Starting pointe work is a special milestone in a ballerina’s life, but it can be dangerous to your feet if you start too early. It takes a dancer who is very serious about dancing and is willing to work very hard at her craft. Below is a list of ways for you to know if you are ready for pointe dancing.
- Age & Training
It is important that your teacher be the one to decide if you are ready. They are the expert and know if you are at the right stage of physical development. Long foot bones start hardening between the ages of 8 and 14, and it is important not to start pointe when your bones are too soft. You could develop growth-plate fractures and foot deformities. Before age 12, bones are still growing and fusing, so starting pointe before that age probably isn’t a good idea. If you start too soon, it can cause many problems such as undue stress on the legs, pelvis, and trunk of your body.
You will need at least 3 or 4 years of training in ballet before starting pointe work. You need to learn proper technique to properly rise on the toes without risk of injury. It is not unusual for pointe dancers to take at least 3 ballet classes per week to build up and keep the strength needed for pointe. If you are one who only takes class once a week, pointe dancing probably isn’t for you.
- Strength & Alignment
Finding a pointe preparation class is a great idea for starting your journey on your toes. Many studios have them and they are designed to help students build strength in their feet, ankles, and legs to prepare for pointe. Dancers also need to have great core strength and turnout muscles, so doing planks and practicing rotating from the hip to make sure you’re holding your turnout properly. Having good turnout requires a certain amount of natural flexibility in the foot and ankle. When on pointe, your leg should be a straight line from the hip, through the knee and ankle- bone, to the toes.
On pointe, you have to have great balance, usually just on one leg. Lots of core and lower back training are essential to make it as a ballerina. You must have exceptional control of your muscles and body at all times! It’s a lot of hard work!
- Emotional Maturity
Because pointe is such hard work, beginning pointe classes will be very demanding on your body. You need to be prepared to suffer from sore feet and blisters. Pointe shoes demand a certain level of responsibility to maintain, so you need to be taught to care for them properly and put them on your feet correctly and tie them around your ankles. You also have to be mature enough to know that you might be one of those dancers that has to work a little harder to build up strength for pointe, and your self-esteem may take a hit. Dancing is as much emotional as it is physical.
If you are interested in taking pointe class, look at OSMD’s website and register for classes today! You will probably need to start with ballet for a couple of years to build up your strength, but then you will have that great chance to be a prima ballerina some day! https://www.omahaschoolofmusicanddance.com/ballet-dance-classes-ages-10-13-omaha-ne/