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!


  1. I started ballet last year (im 16 now) and I really want to go on pointe!
    Do you think I can get toe shoes even if I only have class once a week?
    thanks :DD

  2. It really depends on your dance school and the criteria above, but if your school is fairly recreational and less serious then I think you could definitly do it! If your school is more serious, then your teachers might be stricter, however if you work hard then it's totally possible.

  3. Ballet is such a beautiful art form, I wish I had stuck to it!

  4. i really like ballet and i think this blog has helped me so much. Thank you! im eleven this year and i will be 12 in a few months. i can't even do the splits and i hardly know anything about ballet, all i know is that i really want lessons. but the problem is my parents have no idea i want to do it and would probably say no because they think that i will not practise and it will be a waste of money because i will get bored of it after some time. You might think im crazy but im kind of scared to ask them and tell them, do you have any suggestions on what i should do?
    thank you so much ;D

  5. Be honest with them. Tell them how much and how long you've wanted to take ballet classes. Tell them you're serious about it, and that you understand the commitment you'd be making. They're your parents, if you show them that you honestly want this and are old and responsible enough to keep your commitments, they will see it.
    Consider showing them the comment you wrote to me, you explained your feelings very well in it, and it might show them how badly you want this.
    Good Luck!

    ps- There is an old post on this blog about tips that make splits much easier to do, maybe it could help you get your splits down faster!

  6. I started dancing one year ago when i was 13 now im 14 and iVE been en pointe for about 9 months! and also now i am dancing with the Metropolitan Ballet Theater! I would never hav thought i would be where i am now one year ago! so my fellow late starters do not give up!!!

  7. this is my second year of ballet and i know i have improved alot. i am 13 now and i really want to go en pointe. my studio doesnt have a pointe class because there arent too many people that are ready for pointe. but in their other srudio they train 1 girl who goes on pointe so i bet i can do it too. i am pretty flexible but dont have my straddle, my arch isnt the very best but im working on it and my teacher says that i have technique and i am very graceful... am i ready?

  8. It's really up to your teacher to decide if you're ready, I suggest asking her about it to let her know that you're interested in going en pointe eventually. Good Luck! :)

  9. Hey tippy toes I started a few months ago (also 13) and I really love reading your blog. So here you say you are en pointe. Just out of curiosity how long did it take for you to get on en pointe? thanks.

  10. Hi :)
    i am 14 and I started ballet half way through this year, although i have been doing 10 years of calisthenics (still doing) the school i do it at isnt very developed, and doesnt even do pointe. but i really want to do pointe, i am flexy, can dance but havent got a fantastic arch and turnout needs some work, i dont no whether i should move schools, i might be with little kids, or the work might be too hard?

  11. To Anonymous #1 - One year after I started ballet I went en pointe.

    To Anonymous #2 - If you really want to go en pointe, changing schools might be your only option. However, if you really like where you are now, you can build up your technique there and when your ready take a pointe class at another studio. Maybe your SO/teacher would be open to giving private pointe lessons, although those tend to be pricey.

  12. I will be 14 in a month and am in love with ballet!!! My only problem is kinda silly. I have only done ballet for 2 years when I was 3 years old and obviously don't remember anything. Will I be in a class with little kids???