Going en pointe for the first time is one of the most exciting times in a dancer’s career. But it can also be confusing without proper guidance. We want to make sure you are off on the right track and set you up for success.
DO get approval from a professional.
Going en pointe can be dangerous and dancers must display proper technique as well as strength and maturity in order to handle the rigorous work load ahead. Getting approval from your ballet teacher is sufficient, but getting approval from a doctor is also recommended. While there is no specific age that is appropriate to start en pointe (click here for other pointe shoe myths), It is important to consult a professional to check. Find a professional who is familiar with dancers.
DON’T have someone else sew on your own ribbons and elastic.
It is very tempting to ask your mom to sew on your ribbons and elastic for you. This is your responsibility. Give yourself a good 3-hours. I’m not kidding. First time sewing your ribbons and elastic can be very frustrating. But it gets easier. I promise. Sewing on your ribbons and elastic is part of being en pointe and you will learn what kind of ribbons and elastic are the best for you as well as the exact location to sew them on to flatter your feet. Everyone’s feet are different and the location and type of ribbons and elastics are a personal preference. You won’t be able to figure these out unless you experiment on your own and get the best understanding of your individual preference. Ballerinas have to sew on a new pair of pointe shoes almost every day. It becomes a ritual and a therapeutic flow. Just like everything else, keep practicing and you will get there!
Do strengthening exercises.
Dancing en pointe requires a very specific set of muscles on your feet and lower legs that are not commonly used in other sports. Theraband exercises that emphasize strengthening the small intrinsic muscles in your toes and feet and the stabilizing muscles in your lower legs will encourage proper technique and avoid injuries.
DON’T get discouraged.
Ballet journey is individual and unique. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Some may have a more difficult time adjusting to pointe. Pointe work is where all your weaknesses are magnified: flexibility, strength and technique. That means you will discover challenges that you didn’t notice when you were dancing on flat. Everything has their own issues and weaknesses depending on their body type and journey. So work hard and
Pointe shoes are earned. It is the result of hard work and perseverance. There are absolutely no short cuts in ballet. Starting en pointe can be frustrating at times, but be patient and kind to yourself. You can achieve anything!