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 Post subject: Re: When is pointe work really a must?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2001 5:49 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: Pa, USA
My thought is that if a student is considering going pro ballet; pursuing dance in college or as their primary career; they should experience pointe work (if only for one season) IF their body and mind can handle this. Additionally if they are going to teach pointe, coach ballet, or become a dance therapist it is valuable to have the experience. (Many male teachers don't have that pointe background personally!) <P>I have told students that they should not pursue pointe in the past. A student who had broken her ankle twice in two years was not allowed to go on pointe until she had at least twelve full months injury free with full ROM. A student who was very overweight (genetic problem) was not allowed to go on pointe. Students without the 75-80% bone ossification rate are not allowed to go on pointe regardless of age and ability. (This year I had a fourteen year old 5'6" ballerina with beautiful technique and roughly 50% bone ossification rate.) Students who "waver" between their primary interests are encouraged to not begin pointe work. Again, this year a student who is 16 who in the past three years has been going to be: a psychologist, an FBI agent, a pediatrician, a marine biologist, a lawyer---NEVER a dancer--wanted to suddenly begin pointe--after years of one ballet class per week--I said to her "why chance hurting yourself when this is not what you want to do even on a theme park level?"<P>Students who are not mentally ready to commit to be at three slipper classes per week in addition to one-two pointe classes are told "no". <P>I agree that pointe work is an extension of slipper and that all students (providing they are physically, technically and mentally mature enough) should be given the opportunity to dance if they would like to pursue it. HOWEVER--there are generally two types of pointe dancers I've found: those who must dance--and those who just HAVE to try it to be able to say they did it (they usually last a season on pointe) I make it very clear that students must be at all three slipper classes per week in order to put on their pointe shoes for the pointe classes--this alone usually detracts the "wannabes" from the real ballerinas.<P>I don't encourage the recreational dancers to go on pointe, quite frankly I don't feel it is in their best interest to do so. I do think that if a student is saying "I want to be a dancer" (of any genre) or "I'm going to dance in college" (even recreationally) they should have the experience of pointe work. I think the student looking at a life in the dance world (the lifers *S*) should have the experience so they can better relate that to other types of dance.


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 Post subject: Re: When is pointe work really a must?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2001 7:03 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I agree with you in every point (no pun intended LOL). It is very well thought out, Jan.<P>However, on one occassion I did permit a student to go onto pointe who was not ready - well actually twice I did this.<P>The first was a teenager who was ready in every physical aspect, age, skeletal maturity, technique, etc. She came regularly to ballet class but it was not the focus of her day. She came to socialize. She was sure she could easily conquer anything simply by wishing it so. She and her mother badgered me into allowing her to go onto pointe. Since there was no harm to be done to her physically, I allowed it, thinking that the reality of pointe work would take care of the problem. She lasted literally one half of a pointe class. She went onto releve' about 6 times and quit. <P>The second time, was with an adult who was very dedicated, ready in every respect except that she had the kind of foot in which the second toe is longer than the large toe. Most teachers (and books) discourage this kind of foot from undertaking pointe work. I explained this, but she still wanted to try. Since she was an adult and in every other aspect she was ready, I allowed it. She simply sailed away with it, she took to pointe like a duck to water. That one worked out well. I knew her for many years, and still keep in contact, and no harm every came of it.


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