Pointe is a beautiful form of ballet, but dancers should be careful of studios that promise to put your child en pointe before they’re ready… going too early can have long-term consequences, including potential for injury or permanent damage to the bone or muscle structure of the foot, which far outweighs the risk of disappointment.
To avoid these problems, a teacher must consider several things in selecting students who are ready to begin pointe work:
Age — No student should attempt pointe work before the age of 10. The pressure of the body’s weight on the foot and toes, which are still soft and growing before that age, can cause malformation of the bones and joints. Many teachers prefer to wait until the student is 11 or 12 years old.
Training — The student must have had at least two to three years of serious ballet training and be currently taking at least three classes per week. This is the minimum time and preparation needed for a student to develop sufficient technique and strength to prepare her for pointe work.
Bone Structure — The structure of the student’s ankle and foot is of great importance. The ideal foot has toes of nearly equal length which provide a “squared-off” platform on which to stand. Students having a long big toe may experience some difficulty and discomfort on pointe, since the entire body weight must be supported on just the big toes, but this type foot does not necessarily prevent the dancer from dancing well, safely, or relatively pain free.
At the Studio, we pride ourselves on working with each student as an individual, and making sure the timing is right to ready the student for future success.