Pointe Policy

Pointe Policy

Pointe Work at Elwood School of Dance

Introduction

  • Starting pointe work is an exciting and important stage in the training of classical ballet
  • There are many risks associated with pointe work and therefore careful and thorough preparation is required so that students minimise the risks
  • At the Elwood School of Dance preparation for pointe begins from the very first class you take with us! More specific work begins during Degree 1, with the aim that most students will be ready to begin pointe work by the end of Degree 2
  • However students need to understand that there is no set age or grade level that determines if a student is ready to start pointe work
  • Combinations of factors are involved in determining when a student is ready for pointe work
  • It is important to remember that the co-ordination required to control the feet en pointe is something that is developed over years of dancing
  • Not all students within the same class level will be ready to begin pointe work at the same time
  • Some students may never be able to dance en pointe due to their physical makeup
  • Starting en pointe before a student is physically and technically ready is potentially very harmful
  • It is not compulsory for students to dance en pointe. Students can still participate in classes as normal working on demi pointe rather than full pointe

Requirements for Starting Pointe Work

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when determining if a student is ready to begin pointe work.

These include:

  • Skeletal maturity
  • Mental maturity (focus and concentration levels during dance classes)
  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Technical proficiency
  • Number of years of training
  • Bones must be sufficiently mature to withstand the pressures of pointe work
  • There is risk of permanently damaging the growth plates if the bones are too soft
  • Any weakness in technique or strength will be exaggerated in pointe work

Basic Guidelines

1. Dancers must:

  • Be well placed in class work, including the ability to maintain a neutral pelvis
  • Be able to correctly align and work the legs, including external rotation of the hips
  • Have a strong stability in balancing both on flat and demi pointe
  • Have a good awareness of the torso and pelvis, including sufficient core strength

2. Dancers must have the ability to achieve a 90-degree angle at the big toe & metatarsal joint on demi pointe

  • Without this degree of flexibility you cannot rise smoothly onto pointe, or lower down from full pointe

3. Dancers must have the ability to achieve a straight line (180 degree) through the ankle joint and forefoot to the toes in the pointe position

  • This will ensure correct weight placement and alignment of the body are possible when dancing en pointe

4. Dancers require strong lower legs, feet, and core muscles, good body awareness and a well developed understanding of how to correctly align their body for dance

Elwood School of Dance Pointe Policy

1. Students must be attending a minimum of 2 ballet technique classes per week  (On two different days of the week)

  • Without doing multiple classes a week it is very difficult to develop and maintain the level of Classical Ballet technique, strength and stamina required to safely dance en pointe

2. Students must attend the pre pointe-conditioning component of class regularly and complete homework exercises

  • Participation in these classes will help students fully understand the requirements for passing their pre pointe assessment and help them develop the required strength and flexibility
  • The exercises and theory covered in these classes will not only prepare students for their pre pointe assessment and pointe work but will improve their technique as well
  • It is strongly recommended that students work in demi pointe shoes for all ballet technique classes

3. Students need to demonstrate a mature and focused approach in class

4. Students must pass a pre pointe physiotherapy assessment

  • A pre point assessment consists of a series of tests/exercises similar to what we will cover in class
  • The physiotherapist will then determine if there is sufficient strength, mobility and control in the feet, legs and torso to dance en pointe
  • If the required level of strength and flexibility is not demonstrated to allow the safe progression onto pointe the physiotherapist will recommend a series of exercises to help develop the deficient areas, and a follow up session will be required
  • Details of the dance physiotherapists who conduct pre pointe assessments will be given to the students at the appropriate stage

These 4 requirements will ensure that students can progress safely onto pointe.

Once students have received notification from the physiotherapist and their class teacher that they are ready to commence pointe work students will receive information about pointe shoes!

Please do not purchase pointe shoes without speaking with your teacher first and under no circumstances are students to practice pointe work at home.