Forum: Ballet / Pointe - Beginners

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Pointe - Beginners
Sure she's young...
By BalletSwan Comments: 34, member since Mon Mar 02, 2015
On Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:49 AM
Edited by BalletSwan (272770) on 2015-03-05 11:57:37 Pictures

I have been dancing pointe for about five years. I was eight.

My sister is adopted. I know some of the comments will say it doesn't matter but I feel it's necessary to say that. My mother and father both did ballet. My grandparents on both sides did ballet.

So I come from all that pressure and talent and body types. I've got high arches and flexible and strong ankles. I'm not necessarily slim but I do have muscle so it was possible for me and my biological family to start pointe as early as eight or nine. That's why I point out that she's adopted and has a different body type.

My sister is being pressure to start pointe. She's eight but I don't think she's ready personally. She's got her pointe shoes and my teacher has got her in pre pointe classes.

I'm not trying to make her feel bad or bring her down but should I go to my teacher and recommend that she be taken out because of her still weak ankles. Her feet are quite nice however.

Pictures of her on my profile. All of them are of her.

33 Replies to Sure she's young...

re: Sure she's young... (karma: 1)
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 34891, member since Wed May 22, 2002
On Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:03 PM
No, don't go to the instructor. Having a lot of people in your family that have done ballet is awesome, but it doesn't make you an expert, and it doesn't put you in a position to question those who are. I've got a lot of people in my family that ride horses - my great gramma used to make pocket money by basically flipping horses. She'd go to the auctions, buy the skinny, underfed ones, spend a little time fattening them up, and resell them at a profit. That doesn't make me a veterinarian.
re: Sure she's young...
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:08 PM
Don't say anything. If she does have weak ankles the teacher will notice and give her exercises to do etc. Does she feel ready etc?
re: Sure she's young...
By BalletSwan Comments: 34, member since Mon Mar 02, 2015
On Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:36 PM
My sister told me that her ankles hurt a lot. I thought it was normal but when she rotated her ankle, it made a clicking sound. My teacher insists that it I can do it then she can do it despite my concern. I have a ballet to be dancing in and I don't want to have to worry about her breaking her ankle. I do help her a little bit but I see her gripping onto the barre for dear life. She claims that the broken in, non dead, perfectly fitting pointe shoes are trying to make her fall.
re: Sure she's young...
By hummingbird Comments: 10412, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Thu Mar 05, 2015 09:50 PM
Don't you remember what it was like when you first started pointe? How strange and awkward everything felt? That's what your sister's going through.

If I was you I would focus on my own dancing and let my sisters teacher do her job properly.

I'm not saying I condone putting eight year olds on pointe but you have chosen those teachers for a reason, you have confidence in them to teach you and your sister properly, or I hope you think that.

Just one more question, in your own words what made you ready to go up on pointe at age eight and not your sister? I'd be really interested to hear your answer.
re: Sure she's young...
By BalletSwan Comments: 34, member since Mon Mar 02, 2015
On Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:20 PM
@hummingbird I was larger then the average eight year old. No necessarily overweight but tall and sort of muscular. People often thought I was ten or eleven. If it was my choice, I might have waited a year or two but I was strong enough physically. Pointe class wasn't hard for me. There was a little pain in my toes but my ankles didn't click or anything like that. I guess I should leave it to my teacher. I am sort of protective of my little sis. She has been known to strain tendons and in one occasion sprained her ankle. I didn't want to add that info but whatever.
re: Sure she's young...
By lassofthefaerys Comments: 5, member since Sat Nov 15, 2014
On Sat Mar 07, 2015 03:05 PM
I'd suggest talking with your sister and asking her if she feels ready to do pointe. She IS the dancer, ya know? It could be an awkward phase, but if she doesn't feel ready, then you can help her discuss other options with the teacher. But, don't put words into her mouth when you ask her. Say things that are just concerned about her, not giving opinions. "How do you feel en pointe?" "Are you enjoying en pointe?"--simple, basic things. She'll open up if she has any concerns. If she does, you can be helpful and encourage her, or offer to help her discuss her fears with the teacher. :3

I think being 8, there will still be time to get a good pointe education if she thinks she needs a little more time. But it's HER decision. While I think teachers should encourage their students to try new dance things and always pursue being better, if your sister has any concerns, they should be addressed. It sounds like she would benefit from a stronger teacher-student relationship, too. :) Not saying this is a definite, "She should quit!", but she SHOULD talk to the teacher about her concerns.

Best of luck!
re: Sure she's young... (karma: 1)
By taxi4ballet Comments: 137, member since Fri Sep 07, 2012
On Sun Mar 08, 2015 08:25 AM
Nobody can possibly be ready for pointework at 8. What about core strength, bone development, technical level, physical and mental maturity, being able to hold and sustain turnout...?

No reputable teacher (in the UK certainly) would even consider it.
re: Sure she's young...
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Sun Mar 08, 2015 09:18 AM
As for the "clicking" ankles, as long as it doesn't hurt I wouldn't worry about that. My ankles pop/click all the time. It never really concerned me.
re: Sure she's young...
By PrimaBallerina21 Comments: 20, member since Tue Mar 03, 2015
On Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:59 AM
My feet click all of the time and I'm a ballerina. It's actually something that happens when you have strong feet, certainly nothing to worry about, everybody in my academy's feet click a fair bit as we're warming up and rotating ankles ect and it's totally pain free. I wouldn't worry about being en pointe at 8.Though if you're concerned she could always get an x-ray (which some studios insist on if the dancer is a young age eg. younger than 10) but if she's got strong feet I wouldn't' worry too much unless she doesn't feel ready/feels pressured :)
re: Sure she's young...
By BunHeadAlymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 233, member since Mon Apr 30, 2012
On Tue Mar 10, 2015 05:32 PM
Clicking is bad. I don't care if someone else here says otherwise.

I would talk to your sister, then your parents; that way they can speak to the teacher.
re: Sure she's young...
By PrimaBallerina21 Comments: 20, member since Tue Mar 03, 2015
On Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:54 AM
clicking is actually just gas there's nothing wrong with it at all or else us professionals would have major issues.It happens when your bones are strong mainly.It's your sisters choice and I don't mean to offend you but being good at dancing/your muscle isn't hereditary at all it's due to diet & exercise done as you're growing up....
re: Sure she's young...
By taxi4ballet Comments: 137, member since Fri Sep 07, 2012
On Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:36 AM
I still can't quite believe that anyone thinks it's ok to go en pointe at 8
re: Sure she's young...
By SwordInStone Comments: 192, member since Thu Aug 11, 2011
On Sat Mar 14, 2015 03:38 PM
Well, start believing it, then, because it's not as uncommon as you think. If a student has been dancing pretty seriously since age five or something and has developed strong muscles in her training, it's not weird if someone allows her to do a few releves on pointe, so stop thinking it is. We're all built differently, and plenty of teachers think differently, so open your mind and accept that maybe a few students mature physically more quickly than others, fer chrissakes.
re: Sure she's young...
By BalletSwan Comments: 34, member since Mon Mar 02, 2015
On Sat Mar 14, 2015 05:44 PM
@taxiforballet She did start very early. I think we let her twirl around in the babies class by the time she was three.
re: Sure she's young...
By Acaadancer Comments: 9, member since Sun Mar 15, 2015
On Mon Mar 16, 2015 03:19 PM
I personally believe that you should discuss with your teacher about the concerns you have for your sister. You clearly have experience since you have been on pointe for so long, but i would at least let your instructor know why you are worried about your sister's safety while dancing. Even if your teacher does not change anything at least she knows about your concern. I would also talk to your sister and get her opinion on the situation. Ask her if she feels ready for pointe, or if she feels pressured. You could also try encouraging her to build up strength and work with her to get her to the point where she is strong enough for pointe work. Hope this helps :)
re: Sure she's young... (karma: 1)
By BunHeadAlymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 233, member since Mon Apr 30, 2012
On Thu Mar 19, 2015 02:33 PM
Edited by BunHeadAly (249320) on 2015-03-19 14:34:45 Autocorrect!
PrimaBallerina21 wrote:

clicking is actually just gas there's nothing wrong with it at all or else us professionals would have major issues..


Do you mean popping/cracking? Clicking usually means bone on bone and the fact that OP said her sister is in pain is leading me to believe that it might be that.

Ballet isn't exactly that great for the body. This is nothing new, so we shouldn't just dismiss unnatural noises.

I strongly suggest talking to your parents OP. Maybe they can have her paediatrician take some X-rays and the teacher can go over them.
re: Sure she's young...
By Sumayah Comments: 6875, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Fri Mar 20, 2015 06:00 AM
Edited by Sumayah (204191) on 2015-03-20 06:03:18
The bulk of the redponses here are all veterans of this website and have done our fair share of OMG THAT'S WAY TOO YOUNG FOR POINTE ranting where we throw ourselves on our keyboards with passion. Now, the clickbait is less effective because we're tired of the discussion. Not a single one of us condones it nor would we engage in practices that promote it. However you're 13 and what you're proposing is above and beyond your place. You have every right to disagree and tell your parents your opinion. But they're the adults, once you've said your piece, they are responsible for the rest.
re: Sure she's young...
By BalletSwan Comments: 34, member since Mon Mar 02, 2015
On Fri Mar 20, 2015 02:41 PM
@Sumayah, I didn't wish to bring back an old trend.The point of my post was not to question if she's too young for pointe. I've decided that she is and so was I. I don't know what will happen to my feet later on but so far, they're fine. The pointe of this was to ask if she was strong enough and should I bring my concerns to my dance teacher. I've decided to leave it up to the professionals. They can deal with her and I'll deal with me.
re: Sure she's young...
By taxi4ballet Comments: 137, member since Fri Sep 07, 2012
On Sat Mar 21, 2015 04:24 AM
SwordinStone, you're right, I've changed my mind.

I AM starting to believe that there are people out there who think that a child will be sufficiently advanced in technique, placement, core strength, physical and emotional development and skeletal maturity to start pointework at 8.

I just think they are plain wrong, that's all, and we are all entitled to a different opinion.
re: Sure she's young...
By hummingbird Comments: 10412, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Sat Mar 21, 2015 07:43 AM
Ok, I've taken the bait!

Growth plates and bone ossification, at eight years old no one has growth plates that have fused enough or the proper about of ossification of their bones to withstand the rigours of pointe work. The decision shouldn't be all about the muscles and training, it should be about the bone development and you can't do that by looking at your student, you need X-rays and the help of a doctor to truly determine if your student is ready for pointe.

OP get the clicking in your ankles looked at by a dance physio, there's no way we can tell you if that's something not to worry about on the internet and none of us are physios or doctors here.
re: Sure she's young...
By taxi4ballet Comments: 137, member since Fri Sep 07, 2012
On Sun Mar 22, 2015 04:02 AM
Thanks Hummingbird!

And BalletSwan, you are very sensible and have a wise head on young shoulders. Perhaps all you can do is to voice your thoughts to your family and hopefully they will get your young sister's ankle clicking problem looked at by a professional.

Incidentally, I am aware that in many parts of the world it is common practice to start pointe at a younger age, but here in the UK it is now actively frowned upon. Even the Royal Ballet School does not start its young students on pointework until they are 11.
re: Sure she's young...
By Storm_Trouper Comments: 808, member since Mon May 21, 2012
On Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:40 AM
Edited by Storm_Trouper (249942) on 2015-03-23 11:42:28
Edited by Storm_Trouper (249942) on 2015-03-23 11:54:32
Click bait and passionate keyboarding, I love this thread!

Nowadays, at what 'usual' age do girls first get up on pointe in the more serious academies in Russia and France, I wonder. (I mean at recognized centres of excellence where training and conditioning of qualified, hand picked students by experts in their fields and technical traditions - with oversight and specialized dance medicine / physio support - are conducted on an almost daily basis for most weeks of the year in a well training-controlled boarding boarding school environment, perhaps the upper echelon or elite standard compared to recreational ballet takers.) A responder has commented here that in the UK 8 would be considered unusual, but would that apply to Elmhurst and the Royal's lower school I wonder.)

Girls in some regions of the world today, historically speaking, mature earlier than in the (distant?) past (how long ago in comparison I am not sure) due to improvements in our diets, vitamins, and medical care for example. (Other theories as to why this 'evolutionary development' occurred includes the ingestion (and absorption from pre-birth) of milk and meat from hormone-fed beef/pork/poultry to grow 'faster food', or is this an urban myth? In China today some people avoid eating chicken from certain sources due to said concerns, but I digress.)

My pointe being, if menarche and physical maturation is speeding up, then by extension would this have any balletic training implications for young female trainees?
re: Sure she's young...
By BalletSwan Comments: 34, member since Mon Mar 02, 2015
On Mon Mar 23, 2015 04:49 PM
Edited by Sumayah (204191) on 2015-03-23 18:45:08 Edited out personal info. For our members safety we don't recommend ever publically listing full names, email, phone, or specific locations.
If anyone is wondering, I suppose it's important for you to realize that currently we just moved to the U.S branch if our studio. I was born and raised in Russia and we moved her last year.
re: Sure she's young... (karma: 1)
By wembley Comments: 310, member since Fri Oct 10, 2008
On Tue Mar 24, 2015 04:43 AM
In the UK the big name schools such as Elmhurst and the Royal ballet School don't start until year 7, so students are around age 11 when they start. Now, they may or may not have started pointe prior to being accepted into those schools.

I'm in Australia, and of the ballet schools which I've attended (in three different cities), none would start an eight year old on pointe.

I occasionally assistant teach a class of eight year olds and they are mostly still trying to feel their turnout, sway backs, knees not fully straight. In that class, the student with the best posture and alignment is a delightful young boy - he would be closer to pointe readiness than almost all of the girls. Note that Australia in general tends towards the slow and steady route for producing dancers - by the time they reach their mid teens the students where I am are generally lovely dancers, and the studio currently has four former students dancing with professional ballet companies, so the slow boil method works here.
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