Dear Dancers and Parents,
Pointe is a rewarding and beautiful expression of ballet that also demands discipline and dedication. For any dancer who is interested in exploring it, either now or in the future, here is a brief overview of PACC’s pointe program and teaching philosophy.
Below you will find a wealth of knowledge pertaining to our pointe program. If you are interested in pointe, we encourage you to take a free trial of Jonathan’s pre-pointe class Thursday 4-5:00 PM.
Every year in the spring, we offer pointe evaluations and encourage all interested ballet students to attend.
Readiness for pointe is assessed based on two major factors: technical ability and physical maturity. A dancer must have reached a certain level of technique – in general, around a Ballet 3 – and be comfortable with the syllabus both intellectually (ie, understand what a term means) and physically (ie, have integrated that movement or position into muscle memory). In addition, a dancer must possess the physical strength necessary to go on pointe without compromising either their technique or their safety.
Some elements that are considered during a pointe evaluation are:
- Core strength
- Sense of balance
- Alignment and head-tail connection
- Ability to maintain proper posture and turnout while working both at the barre and in the center
- Strength of the feet and ankles
- Ability to roll up from flat through releve and onto demi pointe while keeping the arches of the feet strong and lifted, and keeping weight centered on the ball of the foot
A dancer who is ready to begin pointe generally begins with a year or two of Pre-Pointe, which is a class taken in flats (regular ballet shoes) that focuses on increasing the strength and technique needed for pointe. All students enrolled in Pre-Pointe will be assessed at the end of the dance year and given their recommendations for next year. Students who continue to take ballet classes over the summer can request a re-evaluation in September.
A dancer who is recommended to move to Beginner Pointe is referred to a reputable dance store where they can be fitted for pointe shoes by a professional.
Sometimes, a dancer may have reached a point where their technique is at the appropriate level for pointe but their strength is not, or vice versa. This is very common. It is also very important to remember that growth spurts can temporarily affect a dancer’s core strength, sense of balance, and body awareness, which may, in turn affect their readiness for pointe.
This is absolutely not a reflection on their work ethic or ability, nor is it a predictor of future progress or an indication that they will never dance en pointe. It simply means that pointe is not the best option for them at this time in their dance career.
We encourage students to keep working, learning, growing, and having fun, regardless of whether they go en pointe or not, whether they fall in love or decide it’s not for them. There are many, many forms of dance – all equally challenging, rewarding, and expressive – and pointe is only one of them.
Teachers are always available to give advice and offer exercises to help build strength at home or to refine technique.
If you are interested in beginning pointe, please speak to your ballet instructor or ask at the front desk. Depending on your teacher’s recommendation, you would be welcome to attend Pre-Pointe as a free trial class and evaluation.
For anyone who is looking to improve strength, turnout, flexibility, posture, and alignment – whether you are already en pointe, considering auditioning this year, or just looking to complement your progress in ballet class – we strongly recommend the Thursday Ballet Conditioning & Stretch class from 8:00-9:00 pm, taught by Jonathan Mendez. Again, all students interested are welcome to attend class as a free trial before deciding to officially enroll.
Our goal is a happy, healthy, well-rounded dancer who is challenged to grow and explore his or her own expression of dance while still being supported and nurtured in a safe environment. We take ballet and pointe very seriously and put our dancers’ well-being first above all else.
As always, our door is open and we welcome questions, concerns, and insights. We are here to help you help your dancer have a full and rewarding dance career, whether for a year or for a lifetime!
Thank you from everyone at PACC!
Performing Arts Center of Connecticut, LLC18 Lindeman Drive, Trumbull, CT 06611
18 Lindeman Drive, Trumbull, CT 06611
203-372-ARTS Fax: 203-372-2788