Already evaluating your students to decide who will start pointe next year? When to begin pointe work is one of those very important, special and serious decisions. Here are a couple of exercises you can use on your beginners to find the correct full pointe position before using pointe shoes. Have your pre-pointe students try these out, following the great illustrations provided.
Two Exercises to Find the Full Pointe Position
One or two repetitions of these exercises are usually enough for each class. Use them in the weeks just before the student will be getting pointe shoes.
These two exercises are to give the student an awareness of how the correct weight bearing on pointe feels. It is difficult for a teacher to see what is happening to the toes inside the pointe shoe. Usually the student doesn’t know for sure what is happening, either. These are activities to “educate” or “inform” the toes that the student intends to stand on them. The purpose is to help the student feel exactly where that weight is supposed to go on pointe. These are not developmental exercises, and are not intended to be done more than once or twice in any one class session.
First Pointe Awareness Exercise
Second Pointe Awareness Exercise
The second exercise is done standing, facing the barre, in 1st position. Lift the right heel, making a demi pointe position with the right foot. Using a comfortable amount of pressure, push the toes against the floor and roll the right foot up to the full pointe position. Roll it back down to the a terre position. Repeat with the left foot. The teacher needs to make corrections on the exact position and shape of the foot in the full pointe position.
Help Them Learn How Pointe Should Feel
When students are given an exact understanding of how the full pointe position should feel, they are better able to find it on their own inside the pointe shoe. This helps with getting the right shoe and the right size at the fitting session, and helps greatly at the first pointe lesson.
Some teachers like to also use these two exercises just before the students put on their pointe shoes for the first pointe lesson. The soft ballet shoes would be worn for pliés and tendus, and then taken off for these two exercises, then put on for the first rises onto full pointe.
These exercises can also be done with the pointe shoes on. It is important that toes do actually begin to bear weight on the ends, and not curl or knuckle over in the pointe shoes. Only in this way can the student build the needed strength for pointe work in the feet and toes, and not be totally dependent on the shoes to hold them up.
If you are one of those teachers who will starting pointe work on yours students this fall, check out the Pointe 1 Curriculum Book. After using the material on my students, even those who had had pointe before learned so much from the exercises we did in class. Pointe work is fun, but it should be taken slowly and seriously as a big step for the aspiring ballerina.
- Their First Pair of Pointe Shoes
- Guidelines for Starting a Student on Pointe
- Conditioning Principles to Help Pointe Work
- Recognizing the Student NOT Ready for Pointe