Going into pointe ballet isn’t something that every ballerina progresses into. It’s not for everyone, but if you do think you want to do it, there are certain things you need to consider. Pointe ballet isn’t a style of dance that should be taken lightly – it’s a beautiful dance, but it is hard work. You need to know if you are ready for it before taking it up.
Firstly, it’s important that you meet certain criteria before taking up pointe ballet. The factor of age is so important, mainly because of growth and development. It’s said that children below 11 or 12 years old should not take up pointe ballet because of the strength it requires. Below the age of 11 or 12, children’s feet are not fully grown and their bones aren’t strong enough to support their weight. Strength and proper support is so important to pointe, as well as executing it safely.
Before going into pointe ballet, you should have had at least 2 years of strict ballet training. Over this time, you will have hopefully learned about and come to demonstrate correct form, alignment, and strength – three things necessary to begin pointe work. Without awareness of correct posture and alignment, dancers practicing pointe risk severe injuries.
If pointe is something that you are considering but you’re unsure if you’re ready for it, your teacher will be willing to assess you on your technique. Your teacher will know the foundation that is required for pointe work, and be able to see if you meet the requirements. If you don’t, he or she will be able to advise you on the areas you need to work on to make sure you are fully ready to practice pointe safely.
It’s not all about how much you can do, but how much you can take. Your body needs to be at optimum strength for pointe ballet, particularly your feet, ankles, and legs. Ballet itself builds up a lot of body strength but with pointe, extra attention must be paid to the legs and feet because of all that time spent on the tip of your toes!
We wouldn’t be Dancing Daisy if we didn’t mention ballet shoes. As with all hobbies and sports that you do regularly, it’s worthwhile investing in quality equipment and uniforms. This is essential for pointe shoes. They need to be comfortable (or as comfortable as you’re going to get them!). Have your teacher supervise your fitting for pointe shoes as they will know what to look out for, and be able to offer tips and tricks to help you start up.
Like we’ve already said, pointe is hard work. Ballet is already very demanding as it is, but practicing and performing pointe can really take it out of you. To prosper with it, you need a great work ethic and attitude to keep you going. Prepare to suffer from sore feet and blisters, but also prepare to look beyond that pain and devote yourself to the dance.
Perhaps partly to do with age, but also partly to do with the dancer, maturity levels are important to pointe ballet too. It requires a certain level of responsibility to ensure that everything is done properly to avoid injury. That means making sure you bring all the necessary equipment to classes, making sure you do the correct stretches before dancing, and so on.
Are you ready?
Before starting pointe, you need to be ready for it. This can take planning and a change of attitude, so you can cover all the points we’ve already mentioned. If you and your teacher think you’re ready for it, we wish you the best of luck!