an adult student, nor how long ago she is talking about when she could do multiple hops on pointe. So let's wait on speculation about shoes until we have a bit more information.


That said, the progression for learning and practicing hops on pointe is very well described above by Pas de Quoi. Once we know a bit more, if we think that the shoes could be a problem, then we will suggest that she do the photos for Clara 76 in the Pointe Shoe Forum. :)

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  • 2 months later...

I'm sooooo sorry I realized I never answered back!!! :wacko::wacko::wacko:

It's been so long since the original post, so sorry!!!


I just turned fifteen a month ago, and currently dance about 22 hours of ballet each week. I go to a studio that has turned out many professional ballet dancers as well as students who go to a college with a strong dance program. I've switched back to Russian Pointe, and I find toe hops a lot easier, but not as easy as they used to be.

I think both what Ms. Leigh mentioned (that I need to practice them more) as well as what Pas de Quoi mentioned (that I might not be wearing the right shoes), are exactly why I wasn't able to do them. I'm starting to practice toe hops everyday instead of other steps, and hopefully they will just become easier.


Thank you Ms. Leigh and Pas de Quoi for listening to me and helping me figure out what I needed to do!

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  • Administrators

Ballet Day, now that you have given us your age category, I have moved this topic to Young Dancers.

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