Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get to the Pointe!

From the moment a girl starts ballet, whether at two or seventy-two, she dreams of the day when she can go en pointe. I've gotten many questions from fellow Beginner Ballerinas asking when they will be ready to fulfill this dream, so girls, this post is for you!

WARNING: Before I begin, I have to warn you that only your teacher will be able to tell you that you are 100% ready to go en pointe. Honestly, some teachers can be super strict about this, and some can be very relaxed about it. But here are five basic factors that your teacher will consider when deciding whether you are ready to go en pointe:

#1 - Age

This one isn't so much of an issue for us late starters (yay! finally an advantage to starting late!). Typically, a dancer cannot go en pointe younger than the age of nine because the bones in their feet haven't hardened yet.

The most common age to go en pointe is between 11-14 years old, but younger students may be allowed to go en pointe if their feet are more mature.

#2 - Technique

You need solid ballet technique before you can transition to pointe shoes. Different studios have different policies, but I've known people to go en pointe with as little as six months of ballet training! But I'd say the most common amount of training required for late starters is between 2-3 years.

#3 - Strength

You should be able to balance for a good amount of time on releve, because you need to be able to balance en pointe. Try doing releves to gain strength (worry more about doing them properly than about how many you can do).

#4 - Foot Structure

The ideal foot type for pointe has strong and flexible ankles, a substantial arch and instep, and even toes. However, there are dancers (like me!) who do not have all these characteristics and still do fine en pointe.

Don't worry, your feet don't need to be as amazing as Svetlana's!

#5 - Commitment/Hard Work

If you work hard and are dedicated and passionate about ballet, your teacher will be more confident about allowing you to do pointe work. So work hard, have fun, and good luck!!!

p.s. - I'm sorry I don't make posts often, but just so you know this blog is definitely still active and I will continue to make posts when I have time! Thanks a ton for reading, all you Beginner Ballerinas out there!