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Am I Ready For My First Pair of Pointe Shoes? Here's the most important things to consider first!

Updated: Mar 1

Embarking on the journey to dance en pointe is a significant milestone for many ballet dancers. However, the transition to dancing on pointe requires careful consideration of both physical and mental readiness. In this blog post, we will explore the essential aspects of pointe readiness through the lens of a dance medicine specialist.


Before you read on, I wanted to make sure you knew about my FREE 30-min

webinar "Stepping Up- A Guide to Pointe Readiness." Just click the link at the end of this post for instant access!


One of the first things we need to address is that there is no magic age to begin pointe work. You may hear of studios where all dancers get their first pair of pointe shoes once they turn 10, or maybe 12, but in reality, this shouldn't be the case. In fact, age is only a very small piece of the equation when looking at readiness. Instead, we want to take many other factors into consideration, such as:

  1. Years spent dancing- ideally 2-4 years of ballet experience

  2. # of classes taken per week- at least 2 ballet classes per week

  3. Overall technique


Since this point (no pun intended) of this blog is to look at the dance medicine side of things, let's discuss the most important piece of pointe readiness, which is musculoskeletal development.


The best recommendation I can give to you, is to always have a pre-pointe assessment assessment by a trained individual, such as a Physical Therapist, to ensure all the categories below are properly addressed.


The top 3 musculoskeletal considerations for pointe readiness include:

  1. Foot and ankle mobility- A dancer must have adequate foot and ankle mobility to get fully en pointe without compensating. While flexibility is essential, keep in mind that excessive flexibility without stability can increase the risk of injuries. A pre-pointe screen will assess mobility to ensure it is balanced and controlled.

  2. Strength- A pre-pointe assessment will assess strength from the feet all the way up to the hips and core. Adequate strength in these areas is crucial for supporting the body's weight while en pointe and maintaining proper alignment.

  3. Muscle control- Assessing how a dancer coordinates their movement is key to determining if she is ready for pointe work. This includes looking at things such as movement strategies/habits, balance, and spacial awareness.


Looking for an easy-to follow pre-pointe strength training program?? 👉 👉



When should these assessments take place?

The sooner the better! If you have an idea that you will be going on pointe in the future, having an assessment done well before the time comes is your best bet. This will allow you, your Dance Med Specialist, and dance instructor to develop a solid plan for you to make a safe transition to pointe work when the time comes.


Ensuring pointe readiness is a collaborative effort between dance medicine specialists and dance instructors. By addressing strength, flexibility, stability, and skeletal development, dancers can embark on their pointe work journey with confidence, reducing the risk of injuries and enhancing their overall performance. Remember, the road to dancing en pointe is not a race but a carefully navigated progression that prioritizes the dancer's well-being and long-term success.


WANT TO LEARN MORE??

Check out my FREE 30 minute webinar, where I dive a little deeper into what it takes to safely begin pointe work!


Get instant access by clicking the link below!


how to get the ballerina feet you have always dreamed of with your first pair of pointe shoes





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