The most common question I’m asked is “why can’t I go on pointe?”
Reason #1 – You’re Too Young
Unfortunately, if your teacher says “you’re too young” and you’re under 11, she’s right. Sorry!
You will see 9 and 10 year olds on pointe – but unless they’re in a full-time ballet course and they’ve been approved for pointwork by a specialist doctor, they shouldn’t be. Go on pointe too young, and you are taking a very big risk. You could damage or deform your feet so badly, you won’t be able to dance at all.
Some girls are ready for pointe before age 11, but only highly experienced ballet teacher are knowledgeable enough to judge accurately. Only a qualified specialist doctor can be absolutely sure. That’s why most teachers play it safe and insist their students don’t start pointe until they are 11 or 12.Reason #2 – You’re Not Ready
But what if you’re eleven or older, and your teacher says you’re still not ready? How can you convince her to let you start pointe?
The answer is – improve! Your teacher must see some weaknesses in your technique – and the only way to change her mind is to fix those weaknesses. If she’ll tell you where your problems are, all the better – and a reasonable teacher should be prepared to give you details. So if she won’t, it’s likely you need to work on all aspects of your ballet technique.
Your teacher is basing her judgment on how long it takes a typical student in her classes to develop the skills for pointe. So if you want to get ready faster than usual, you’re going to have to do something special. You’re not going to progress fast enough if you just do your normal classwork.
How to Get En Pointe Faster
I don’t recommend doing your regular ballet exercises at home – alignment and accuracy are very important in all ballet steps, and it’s just too easy for you to allow tiny bad habits to creep in when you’re practicing without a teacher to correct you.
Luckily, there are plenty of prepointe exercises which you can do unsupervised – and because they’re very targeted at preparing for pointe, you can make progress much faster.
Caution: you’ll find lots of videos of Theraband exercises for prepointe. They are useful, BUT BUT BUT make sure you don’t curl your toes while you’re doing them.
Curling your toes is a really, really, really bad habit to get into, because it will ruin your line in soft shoes and make dancing on pointe much harder.