Forum: Ballet / Pointe - Beginners

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re: Sure she's young...
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 2267, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Tue Mar 24, 2015 09:22 AM
Havent't weighed in as yet but I am in class with or friends with children who were started on pointe at 8/9. They were great with turnout, etc.

They now are having growth plate problems, almost every single student. Or they have os trigonum, or some other abnormality that they might have avoided had they started at an older age.
re: Sure she's young...
By hummingbird Comments: 10412, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:26 AM
Although maturity where puberty is concerned seems to have sped up there is little evidence that I've found to say it's sped up the process of bone ossification or growth plate development.

I still say you should get a doctor to help make the decision about a dancer being ready for pointe because we can't see bone development with the naked eye.
re: Sure she's young...
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 2267, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:54 PM
Hummingbird, that is very true. I know a young lady who started puberty at 9. Because her bones were not at that point, she had to be given a hormone inhibitor until her bones caught up with the rest of her body.
re: Sure she's young...
By SwordInStone Comments: 192, member since Thu Aug 11, 2011
On Tue Mar 24, 2015 01:06 PM
Does anyone sort of feel that this is uncomfortably arbitrary? It seems like BalletSwan and her sister are training under people who think it's safe to start pointe young, and that's the only reason they started pointe young. If they trained under people like taxi4ballet, they would have started pointe later no matter where their technique is.

I understand some very serious eight-year-olds can be more advanced than their peers, and might want to move on with their training. I understand why adults think it's safe to allow them to do so. At the same time, even if they waited till later, they would still have had plenty of things to work on. Even if they start point later than their peers, they would have caught up easily.

So what determines whether one's ready or not for point isn't all technique or physical development or among of training. A big part of it has to do with what the teacher thinks is right. I mean, the girls at the nearest school start pointe between ages nine and eleven, before they've learned how to do a double pirouette in soft shoes. And where I trained, the girls could do triple pirouettes before they started pointe.

This makes me uneasy for some reason.
re: Sure she's young...
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 2267, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Tue Mar 24, 2015 06:57 PM
There is a school in my area that regularly starts children before the age of 10 - usually around 8. These are the kids who I meet at later schools (they leave that one eventually, for various reasons) and then find they have to go back to the beginning because of the damage to their feet.

That girl, Lada, who was doing those fouettes on pointe at the age of 7, is now the Vaganova school. She was taken OFF pointe and held back until the rest of the girls were caught up to her, giving her feet really a chance to rest and repair, from what I have read. Hopefully, she will not have a short career.

One school in another part of my area also starts students young, but the teacher requires X-rays before she allows the girls to go on pointe. If the doctor approves, they are permitted. Her school is one of the highest standard in this area.
re: Sure she's young...
By SwordInStone Comments: 192, member since Thu Aug 11, 2011
On Tue Mar 24, 2015 07:46 PM
Wow, that's really interesting, Serendipity. I guess starting that young makes it easier for her to develop harmful habits.

Great that the teacher requires x-rays, that's pretty intense. I remember a classmate who quit ballet after being put on pointe because she couldn't stand the pain. She was thirteen, and at the time we all thought it was because her second toe was too long. Guess it's possible that her muscles also weren't strong enough.

But to the original question--since everyone's advising BalletSwan not to protest (and that's what I'd do as well, though perhaps not with much confidence), perhaps it would be wise for the younger sister to do extra strengthening, just in case. It's not limited to the feet, either. Would help to strengthen the core in order to pull up more, and to make sure turnout is well-placed, and to work under her parents' supervision outside of class.
re: Sure she's young...
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 2267, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Tue Mar 24, 2015 08:02 PM
Actually, SwordinStone, I re-read the first few posts. Sounds like the little one is doing her own protesting.... :)

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
re: Sure she's young...
By netmum Comments: 478, member since Sun Jul 02, 2006
On Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:23 AM
Storm_Trouper wrote:

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.)
?


Yes, it does apply to the Royal Ballet School & Elmhurst School. Both schools admit children into their full time Lower Schools at the age of 11 & girls are put into pointe sometime during their first year.

Both schools also run auditioned Associate Programmes for children from the age of 8. These children are NOT put en pointe. A children entering the full text me school may have been put on at age 10 in preparation to take their Inter Foundation exam when they turn 11 but the requirements of this exam are very simple, mostly rises at the barre & a couple of simple centre work exercises.
re: Sure she's young...
By BalletSwan Comments: 34, member since Mon Mar 02, 2015
On Sun Mar 29, 2015 06:32 PM
At the school I go to, it isn't common for the babies (that's what they're called) to go on pointe. I guess I did not make that clear. However, if they think your technique is good then you are considered for it. My worry is that they did not calculate her strength. Yes, she can do triple pirouettes. Yes, she can do 32 fouettes in quick succession and she has very good turnout. I will not set myself to a double standard. If I knew what I know now, I would have asked my dance teacher if I could wait a little. I did tell my parents my concern but they say that she will be fine. I am not even surprised. She can at least get en pointe now but she does complain of clicking ankles when she is. My parents were so happy they took pictures. They are on my profile. It's little baby feet in white tights.
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