Pointe Class For Adults
It’s a dream for many adult students to progress to pointe. It certainly isn’t expected when joining an adult ballet class, but it’s a possibility for the most dedicated dancers. If you’re considering dancing on pointe, talk to your teacher. They can give you an honest assessment as to whether you’re ready to handle the demands of pointework. In the meantime, learn what is required to dance on pointe, and what you can expect from an adult pointe class.
You must demonstrate strong technique in flat technique shoes before you can dance on pointe.This requires you focus on two areas: (1) Pulling up and out of the shoe, and (2) knowing how to articulate the feet.
Pull up and out of the shoe
You need strong ankles to rise up onto pointe. Once you’re up there, you have to be careful not to “sink” into your shoes. Pull up, out of your hips, and straighten your knees. Remember, all of your body weight is being hoisted onto a platform the size of a silver dollar. That’s a lot of strain on the bones of your feet. If you don’t know how to navigate this change in body placement, it could lead to injury.
Articulate the feet
When you’re able to “articulate” the feet, it means you have the ability to move the joints smoothly and fluently. Since pointe shoes are so hard and uncomfortable you won’t be able to “feel the floor” as readily as you do in technique shoes. That is why it is vital to master basic principles in flat technique shoes; if you fumble through a movement on flat, it is going to be that much harder to accomplish in pointe shoes. But if you can easily point your toes and arch your feet in a way that expresses the step, then adapting to pointe shoes will not be as difficult.
3 for 2 schedule
You should only consider pointework if you have been taking at least three ballet classes a week for at least two years. While young teens can expect to dance on pointe if they have been training for many years, adults have to remember that they are compensating for lost time. This formula does not guarantee that an adult is ready for pointework, but if they are working hard and applying themselves, this schedule should prepare them well.
Keep yourself in shape
Contrary to popular belief, your pointe shoes don’t hold you up; you hold you up. You need to develop a strong core, and improve your stamina. Do crunches, lunges, and go for a walks and jogs. Of course, be cautious with any workout routine and consult your doctor if you have a medical condition.
Adult pointe class is basic. In some cases, it’s not even a separate class. Some teachers will allot 15-20 minutes at the end of a regular technique class for pointework. Or, if they see you are ready for pointe, they may allow you to take your regular technique class in your pointe shoes. Either way, you will practice basic exercises at the barre like releve and pique. In center, you may be given simple combinations like echappe and sous-sous. If your idea of pointe class is to perform triple pirouettes, you need to lower your expectations, at least at first.
Adult pointe class is exciting and a major accomplishment. With hard work and persistence, you can rise to a new level in your artistry!
image credit: Nyko Piscopo
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