This is one of the most asked questions in Ballet. Getting their first pair of pointe shoes is such a special time in a young dancer’s life. It does not happen overnight, and there are many factors that go into Pointe eligibility...
The following five requirements should be met before a student considers starting pointe:
The proper age to start on pointe can be a bit controversial. Some schools put students on pointe far too early, and this can be detrimental to the bone development of a dancer’s feet, and cause many physical health problems as they get older. The growth plates of the foot are usually complete around the age of 11 or 12, so this is when most professionals agree that pointe work can be introduced. Pre-Pointe begins around age 10 so that the dancers are ready for pointe when they are 11.
2. Years of Training
Professional ballerinas do not begin their careers in point shoes. It takes years to achieve the proper technique, strength, and alignment needed for a successful transition into pointe work. Ultimately it is up to the instructor’s discretion to determine when a student is ready for point, with the minimum requirement of 2-3 years.
3. Class Enrollment
In order to maintain proper technique, strength, alignment and flexibility needed for pointe work, it is very important to be enrolled in multiple ballet classes a week. Initially students will start out at two classes in their ballet shoes, and after a couple years move on with all classes executed on pointe.
4. Physical Readiness
All dancers will be formally evaluated by their ballet instructor to determine if they are physically ready to meet the demands of pointe work. They will be evaluated for correct body position and alignment, sufficient turnout, strength, balance, and mastery of basic ballet technique.
5. Emotional Maturity
Pointe work is hard work! Beginning pointe classes will be more demanding on a dancer’s body than their traditional ballet class. Are they prepared to suffer from sore feet and occasional blisters? Also, pointe shoes are complicated and demand a certain level of responsibility to maintain. Dancers are taught the correct way to put pointe shoes on their feet and tie them. They must be cared for in the correct way for them to remain in good condition for as long as possible. Choosing to dance on point is a decision that should be taken seriously.
What are the requirements for Pre-Pointe at Studio Dansu?
The Student must…
be 10 years old and turning 11 before the end of the current year
have taken a minimum of two years of ballet
enroll in two ballet classes per week over the Summer (Ballet & Pre-Pointe Bootcamp)
enroll in two ballet classes per week in the Fall (Ballet & Pre-Pointe at a minimum)
be consistently prepared for class
be in good physical health
have a doctor’s note to keep on file
have instructor approval
demonstrate a serious attitude towards ballet
Every studio is different, and will have their own requirements. Instructors should always evaluate each student individually throughout the year and notify those students who they believe are ready for pre-pointe the following year.