When Can You Start Pointe Work?

Pointe shoes are the necessary attribute of ballet dance we can’t skip. Despite its attraction to any ballet beginner, you can’t wear pointe shoes right away. The risk of injury remains huge for newcomers. Although you may choose a wide range of pointe shoes, you can get familiar with them at livethedance.com. You have to realize that you can damage your feet significantly without the proper skills.

Factors That Do Not Matter

While we used to believe that age is the most important criterion for pointe shoes, it is not entirely true. You can be a professional dancer in your 10 or 12. Physical maturity is also overestimated. It does not turn you into a skillful dancer with enough muscles on your legs, your technique, or the ability to tolerate discomfort.

The Risks

You have to be sure your bones are well-developed before wearing pointe shoes. On average, it happens when the dancers are at the end of their teenage period or the beginning of their twenties. Before that, the bones on your feet are not strong enough to keep your weight while dancing on your toes. Yet, the age may vary. The age is irrelevant if a dancer has years of practice and a well-developed muscle system.

Without proper technique and strength, your body weight and intensity of moves and jumps can lead to fractures in non-developed bones. Any pointework must not even be started without proper training and gradual transition. You can’t come to the ballet class and just stand in your pointe shoes for several hours. Another danger is unfitting shoes picked in a rush, and inappropriate pointe shoes increase the risk of injuries.

Usually, we see pointe shoes on 10-12 years old dancers. Although it is still considered dangerous to wear these shoes on stage, keep in mind that these dancers are already professionals. Usually, they start their training at a very young age, like 5 years old. Even these dancers can wait for the age of 16-18 to switch the specific dancing shoes with strengthened toes and split soles to pointe shoes. Rarely does it happen when 8-9 years old dancers wear pointe shoes on stage. It does not matter for dancers when to begin pointework training. Skillful dancers can easily catch up with everyone in the class who started pointework several years earlier.

Pay attention! If you are an adult who recently joined classes, you are not ready to wear pointe shoes until you gain essential skills. While your bones on the feet are already fully formed, you can still injure them. They are not used to holding your weight on toes.

Signs That You Are Ready for Pointes

You should consider numerous factors before deciding whether or not you can wear pointe shoes. They are not negotiable. If you have doubts about at least one factor, it is better to keep training in special dancing shoes. Here are the basic demands:

  • A number of training. The more you are committed to mastering your skills, the faster you can wear pointe shoes. According to the official statistics, the average dancer has to spend at least 2-3 years practicing ballet with 3-4 classes per week before wearing pointe shoes. You need to attend ballet classes, not another type of dance, since your body has to prepare itself for the intensive weight on your feet. It is great if you dance a mix of ballet or other dance types, but it does not really count. You need at least 5 hours per week of training for at least a year to consider pointe shoes;
  • You can make a mature decision and pick pointe shoes. It means you have already tried dancing shoes, danced in them for some time, and are ready for the challenge. You must be aware of what is coming next since pointe shoes do not have any extra features to ease the weight on your toes. Dancing in pointe shoes may provide you with the feeling of lightness in your moves, but it is also the stress for your body. You will have to keep up with your daily ballet routine while getting used to the new shoes;
  • Your technique must be advanced. To stand on pointe shoes, you have to use all the skills you’ve mastered in the classes. You will need to lift up and out your shoes constantly. Moreover, you may need to re-learn your balance on one leg in the pointe. Your core, balance, lower back, and abdomen must all work together to slightly lessen the pressure on your feet and knees. You need to have experience to do it. If you can’t keep your balance and constantly fall, you need to practice more in specific dancing shoes with no slipper soles made of leather. If you don’t know how to use plie in your dance correctly and don’t know how to put your legs in tendu, you may need more lessons and practice;
  • Your physical condition. To stand and dance in pointe shoes requires great physical preparations and general health. If you have any illnesses, you need to know whether you can even start ballet. This type of dance is highly demanding of your physical data in general. For example, you can’t be overweight since you increase the chances of injuring your legs. You should be in great health to withstand all these jumps, spins, and squats.

Wearing Pointe Shoes Without Trainings

If you have never danced before and this is your first ballet class, you can’t wear pointe shoes or stand in them for over 10 minutes. You will be in pain after several exercises that you would perform easily, wearing appropriate shoes for your level. Unless you have enough training, your mission to dance in pointe shoes, no matter how silky and adorable they are, is suicidal. Although you will finally have the chance to stand gorgeous in pointe shoes, you are more likely to give up ballet after this training.

You have to wear pointe shoes after consulting with your instructor. Make sure you pick a trustworthy ballet professional. The best dance schools don’t even allow their students to wear pointe shoes before 4 years of training. Sometimes this time can be cut based on the quality and number of training you attend per week. Yet, even the brightest students can’t switch training shoes to pointe shoes earlier than in 2 years at school.

Dancing Without Pointes

Is it even possible to dance ballet without pointe shoes? While you may not imagine it, ballet is much more than pointe shoes or tutus for now. You can show your graceful moves dancing in training shoes. For many years of ballet, students have trained in shoes called demi-pointes. These shoes provide you extra comfort during the dance and protect your feet. Moreover, many professional ballet dancers prefer to wear pointe shoes only for performances. They don’t wear them when training.

You may find your own pair of dancing shoes based on your level. The most popular shoes for beginners contain split soles with extra support. The toe has protection inside. The split sole lets your feet move without any discomfort. Moreover, you should make sure your shoes are not slippery. You will have to move a lot and don’t want to fall each time you jump or spin. The best training shoes are:

  • Durable. All the stitches are in their places and will not fall apart during training;
  • Washable. Since you will attend school at least twice per week, it will be a waste of money to have shoes you can’t wash;
  • Tight grip. The sole should be made of high-quality material with a tight grip;
  • Breathable. You will move a lot. If your feet are wet, you will quickly lose balance and will not achieve the desired results;
  • Light-weight. You don’t need to feel the weight of your shoes while dancing. They must be weightless and provide you comfort while you are wearing them;
  • Stronghold.Pointes usually have 2 straps attached to both sides of your feet, and you have to fix them before dancing. You need extra support while dancing, including the elastic upper fixation or the ribbon.

Take Your Pointes in Time

Make sure you understand all the pros and cons of pointe shoes before buying them. You can always keep them for the time when you will be ready, but you have to try training shoes at first. Only when you master your ballet skills, you will be able to switch shoes. If you dream of dancing in pointe shoes, don’t worry; you will definitely reach this level.

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