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Why We Wait for Pointe.

"Right to the Pointe"

by Susan Sharkey, R.A.D.

 

When is a dancer ready for pointe work?

THE GOLDEN RULE OF POINTE TRAINING: 'A chain is only as strong as its weakest link'

  • A dancer must be at least twelve (12) years of age, and no younger, to be considered a candidate for pointe work.

  • When invited, the dancer should begin to take pointe classes on the demi-pointe as a preparation for pointe work.

  • Readiness for pointe work begins at the top in accessing physical and technical suitability. Pointe shoes will add a minimum of seven inches of new height to a dancer.

Where the dancer needs to be strong:

  • Sufficient strength in the torso and sides of the body and back.

    • Must be strong enough to maintain proper posture and avoid over-arching spine, throwing shoulders back and forcing the rib cage forward.

  • Sufficient strength in the lower abdominal muscles.

    • Must be strong enough to maintain correct pelvic placement and stability.

  • Sufficient strength in the inner and back thigh muscles.

    • Must be strong enough to maintain rotation and hold the turnout. (Turned in legs place a great strain on the knees when the dancer is on pointe.

  • Sufficient strength in ankle and attending tendons and muscles.

    • Must have developed sufficient strength to rise in a straight line and hold with no "wobbles".

    • Must demonstrate NO strain or clenching of the ankle.

  • The foot

    • Must have a fairly flexible foot that allows enough mobility to be straight on pointe.

    • Must have sufficient strength on the outer and inner sides of the foot to hold the foot in a straight alignment when rising and lowering on the demi-pointe.

    • Must have sufficient strength in the metatarsals for weight adjustment so that the foot does not 'hook' when rising and lowering on pointe.

    • Must have the ability to hold the toes straight with no curling or knuckling.

    • Must be free from abnormalities such as bunions, dropped arches, or collapsed 1st or 2nd metatarsals.

Remember: The pointe shoes do not hold a dancer up on pointe, her body does!