It is extremely important to know about the dangers of going up on pointe too early. There are some studios that will place students in pointe shoes by age and not by how strong they are as dancers to support their feet and ankles in a pointe shoe. When making a decision about going up on pointe, we can't stress enough to be cautious of studios that will automatically place students in a pointe shoe merely because they are 'old enough'. Going up on pointe without strengthening the correct muscles may cause a growth plate injury or other permanent damage to the foot and ankle. Dancin' Dreams is very dedicated to students being strong enough in order to prevent injury, which is why we have developed our pointe prep program.
Congratulations to your ballerina for starting the Pointe Prep Program at Dancin' Dreams dance school. This is an exciting time for your dancer but also a time to understand the commitment level needed to achieve dancing on pointe. Dancing on pointe requires a lot of hard work, dedication for numerous years and discipline.
Our program has been developed to provide strength training and conditioning throughout the entire dance season as well as over the summer months at each level. The program also provides technique training at all levels. We feel that technique training is a necessary part of our program and is required no matter what level you are in the pointe prep program. Dancers must understand that staying conditioned and following recommendations for strengthening exercises keeps injuries to a minimum and provides a foundation for each girl to eventually dance on their toes.
At Dancin' Dreams, we are extremely cautious about placing dancers up on their toes. All dancers will not be invited to dance on pointe shoes at the same time. We evaluate all dancers on an individual basis and will not place a dancer in pointe shoes if we feel they are not strong enough. Preventing injury is our top priority. Dancers tend to progress at different rates and it is important to keep in mind that dancers must work at a pace that is comfortable for them.
Good attendance is crucial for a dancer to be successful on pointe. Every class builds on the one before and a good attitude and work ethic are equally as important in order to be successful on pointe. With hard work and dedication, dancing on pointe can be a dream come true for every dancer. Every dancer must show their dedication in class including wearing the appropriate attire, hair always in a bun, taking correction from the instructors the first time they are asked and being a mentor and strong leader to those students attending lower level Pointe Prep classes.
It is required that students dancing on pointe register for at least 2 classes per week that work in only demi (flat) shoes. Only working on pointe in classes may cause a life-long injury and conditioning by working on foundations in lower level prep classes (on flat shoes) is a requirement to stay dancing on pointe. This requirement will be strictly enforced to prevent injury.
Below is a list of our Pointe Prep levels and what to expect at each level:
This is our first level in the Pointe Prep Program. Dancers will enroll 1 hour/week (1 day/week) of pointe prep classes and will work on basic ballet technique. Dancers will also learn strengthening and conditioning exercises that they will use throughout their journey onto pointe. Dancers must have a strong core, feet, ankles and legs to safely hold themselves up on pointe. This is a combined class with all levels of our pointe prep program and is a required class each dance season.
This is our second level in the Pointe Prep Program. Dancers will enroll in 2.5 hours/week of pointe prep classes (2 days/week) and will work on more advanced technique. The class will incorporate longer practice time at the barre and center floor. This is a combined class with Pointe Prep III (A) and III (B) and is a required class each season for level II and above.
This is our third level in the Pointe Prep Program. Dancers will enroll in at least 4 hours/week of pointe prep classes (3 days/week). Level III is divided into two sections (A and B). Students in III (A) will only move onto III (B) if they show extreme hard work, dedication and discipline. Working not only during class time but strength training when not at the studio and showing improvement each and every class as well as wearing the appropriate attire each and every class and showing respect by placing their hair in a bun and taking corrections from their instructors immediately.
This is our second section of the third level in the Pointe Prep Program and a significant milestone for each dancer wishing to dance on pointe. Dancers will enroll in at least 4.5 hours/week of pointe prep classes (3 days/week). Dancers in this level must be properly fitted by a professional at a dance wear store for their Pre Pointe shoes. They will bring these shoes back to be checked by their ballet teacher. Dancers will learn from their teachers how to sew the ribbons and elastic, how to properly care for and how to tie the shoe correctly. These shoes look exactly like Pointe Shoes but most training is done on a flat foot with some pointe work at the barre. If dancers are strong enough, they may be asked to do a few things at the barre on their toes but the Pre Pointe shoes are used to build even more strength in the dancers feet, ankles and legs and will also provide an easier transition for the dancer when getting actual pointe shoes. This is a combined class with Pointe students and is a required class for level III (B) and above.
This class is the final step and another significant milestone for each dancer. Dancers will enroll in 5.5 hours/week of mostly ballet classes (3-4 days/week). At this level, dancers have been evaluated and have receive a letter stating they are ready to go on pointe. Each dancer will be invited to go on pointe at different times. Once a dancer receives their letter, they must go and have pointe shoes properly fit at a dance store and will bring them back to class to have approval by their teacher before sewing ribbons and elastic. Dancers will start slowly at the barre until they reach a point where they are strong enough (and confident) enough to wear the shoes center floor.
Dancers will also be required to continue strengthening exercises over the summer when not attending classes and the Summer Ballet Intensives are highly recommended in order to be strong enough to continue on pointe.
If class requirements are not met or too many classes are missed, students will be asked to only wear their flat shoes for a period of time until all instructors have decided that the dancer can show their dedication to stay conditioned and earn their pointe shoes once again. This is for the safety of our dancers and we will not hesitate to enforce this if we feel the dancer's safety is in jeopardy.