Pointe Policies & Procedures

         

For many ballet dancers the desire to dance en pointe is very strong. It’s a dream of theirs as well as a mark of accomplishment and growth as a dancer. But there are certain criteria that are required before being able to dance en pointe. It is an issue of safety for the dancer, and at Dance Arts Project we have certain criteria that must be met for a dancer to advance to pointe.

          A teacher must consider a combination of factors including the age, anatomy, bone development, strength, length of training, and attitude of a student before making this judgement. A good teacher will not necessarily put an entire class on pointe at once; it should be done on an individual basis.

The following criteria is in place to protect the dancer from injury and permanent damage to the foot:

 

General Requirements

  1. The dancer must be at least 14 years old

  2. The dancer must have taken both Pre-Pointe & Pre-Pointe+ classes

  3. The dancer must be taking a minimum of three hours of ballet per week (preferably more)

  4. The dancer must be responsible enough to bring all ballet equipment needed

  5. The dancer must be dressed appropriately for class

  6. The dancer must be attentive in class and apply corrections well

 

Physical Requirements

  1. The dancer must maintain turnout while dancing

  2. The dancer must maintain proper alignment in positions while moving

  3. The dancer must show awareness of proper ankle and foot alignment, avoiding sickling or rolling in

  4. The dancer must properly roll through the foot and use plié in take-off and landing of jumps

  5. The dancer must properly use plie while dancing and stretch or point the foot while dancing

  6. The dancer must be able to pique in any position with a straight leg

  7. The dancer must can perform repeated relevé in the center without tiring & while maintaining alignment

  8. The dancer must can balance on one foot with the body correctly positioned over the supporting leg

  9. The dancer must maintain proper alignment in pirouettes, particularly even hips

Parents and student should note: pointe work increases the forces placed on a foot by up to 12 times a student’s body weight and prepubescent bones are more vulnerable to injury.

          Once a student has progressed to pointe, per the teachers’ recommendation, it is advised that they wear their pointe shoes in every ballet class following their first year en pointe. Attendance will be taken with special consideration that each dancer wears their pointe shoes for each class. Too many classes taken in flat shoes will result in a student losing their pointe shoes.

Some additional thoughts about passing up to pointe from Nichelle Suzanne editor and owner of DanceAdvantage.net:

“Advancing to pointe work is a serious step and should be treated as such by students, teachers, and parents. Pointe work builds upon ballet technique and every struggle, problem, weakness, and deficiency is amplified with this new layer of difficulty. With this in mind, please remember the following:

 

  • Pointe work is an evolution and extension of effective ballet training. It is NOT the end result of a particular number of years in ballet class, being a certain age, or even of an intense desire to dance en pointe.

  • Pointe work is not a right.

  • Pointe is not for everyone.

  • Dancing en pointe is only a requirement for ballet dancers who are pre-professionals or professionals.

  • Choosing not to dance en pointe (because you are not planning to be a professional ballet dancer) does not make you less of a dancer. It’s actually a very mature decision!

  • Pointe work is a positive experience for those ready to devote themselves to quality ballet training.”

Responding to a “No”

As a student, you should expect no less of a teacher than to instruct logically, carefully, and thoughtfully. If your teacher’s criteria is unclear or if you have a question about what is required or how you might improve, arrange a meeting with your teacher to discuss this. However, make a commitment to respecting your instructor’s judgment and knowledge if she feels you are not yet ready for pointe work.

 

A teacher willing to say no to you has likely put a lot of thought behind the decision. A teacher who tells everyone yes is not someone you should trust to train you.

KEEP ON DANCING!

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