Learning Pointe as a Adult Dancer…

by Tuesday, March 7, 2017

 You can learn pointe shoes at every age, its just a question of time and commitment learn it. If you’re an adult ballet dancer, the question is ‘Are you ready for pointe work?’ or ‘Is the pointe work adding any values to your workout?’ You’re not too old, if you’re 15 and above. If you’re 50, you can still do pointe work, but you must go in with your eyes wide open, understanding your personal risks.

WILL I BE ABLE TO GO ON POINTE?

Most probably yes, we don’t know “WHEN” and for how long you can stay on pointe….. Although, there is a small minority of people that can’t go on pointe no matter how much strength or technique they’ve gained, it could be their ankles are way too flexible or too stiff.

When I say too stiff, it means that you can’t form a straight vertical line from your shin to toes when you’re pointing your ankle.

WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO GO ON POINTE?

You will be able to go on pointe if you have sufficiently build up your strength and technique. Most people are concerned about strength – before going on pointe. Personally, I think technique is most important, more important than strength. Simply because, you can build up strength for pointe work by doing thousands of releves at the barre on pointe.

MASTERING SOME OF THE BALLET TECHNIQUE IS CRUCIAL – BEFORE STARTING ON POINTE WORK.

Technique is key to preventing injury. So what if you can ‘stand on pointe’? It doesn’t matter because ultimately, you want to dance on pointe so you need to stay on pointe; you’ll have to pirouette on pointe someday. You can take some risks by going on pointe, if your technique is sufficient. Pointe work in general is less dangerous for adults than young kids whose feet are still soft and malleable. However, if you’re not careful, you may twist or break and ankle, suffer an elbow injury due to a fall, and if you’re older, you might fracture a hip. These are surface injuries. The more dangerous ones are knee and back problems that surface after years of doing the wrong things.

Straightening your knees to its maximum also takes time to establish –Your metatarsals need to be flexible to ‘lick the floor’.-Feet take time to learn to point fully.

SHOULD I GO ON POINTE?

The common answers that you find on the internet and books are “you must be strong enough”, “you must be dancing for at least 3 years” or start with ‘demi pointe ‘ at the barre and lets see how far you can go…. 

SOME COMMON POINTE TECHNIQUE BLUNDERS:

• Not straightening your knees fully

• Not pulling up

• Not pointing your feet fully (and with lots of energy to spare and ‘come out of the ends of your toes’)

• Wrong ballet posture (with your popo sticking out)

• No emphasis on strength or balance or control – instead just focusing on the ‘moves’.

Dancing on pointe for the first time may feel so foreign, that you might ask why don’t we all start learning ballet using pointe shoes?

RELEVES AT THE BARRE.

When you go up, don’t jump up…slowly rise up. This builds strength. When you come down, don’t plop down. Slowly lower when you come down. Think ‘up’ as you lower yourself.

LIFTING YOUR WEIGHT ‘OFF’ YOURSELF ON POINTE

When you’re on pointe whether it is at the barre or in the center, lift your body weight off yourself using your core strength. Just as we stand in first or fifth position at the barre, we continue to stand very tall. You cannot just rely on ankle strength.

Some teachers call it ‘pull up’. If we allow ourselves to sink into our hips and sit on our legs (like the rest of the non-ballet-dancing population), we’re going to add more stress on your knees and ankles.

ENSURE THAT YOUR BALLET POSTURE IS CORRECT.

People looking at you on the side should be able to picture an invisible straight plumb line. Stand with an open chest, keep your ribs in, and your pelvis in a neutral position. This is all fundamental ballet technique, whether you’re on pointe or not. That is why I say technique is most important!

WANT TRY?

Book the Friday night class we are trying to discover how it is be back on pointe after ’40.

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