Calling any ballet mums and teachers please! DD will be 12 next month and starting grade 5 ballet.
Should she expect to be able to start pointe work pretty much straight away?
The problem we have is that the pointe class clashes with a drama class she takes and she wants to do both. The only solution I can see is to enrol her into another dance school for ballet/pointe, & keep her where she is for modern, tap, and the general ballet classes. Unless she would only do a tiny bit of pointe, and I can persuade her she won't really miss much by not doing the pointe class at the moment! But...... I do feel for her, she's been taking ballet for 9 years and in her head, it all leads to going onto pointe!
you may not want to hear this but a lot of ballet teachers are reluctant to allow point (sp?) until at least 13. my aunt was one of the top ballet teachers in the country and I remember she would sit me at the back of class as I wasn't old enough. HATED it at the time but now so grateful as my feet developed properly and my toes are not bent. it really is best to wait!!! x
There's not actually any requirement for pointe in any of the grades - it doesn't come in until the majors. Lots of dance teachers do let them start during grade 5, but it should literally be 5 - 10 minutes at the end of a class doing rises at the barre - not a full pointe class. It also depends on the strength of her feet and ankles - I have incredibly high arches and so have always struggled with pointe, and wouldn't have been ready to start at 12. It shouldn't just be down to age, or even level - there's more to it than that. Having said that, I do see the problem if the teacher is willing to let her start....
She should start on Demi-pointes and do strengthening classes for her ankles (might be part of a usual class). Then when ready move on to a small amount of proper pointes. They are different shoes so not cheap. Going on to full pointes regularly will probably take about a year from first using the demis. Make sure her pointe shoes are professionally fitted as otherwise can cause huge problems. Looks like torture to me, but kids enjoy it
Pointe doesn't automatically start at grade 5. It starts only for those children who choose to do vocational grades (majors). Majors can be started from about the age of 11 onwards or between grades 4-6 but the first one inter foundation in most syllabuses is pre pointe.
A lot of dance schools won't start pointe until about age 14 but it depends on the child, on the strength of the feet for example and there is usually 12 months of strengthening excercises. Dd has beautiful feet with high arches but this isn't good for pointe.
We've talked to a couple of her friends who started this grade last term, and basically the pointe class is about exercises to strengthen their feet at the moment, so although she won't miss any actual point work, she will in the longer term as she won't be able to do the exercise class that leads to pointe iyswim. The class is split and taken by 2 teachers, one is great and very sympathetic, but the other is erm, much more tricky I thinker need to write off next term, and hope that the class time changes in Sept.
Just ask the teacher for the conditioning and strengthening exercises. They are very simple and she can easily do them at home - they have to anyway as to get their ankles ready they need to be done regularly. My daughter is often walking round the house with pointe shoes on with wooly socks over top - it softens the blocks she tells me. And my mantelpiece is used as a barre (I'm not sure ballet to one direction is correct but she often has it blaring out while doing rises). Youngest on Demi pointes just walks round the house a lot in them and does weird things with her feet.