From the time they are itty bitty, dancers dream of going on pointe. Those magical shoes that lift the dancer above the floor and give them the ethereal quality of floating.
When will it be my turn? My friend already has pointe shoes! It's all I've been dreaming of. It's all my daughter ever talks about! (It's even hard for the moms to wait!) I'm at the breaking point! I don't want to wait any longer!
The longing is a time-honored rite of passage for most dancers. But we don't make you wait just for the sake of waiting. At Still Pointe, we are very careful not to begin dancers on pointe before they are ready. Students don't magically earn the right by turning 12. Pointe shoes aren't like tap shoes. Pointe class isn't new or separate from technique; it is an extension of a student's technique. It is integrated into a student's regular classes when they become ready.
So what does it take to be ready? Responsible ballet schools are looking at a variety of factors. Number of years of proper training and the mastery of fundamental technical elements, strength, age and bone development, foot/ankle anatomy, and future plans all play a role in determining pointe readiness. Improperly rushing any of these elements can negatively affect not only a student's technique going forward, but can also impact self-confidence and enjoyment of dance as well as risk short term injuries and long term anatomical consequences for the future adult's feet, knees, and lower back.
So we urge you to wait, sweet student. Trust your teachers' assessment and believe that she has your best interest at heart. Ballet is a practice of building. Building technique, building muscles, building patience. Because once you are ready? That's when you will float above the ground.