Why you might have to wait for pointe shoes

Some dancers work for years to get pointe shoes. Others work for just a few months before their ready. And some work hard for what seems like forever, and their teachers still haven’t put them en pointe. Maybe you’re wondering why you still aren’t ready.

Trust me: it’s not because your teacher doesn’t like you. There are actually several very important reasons why some girls should wait to go en pointe.



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1.  Bones respond to abuse. When you stand en pointe, your muscles in your feet, legs, and core, have to support your bones, otherwise your bones will take all the abuse.

When bones take abuse or pressure, they respond by growing more bone. This is why dancers who start pointe too young may disfigure their feet, knees, hips, or back.

2. Technique is extremely important. Let’s say I have a brand new ballet student who is fourteen years old, has played soccer, and did gymnastics as a kid. Chances are, she’s strong, flexible, and her bones are fully developed. Why shouldn’t I put her en pointe right away?

Until the dancer gains proper foundational technique, no matter how strong or stable she is, she risks injuring herself. If she stands en pointe and doesn’t have the muscle memory to keep her spine lined up in a pirouette, she’ll probably fall and sprain her ankle. Just because you can stand on your toes doesn’t mean you should. It is best to wait until you can actually do something when you get up there.

3. Pointe is more than a physical responsibility. In order to go en pointe, you have to go to class regularly, pay attention, work hard, and prove that you are a hard-working and committed dancer. Pointe shoes represent responsibility. Before your teacher puts you en pointe, she’s going to look to see if you’re serious. Because pointe is not for babies.

If you feel like you’re ready for pointe and your teacher hasn’t said anything to you about it, you may want to talk to your parents and your teacher. They may be able to give you some advice, or explain why you’re not ready so you can better prepare. If you still think you aren’t being given your chance, see if you can find another teacher to give you a second opinion.

And if you’re worried that you’re not getting en pointe early enough, don’t panic! There’s no real reason to start pointe until age ten or twelve, and a fifteen or sixteen-year-old will gain strength and catch up quickly.

Remember, it’s not about when you get your pointe shoes, it’s about how hard you work when you’re up there.

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