The fascination with pointe shoes and dreaming of the day you get your first pair is a special part of growing up in the beautiful world of ballet. Every young ballerina looks forward to this rite of passage. Here is some information to help you and your aspiring ballerina get started. Please contact Kristina if you have any more questions.
What is the right age to begin pointework?
Most students should not begin pointework before age 10, and it is common to wait until age 11 or 12. Dancers must train for at least two years in soft slippers, learning how to properly rise to half-toe (demi-pointe) and hold the position before attempting pointe shoes. It is universally recommended that students take ballet for a minimum of two years and also take two classes per week for at least one year prior to going en-pointe to achieve proper pre-pointe training.
What is pre-pointe training?
To a degree, every combination in regular technique class prepares dancers to go en-pointe. Specific pre-pointe training emphasizes the correct alignment of spine, hips, knees and ankles and how to “pull up” out of the pointe shoe, not allowing the dancer’s full weight to sink into it. During the pre-pointe training period, teachers usually devote a small portion of time at the end of regular technique class to work on and handout exercises that strengthen the dancers’ ankles, feet and toes.
How to begin?
Kristina will contact you when your dancer has the strength and technique to begin pointework. The next step is to schedule a pointe shoe fitting with a local dance shop. Proper fit is paramount, so Kristina will recommend the best place to be fitted. Please allow up to one hour for the first fitting. The store personnel will know the style shoe your dancer should start out with and how to fit your dancer properly. They will also explain what to purchase with the shoes (e.g., ribbons, toe pads, elastics, toe tape) and the proper way to sew and tie the ribbons and elastics. We recommend that you show the new shoes to Kristina for approval before sewing them. As long as you don't sew the ribbon or soil the satin by standing in the shoes too much, you should be able to return them to the store for a different pair if Kristina doesn't approve of them (this is rare).
What to expect in the first year of pointe class?
The first pointe class is a special moment that Kristina enjoys sharing with her students! The introduction to pointework in class is gradual and under the total supervision of the instructor. First year pointe students put on their pointe shoes at the end of regular technique class and perform a few slow, brief exercises. For safety, it is usually not until the second year of pointe training that dancers wear their shoes in class for a prolonged period of time.