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Ballet - point work

(19 Posts)
FarAwayHills Tue 15-Nov-16 16:03:06

DD has been asked to start point in her ballet class. Just wondered if any ballet mums out there had any experience of this. My DM is adamant that it is really bad and could cause long term problems with her feet and joints and my research has come up with mixed views.

TIA

LIZS Tue 15-Nov-16 16:05:24

How old is she?

OlennasWimple Tue 15-Nov-16 16:05:35

How old is DD, and what grade is she? How many lessons a week does she currently have?

FarAwayHills Tue 15-Nov-16 16:18:03

Sorry should have said - she's 13, Grade 5 and does about 2 hours ballet a week plus 4 hours of other dance.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 15-Nov-16 16:18:44

it CAN be very bad for them but only if it isn't done properly and when they are ready. A properly trained respectable teacher will check that the girls are old enough (minimum age 11 I believe but in our dance school usually 14) and that their feet and ankles are strong enough. I was at the dance shop recently and a girl was there getting her second pair of pointe shoes. she said she had been on pointe for a year already but not done very much and the lady in the shop was horrified because she felt (as a trained fitter and ex dancer) that the girls ankles and feet weren't strong enough yet and that at 11 she really wasn't ready. I believe they recommend they do at least 2 hours a week of ballet.

nonicknameseemsavailable Tue 15-Nov-16 16:20:56

just seen your other post, in our school that would sound right for it being suggested.

MrsGB2015 Tue 15-Nov-16 16:23:55

I think that's the average age in my opinion for pointe work. I started around 12 and didn't experience any issues. Stock up on ouch pads and animal wool. Also try soaking her toes in surgical spirit to toughen up the skin.

dodobookends Tue 15-Nov-16 16:30:40

At 13, she should be fine as long as the teacher has assessed her suitability and she is doing at least 2 hours+ a week of ballet. Make sure you take her to a shop with a wide range of makes and styles of pointe shoes and get her fitted properly. Once she has the shoes, don't sew the ribbons on or let her wear them round the house until she has shown them to her dance teacher for their approval.

She will only be doing a few minutes a week on pointe for quite a while yet (and that will be holding on to the barre), and she won't suffer any damage from that at all.

There are a lot of threads about starting pointe in the 'Doing Dance' section of Balletcoforum, and a lot of knowledgeable posters. Maybe read through some of that if you need any more advice.

OlennasWimple Tue 15-Nov-16 16:33:42

That's definitely not too early, provided her feet and ankles are strong enough.

There's no denying it's not great for your feet... But it is an integral part of ballet, so if she wants to carry on doing ballet (rather than other forms of dance) she will need to do pointe. It's the rest of ballet that's bad for your joints, not pointe, so that ship might have already sailed...

MrsGB - I saw some modern pointe shoes the other day, and they are nothing like the things I had back in the day! So much lighter and flexible, and none of the girls used animal wool as the toes had gel inserts <don't know they're born>

The Royal Opera House Pointe Shoes Appeal site has some videos that might be of interest to folks on this thread smile

Kenworthington Tue 15-Nov-16 16:38:06

Hey Op no advice yet as am in the same boat. Dd is 11 (will be 12 in jan) and is starting pointe in jan. She does 3 hours of ballet a week, she's in grade 3 but also intermediate foundation (which is the class she will be doing pointe). She's been dancing for just over 2 years.

ShowMeTheElf Tue 15-Nov-16 16:49:47

ISTD and RAD recommend caution on jumping and pointe work during the adolescent growth phase. By 13 many girls are past that. At 11 very few girls are.
Every case should be assessed individually so if you have good teachers who have your daughters' health at heart it will be fine.

ShowMeTheElf Tue 15-Nov-16 16:50:09

adolesscent growth spurt, not phase

FarAwayHills Tue 15-Nov-16 17:00:34

Thanks all for your replies.

I do trust the teachers judgment she is very experienced and does not tend to rush them to do pointe.

It just seems to go against my mothering instinct to allow DD to do something that could hurt and potentially damage her feet. I have visions of her in the future blaming me for her ugly feet grin

dodobookends Tue 15-Nov-16 17:44:54

Professional ballerinas will have issues with their feet in the long term, but then they are rehearsing and performing in pointe shoes for upwards of 6 hours a day for their entire dance career.

Youngsters dancing recreationally and doing a few minutes of pointe a week won't have a problem as long as their shoes fit properly and they have a good teacher.

FarAwayHills Tue 15-Nov-16 19:28:38

Thanks Dodo perhaps I am being over cautious and not helped by my DM. I think I will just have to go with it and see how DD gets on.

dodobookends Tue 15-Nov-16 19:44:57

Your DM has no doubt heard all the old chestnuts - it's not like that any more! Pointe shoes (and padding) have come a long way in the last few years and are pretty high-tech now. Maybe you could go to a dancewear shop and have a chat with the fitter? I'm sure they will be able to put your mind at rest.

Let's face it - in this day and age what dance teacher would lay themselves open to being sued if it was going to cause serious injury to children?

Fairylea Tue 15-Nov-16 19:52:50

I did ballet up to senior grade and was chosen to audition for italia conti dance school (way back when .. I'm now 36!) I have a lot of issues with my feet now but I did a LOT of dancing - lessons virtually every day and lots of practice etc. The main issue I have is my toes tend to cramp up really easily, I can't wear heels for more than half an hour. It's very painful. (My ballet school was a very good one too so it wasn't caused by bad technique).

Saying that, I don't regret it at all. I loved dancing so much and being en pointe meant the world to me. I still have moments of madness where I quite fancy giving it a go again despite being nearly 13 stone and nearing 40 but many years later from when I last danced I'd probably break my neck! grin

Supposedtobeworking1 Wed 16-Nov-16 15:16:53

I went on to pointe at the age of 13 and had to give up dancing three years later as my feet just couldn't take the strain. I'm nearly 40 now and have arthritis in the joints of my big toes caused by the pointe work combined with me having long big toes so they took a lot of the pressure. It makes walking excruciating at times (worse in the cold weather) and I too can't wear heels but I think I also probably was always going to have a tendency towards joint problems as my ankles, knees and hips are knackered from the dancing too (I started dancing age 3 and did professional stage shows etc so did dance a lot for many years). It sounds from other posters like the shoes have improved a lot though. In my day you had to stuff sheep's wool into the toes to try and soften the blow a bit (it didn't) but gel inserts sound like an amazing idea!

dodobookends Wed 16-Nov-16 16:27:16

The gel toe pads are v good (so dd tells me), and it does help with pointework if your toes are similar in length.

Also until fairly recently it was a choice of Freed or nothing whether they fitted or not there weren't so many pointe shoe brands or styles, and it was a case of making the foot fit the shoe (so to speak).

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