Pointe technique is the part of classical ballet technique that concerns pointe work, in which a female ballet dancer supports all body weight on the tips of fully extended feet within pointe shoes.
Jesse Scales, former Terry Simpson Studios and NZ School of Dance student currently with Sydney Dance Company. Photo: S Opitz
Students must have sufficient strength in the feet, ankle, leg, knee, and abdomen (core), as well as strong technical skills, before beginning Pointe work.
This work can take anywhere from six months to more than three years. They usually must be at least twelve years of age before going en Pointe.
This is because bones and growth plates in the feet are not yet fully hardened and developed prior to this age.
Pre-pointe classes are offered to students who are not yet on pointe to further develop and strengthen the muscles necessary to go en pointe.
They stress correct alignment and correct classical ballet technique.
Pre-pointe classes allow teachers to assess readiness, offering an atmosphere for proper evaluation of important skills.
Full Time Vocational Coaching Programme students Photo: Ian Brenner
A dancer is said to be en pointe when the dancer's body is supported in this manner, and a fully extended vertical foot is said to be en pointe when touching the floor, even when not bearing weight. Pointe work is performed while wearing pointe shoes, which employ structural reinforcing to distribute the dancer's weight load throughout the foot, thus reducing the load on the toes enough to enable the dancer to support all body weight on fully vertical feet.
A pointe shoe is a type of shoe worn by ballet dancers when performing pointe work. Pointe shoes were conceived in response to the desire for dancers to appear weightless and sylph-like and have evolved to enable dancers to dance en pointe (on the tips of their toes) for extended periods of time. They are manufactured in a variety of colors, most commonly in shades of light pink.
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