Pointe work should not be attempted by a young or older dancer until the feet and legs are strong in demi-pointe exercises. That usually requires three or four years of regular technique classes. If you do not have a complete understanding of how to work properly in ballet slippers, you are not ready for pointe. Readiness is based on a student's technical level, muscular strength, body structure and attitude.
Students need to understand that taking pointe is not undertaking the study of a new technique. They are working on their pointe technique each time they do an exercise at the barre since these exercises are preparing them to be able to execute movements on their toes.
In order to achieve the proper pre-training for pointe it is important that students take a ballet class more than 1 time per week. A minimum of 2 classes are recommended beginning in level 4. In many cases the students who follow this recommendation are able to begin pointe work during level 5. At this level, pointe work is gradually introduced at the end of ballet class.
It should also be noted that age has relatively little to do with readiness for pointe work. Leg and body development as well as a child's emotional maturity are the keys. Readiness is an individual matter as each child matures at a different rate.
In many cases when a child reaches ballet level 4 at Radomile Academy they are not necessarily ready to give up another activity to devote 2 days a week to ballet. Perhaps they may choose to wait a year or as they and their parents see this as a crossroad, may choose to discontinue the study of ballet altogether. It is my belief that the study of ballet can continue for these students without ever having the pressure of moving onto pointe. Our program allows for this possibility.
It is our intention to develop both the more serious ballet student as well as the student who studies for pure enjoyment.
With this in mind, the children who took 2 ballet classes per week during ballet 4 and continue to study 2 times a week in level 5 should purchase pointe shoes at Swan Dancewear or Motions Dancewear where all the sales people are qualified to fit your child properly. Students should purchase a shoe that will provide good support, wide ribbon, elastic, and toe pads. Please note that pointe shoes should fit the exact size of the child's foot. No room for growth is considered as this could cause blisters and other foot problems. Please allow anywhere from ½ hour to 1 hour for the shoe fitting process.
As the purchase of pointe shoes is costly, the ultimate decision to begin pointe at this time is up to the parent. If you have any questions or concerns. Please feel free to call me at home.
Some of the above information was taken from 'The Pointe Book' by Jane Barringer and Sarah Schlesinger.
The Regular Division Pointe students use their pointe shoes in all their classes. Starting in September, pointe students should wear their shoes during barre. Any parent or student who has further concerns, please feel free to call me at home.
Looking forward to working with you all.