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 Post subject: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2001 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 24
Location: Washington
In my last posting, it was mentioned that it was surprising that only after a year, that I am learning pointe. So I have started to think about that, especially during my last classes. It has always been a goal since I started ballet,to go on pointe. ( I was approched by the owner of the studio when the class was opened an told that I could join) How do you know if you are or are not ready to go on pointe? Image


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2001 5:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
We have had a previous thread on this that you might want to read:<P><BR><A HREF=../../../ubb/Forum7/HTML/000332.html><B>Pointe - Assessing Readiness</B></A><P>There are some basic rules - the dancer should be at least 12 yrs. old. Also have taken ballet class regularly for at least 2-3 years and at least 2-3 classes per week. <P>There are also concerns about the construction of the feet, and the technical attainment of the dancer - as you will see when you read the thread.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2001 1:36 pm 
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Basheva,<BR> I also started pointe after only about 8 months of dancing (but intensive dancing, no one-a-week thign!). I am doing pretty well, and the only problem I am having is not being strong enough to do pas de deux and stuff. What problems do you think might occur due to me starting after such a short time, and what should I look out for as warnings or such things. I'd hate to think that my feet are really being tortured. ( I do trust my studio's judgement on my readiness, though- there were only 3 of us on pointe in the class, so we were closely watched!)


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2001 1:51 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Bebounce - I can only reply to you in a general manner, since I can't see your body or assess you technique. However, that being said the general rule is pretty sound.<P>It takes the body quite some time to acclimate and begin to change and progress to accomplish the demands of the ballet technique and vocabulary. There is so much basic stuff to learn. One can, and do, spend a life-time just learning this on demi-pointe. And pointe work is even more demanding.<P>Alignment is the study of a lifetime - how to attain that alignment and then move within its parameters is not only a knowledge of the mind - but the body has to learn it and then build muscle, change the way it has moved and worked prior to dance. That takes time. Time that cannot and should not be condensed.<P>For instance, if I came to a track and field coach with natural ability - speed. There is still so much to learn. There is a correct way to run, there is stamina to be gained. There is a way to run that will increase my natural ability without unduly stressing my body. I cannot rush my body's accommodation to that. Muscle takes time to acclimate. <P>Same with dance. Sure, you can put on pointe shoes in your very first class. And you may be wonderful at it. But what are the stresses? And what is the point of rushing something that you want to do well - and be able to do for a long time? Why the rush?<P>Doing pointe work is unnatural. That being said, you can aid your body by learning the basics until they become a part of your very sinews - until they are part of your muscle memory. Then you are ready for the next step.<P>That is just my personal opinion.<P>What do others think?<P>


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2001 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1278
Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
I agree with Basheva.<P>I had recently the case of a student who is a serious gymnast. She spends hours every day in the gym. She had been squeezing in one ballet class a week with me (and had some sort of ballet at the gym, too), and after increasing to twice a week with me for a short time I put her on pointe. There was pressure from the family, pressure from the director, etc. Besides she was strong as steel.<P>Interestingly, despite her overall strength, feet that looked strong and flexible, and ability to keep up in technique class, deficits began to show when she put on the pointe shoes. Her feet couldn't support her weight properly, and she rolled on one foot.<BR>She was very surprised. I allowed her to do very basic two-foot exercises with two hands on the barre because of the situation. She understands better now that pointe work is serious stuff.<P>In this case, it was a blessing that the problems surfaced immediately. In others, dancers may be able to get by, but without that time that Basheva talks about, for bodies to develop and muscles to strengthen, there is too much risk.<P>You can't do much harm by waiting. You can by rushing into pointe work too soon. It's very hard to be patient, but in the long run, it's worth it, IMHO.


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2001 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Iola, Texas
I started pointe this spring after almost 2 years of dance. I have to say that it is extremely difficult, more than I thought it would be. One thing that a dancer starting pointe must be able to do is assess their own strengths and weaknesses. As an adult starting pointe, I am much smarter than I was at 10. I know my limitations. I have to limit the amount of one footed work that I accomplish at the barre. I limit center work to two feet (eschappes) and no pirouettes.<P>This summer, I put aside pointe work entirely to improve my placement and technique in flat shoes. This really helped me when I got back en pointe for the last class.<P>Now with a two month break, I will wait for at least a month before going back en pointe in the fall. The last thing I want to do is injure myself or learn incorrectly.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2001 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Pa, USA
~skittle~<BR>I would suggest reading the "Pointe-Assessing Readiness" post that Basheva directs you to and also having your mother read the entire thread on it. Then if you are both having some concerns, I would strongly suggest having a meeting with your teacher and asking about any specific worries you might have and thoughts your mother might have. Additionally, if you are feeling a bit unsure I would ask if you could take the pointe class in slipper for a month or so for your teacher to determine your placement/alignment better and for you to get an idea of what is involved and expected of your body. If you are feeling a little hesitant or unsure for any reason, it probably isn't safe for you to be on pointe as your body will be afraid to trust itself and you could risk injury more easily. Please take this endeavor of pointe training very seriously.<BR>best wishes,<BR>Jan


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2001 7:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: Washington
I enjoyed reading the thread on Pointe - Assessing Readiness, thanks you so much Basheva!! Thank you go out to everyone, you have given me a lot of great advice. This is such a great site,I could ask questions forever!!!!<P>I'm planning on taking 4 classes a week two at one studio and two at new studio (I think the one that trina teaches at).<BR>We just went on a break at my studio, so I don't have anymore pointe classes until Sept.<BR>I am going to research this more and then make my desicion for the fall. Thank you again for all the information !!!


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2001 7:59 pm 
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Location: St. Joesph, MN
Basheva, I hope you don't mind me asking but given all this talk about pointe readiness and given you started ballet later in life, may I ask how long you were in slippers before begining pointe? Was it important to perfect your technique in slippers before you were allowed to be on pointe? <P>


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2001 5:04 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Good question, Salima - and I don't mind you asking at all.<P>First of all I was in my twenties, so the question of my bones being ossified enough was was not a problem. I was taking 4 four classes per week in slippers for just about two years (as I remember it), when my teacher suggested that I get pointe shoes. I didn't ask her....none of us did....she told us when she thought we were ready.<P>So pointe class became my fifth class of the week. And I soon after was able to add a sixth. Eventually I took 7 days a week, (yes, we had Sunday class), but I don't recommend that. I think the body needs a day off.<P>And, yes, of course it was important that the technique (while never perfected!!) was at a point where this step could be taken. It was completely my teacher's decision. As I said, NONE of us ever asked, we were TOLD.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2001 8:54 pm 
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Basheva, Thanks so much for info. I've been wanting to ask you that for some time. You emphasized that you were approached about being ready for pointe. However, as an adult, I felt it was sometimes assumed that I may have no interest in pointe. I was afraid that I would never be asked. Thus, I approached her with interest expecting for her to say no, but she was more than happy to have me in her class. <P>There are five girls in my pointe class all at different levels, I was truly afraid that I wouldn't beable to execute any of the combinations, however to my suprise I could and I notice a new improvement every week!! But here's the clincher, I found out recently that EVERYONE asked to be in the pointe class, in terms of technique only one girl was really ready. So I'm a bit confused, Teachers cannot just let these girls(me included) in, but they can't turn them away either. We all were not approached to be in the class, but I must admit we've been doing very well. <P>This causes a new problem for me, for I wish to take another pointe class with a different instructor and he could see my technique and think I'm not ready although I have been taking classes....I honestly don't understand how it works...or what to do.


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 5:19 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Salima - it is confusing isn't it?<P>There are several problems. Some of them are professional capability, interpersonal communication - and others involve economics. <P>Ideally the teacher should know and be responsible for assessing the readiness/capability of the student for pointe work. There is nothing wrong with the student communicating to the teacher the fact that, when she is ready, she would like to further her studies on pointe. <P> What I meant in my above post was that we didn't even consider persuading the teacher of WHEN we were ready. Only the fact that "someday" we would like to do this - but chosing that time was the teacher's sole responsibility.<P>The next problem is being certain that one has a teacher who is capable of making that decision responsibly. You could assess that by discussing early on with the teacher the parameters that teacher will use. Ask her/him what she/he will be looking for. That will give you some insight into that teacher's thoughts and capabilities.<P>Now the kicker is - economics. There are many students (and parents) who insist that pointe study be allowed. They threaten (this has happened to me) to leave the studio - and they do leave the studio if their demand is not met. This leaves the teacher is a severe bind. If she owns her business, she has lost a student. If she works for a studio owner, she may very well have to bow to the demand of the studio owner to place the student on pointe. It's about money.<P>I never owned a studio - I always worked for someone who did. Before accepting employment I made sure that I and the owner agreed that "I" would be the judge of when pointe work for any student would begin. But even that can get foggy - studio ownership can change. Or the studio owner can change her/his mind. Or the teacher simply might REALLY need that employment for her subsistence and feel pressured to give in.<P>I think the best thing to do is to talk to the teacher well beforehand - get a reading on the thinking/decision process of that person. And at the same time communicate your interest in pointe. <P>As for trying another teacher - I encourage you to do that. If you are going for another opinion - don't be afraid of that opinion. It is just that - an opinion. The decisions are still yours.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited August 08, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 8:17 am 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
That economic issue is a real challenge when it comes to pointe. As in the situation I described above, I was between a rock and a hard place. <P>The fact is we have lost students over this issue, and when that happens, the director isn't happy (naturally...). There is a school of a regional company not too far away, and they put girls on pointe at age ten (I've heard of even some stray nine-year olds being put on there). So it is sometimes used as a threat here, with parents even saying, well we can take our daughter there. Even when it isn't overtly expressed, we hold our breath to see if they'll leave. <P>Often if I give them articles to read, and a more thorough explanation of my reasoning, and the fact that I am trying to protect their daughters from long-term harm, good sense will prevail. But this has to be one of the most emotional, controversial issues we face.


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 9:22 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Nancy paints a very accurate picture of what the teacher faces. For some reason there are parents who don't realize the teacher is just trying to protect their daughter's feet. They see it as holding their daughter back. But what teacher would want to do that? <P>This is definitely a case where a responsible teacher gets punished and an irrespondible teacher gets rewarded. The problem is of course, that the injuries and stresses to the feet will probably show up years later - after the teacher is long gone. <P>And, parents tend to think that the rules are not for their child - their child is "different". <P>


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 Post subject: Re: ready for Pointe or to soon??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2001 11:25 am 
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2001 11:01 pm
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Location: St. Joesph, MN
Nancy, Basheva, thanks so much for sheding light on the teacher's point of view. I find it very sad to hear parents are so impatient to put their daughters into pointe shoes regardless if they are ready or not. Hearing all this I honestly think that studios should give a small information session to the parents about all aspects of pointe...good and bad. Maybe help them balance out their desires of their child being on pointe versus the harm that they could do to their child if it was too soon.


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