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 Post subject: help teaching point
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 8:09 am 

Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 8:03 am
Posts: 3
is there a basic lesson for teaching beginning point? it has been so long since i was a beginner and i am having some anxiety about teaching a beginning point class because i do not know what will be too difficult or too easy for these students? thanks in advance

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 Post subject: Structure for a Basic Pointe Class
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2005 3:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 688
Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Here's a class plan that I've devised. You'll want to adapt to the needs and challenges of your students. For the first lesson, make sure they know the true "basics" -- fit, how to put the shoes on and off, including tying the ribbons correctly, sewing on the ribbons and elastics, and other "care and feeding" tips for pointe shoes that you can provide.


Here are a few “bullet” points to remember about pointe:

√ Students must be both physically and technically ready.

√ It’s an individual thing. Each student will be ready at a different time; there is no magic formula. It’s better to wait than to start too soon.

√ Generally, students should be ready to begin basic pointe about the time they are 12 to 13 years of age and are in at least the equivalent of Ballet IV, having had already a minimum of 3 to 4 years of solid training.

√ Slower is faster.

√ Trust and rely on the teacher(s) for expert advice and to guide through the hallowed process of pointe work.

√ Take the time to learn and master the “Care & Feeding” of pointe shoes. This would include how to get fitted properly, “prepping” the shoes (sewing ribbons and elastics, making the boxes non-skid, “breaking” the shoes in, etc.), and when to wear and when not to wear these “ski boots!”

The following exercises are ones that I’ve developed and use as a “routine” that students go through almost every class.
Barre Excercises
2-hands & facing the mirrors
1. 1st position: w/R foot, press to 3/4 pointe, then to full pointe, reverse and finish in demi-plié. Repeat left for a total of 8 times.
2. 1st position beginning w/R foot on full pointe: 3/4 pointe back to full pointe, 3 times then roll through demi-plié to L side and repeat all left, for a total of 4 times.
3. 1st position: press to 3/4 pointe, then pull the toes under to full pointe off of the floor; come to full pointe then demi-plié. Repeat L, for a total of 8 times.
4. 5th position: Tendu front, press out to attitude à terre, stretch leg (back to full tendu) and then close, returning to 5th. Pattern is done en croix.
NOTE: Can vary by leaving out the repeat to 2nd and instead make a rèlevé assemblé to sous-sus & balance. Be sure to reverse, starting to the back.
5. Feet parallel: roll up, demi-plié, straighten and then roll down. Do 4 in: 6th, 1st, 2nd, and 5th positions.
NOTE: Build so transition can be on full pointe. Feet stay in 5th, and don’t go to sous-sus; toes stay in contact w/floor.
6. 5th position: make tendu and quick assemblé to sous-sus. Pattern is done 3/4 en croix. Finish with 2 coupé back/front w/tilt of head.
NOTE: Be sure to start also to the back, so it’s reversed.
7. 1st position: Elevé, followed by relevé – 4 each.
NOTE: Do methodically and exaggerate rolling and pressing through the feet, particularly on the way DOWN.
8. “B+”: pas de bourée – using strong actions to make each position, using 5th and 1st (not 2nd).
NOTE: Be sure to reverse; under AND over!
9. 5th position: Echappé to 2nd, plié in 2nd, pas de bourée to sous-sus, 3 times w/stays. Last time – repeat exactly except make rèlevé to sous-sus from 2nd. Total of 4 times.
NOTE: Goes from side-to-side during the pas de bourée. Can also add in 4th position for variation, when students are strong enough.
10. “B+” R leg back: low pas de cheval (dévelopé) to Sous-sus, slow retiré, stay, promenade, lift knee to passé & close back, step back into original position but on the L side. 4 times total.
NOTE: This is an adagio – for control and “feel” of passé position for pirouettes and promenades.
11. 5th: Preparation for pirouettes – tendu, plié, rèlevé to sous-sus, stay, coupé, stay, sous-sus assemblé, dégagé F foot to plié.
4 times right and then repeat all left.
NOTE: Use of stays adds stability to technique.
12. Toe hops: “bounce” in demi-plié, 3 times, stretch the legs on count 4. Repeat w/arms off of the barre, then try traveling in direction of front foot. Can add 3 changement when ready to change to L side. 4 times total.
NOTE: Box of shoe (toes) must be kept level/flush w/floor.
13. Piqué; Single foot. Start in B+ w/R leg. Piqué to the side, 1st to sous-sus and then later to coupé.
14. Balancé. 1 time R & L w/tilt of head. 1 time R & L, looking “under” the arm w/single hand on barre. Make sous-sus, changing the 5th to finish. Repeat all left, for a total of 4 happy times!
15. Bourée Progression. Start in sous-sus. Make coupé, F & B w/stays. Then take out the stays. Increase in tempo, until “rumbling!” Finish in a complete stillness...
16. At “fixed” barre. Port de corps for inner-thigh control and balance. From “wide” 2nd & on full pointe. Over, up, assemblé R leg in, soutenu, dégagé to 2nd, cambre, soutenu, dégagé to 2nd. Repeat all L. Finish w/balance in sous-sus and work down through the feet to plié.

Barre Exercises
Single hand on the barre, facing sideways to the mirrors
1. Port de Corps. Twice on 2 feet, R & L side. Twice on 1 foot, coupé back for cambré, also R & L sides.
NOTE: Use soutenu to go from side-to-side. When rising, be sure to bring in FRONT foot ONLY; back foot stays in contact w/floor.
2. Grand Battement.
NOTE: Be sure to use stays for this one!
3. Demi-Détourné. Plié to sous-sus on OTHER side. Similar to soutenu but begins in plié rather than already en pointe.
NOTE: Should give first w/two hands on barre.
4. Pas de Bourée de côté. Back foot leading, of course!
NOTE: Can finish w/piqué to either sous-sus or arabesque, w/one hand on barre.
5. Adagio.
6. Glissade. To sous-sus and/or à la seconde.

Center Practice

1. Walking.

2. Running.

3. Adding gradually to basic center work -- such as port de bras and tendu.

4. Sauté

Dean Speer

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 Post subject: re: help teaching pointe
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 8:00 am 

Joined: Mon May 16, 2005 8:03 am
Posts: 3
I want to thank you for the help Dean. And my students thakn you as well. I start teaching in a few weeks and I will keep you posted on our success. I truly appreciate you sharing your lessons with me.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 5:09 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 682
Location: Petaluma, California
Yes, Dean, thanks from me, too...It's always good to get some fresh ideas and suggestions for combinations! :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2005 8:58 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 10
I highly recommend "The Pointe Book: Shoes, Training, and Technique" by Sarah Schlesinger and Janice Barringer. It is loaded with beginner and intermediate pointe exercises from prestigious studios around the world.
Also, I really enjoyed the video "Pointe by Point." You can probably get both of these through

Keep it at the barre for beginners, remember they must plie on their standing leg when doing a pique, and don't do releve's on one leg for a while.
Also, in the long run, it's a good idea to study a more experienced teacher before or while you are teaching a new class. That is what I am doing right now to improve my teaching skills. I observe her classes, and take some of her classes. We also talk a lot about teaching techniques after class. She is sort of my mentor. It has helped me more than any books or videos.

...And dance like no one's watching you...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 2:10 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 283
Location: Australia

I too am teaching beginning pointe after many years. It is so amazing that what was technically accepted back in the say 70's is SO NOT NOW in the naughties. It is amazing the things that we learn along the way especially as far as anatomy is concerned in regards to pointework etc. Does this make sense? :wink:

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