3 Pointe Safety Tips For Beginners
Earning your first pair of pointe shoes can be very exciting, especially for an adult. If your teacher gives you the green light to start pointe, keep these 3 safety tips in mind as you navigate dancing on your toes for the first time.
1. Get professionally fitted.
Pointe shoes are not like the sweater passed down to you from your older sister. Pointe shoes should always be purchased brand spanking new, and should never be worn second-hand. The structure of pointe shoes is designed to carefully support your feet; since everyone has different shaped feet, it’s important to select a pair that’s best for you. Support your local dance store and schedule a fitting. Avoid just dropping in if you can help it – sometimes there are multiple students in line waiting to be fitted. After slipping a pair on your feet, the person fitting your shoes will ask you to walk around the room and rise to your toes. Keep in mind, trying pointe shoes on for the first time will feel awkward; new pointe shoes feel clunky and stiff. During class, your pointe shoes will mold to the natural shape of your feet.
2. Be cautious with your technique.
It can be tempting to try pirouettes and other flashy steps while wearing your new pointe shoes, but take it easy. Attempting movements beyond your ability can land you with a cast on your leg or at the very least, land your butt on the floor. If there isn’t an official pointe class available for adults, ask your teacher if you can perform the barre portion of class in your pointe shoes. Some adult ballet teachers will incorporate simple pointework at the end of class, after students have had plenty of time to warm-up. It is vital to establish correct technique from the start. Listen closely to instructions, and be quick to apply corrections. One of the most common mistakes beginner pointe students make is losing their turnout. Pointe shoes add a new dimension of feeling to your feet, testing your ankles, arches, and toes. Don’t let your new gear throw you off; maintaining basic ballet technique is an essential first step in pointework.
3. Use a little rosin.
Dance surfaces tend to be slippery, and when you add pointe shoes to the mix, it can be downright scary. Some studios will offer rosin, a sticky, powdery substance made from tree resin. Rosin adheres to the soles of your pointe shoes, offering more traction and reducing the risk of slipping. Simply drop a few small rocks on the floor and lightly step on them until they crumble. Dip your heel, balls of the feet, and tips in the rosin until sufficiently coated. Be careful that you don’t overdo it; too much rosin can cause you to trip, not to mention it makes a mess. Double check with your teacher before using rosin in class. If they disapprove, substitute rosin with a damp paper towel. The moisture will provide a similar effect and clean up is a cinch.
These are just a few key points to keep in mind when dancing on pointe for the first time. Here’s wishing you all the best in your new journey!