Pre-Pointe and Pointe
Pointe is a beautiful technique that gives classical ballet its unique, ethereal quality; it is an exciting goal for many dancers. However, dancing en pointe requires tremendous strength and control through the core, feet, ankles, and legs to be executed safely.
Poor training for pointe can set students up for pain, injury and permanent damage which is why we treat this stage in dance preparation very seriously.
Dancing en pointe should not be painful: a trained dancer in properly fit shoes only feels pressure. Pain is a warning sign to be investigated and avoided.
Requirements for all Pre-Pointe and Pointe classes:
Dancers must be in Ballet III or above, with strong technique and alignment.
Dancers are required to take a minimum of 2 weekly ballet technique classes, to develop and maintain adequate strength.
Conservatory Company, Choreographic Collective and Repertoire are choreography-based classes, and do not qualify as ballet technique classes.
For safety reasons related to musculoskeletal development, students will not be allowed to dance en pointe until they are at an absolute minimum age of 11 years old – even if they pass all Pre-Pointe assessments. The majority of ballet students will begin pointe work around the ages of 12-14 years.
Dancers joining The Conservatory who have begun pointe training elsewhere will be evaluated to determine their appropriate class placement.
For safety reasons, Pointe is not offered on a drop-in basis.
Dancers enrolled in Pointe are required to take the ballet technique class prior to warm-up the body and prepare properly for the demands of pointe.
Dancers will be assessed continuously to identify conditioning needs.
Dancers who miss 3 or more pointe classes for reasons of absence, illness or injury must take class in soft shoes until they can pass assessment.
PRE-POINTE: Ages 10+
Conditioning class to build strength and mobility needed in the feet, legs and core for safe pointe work. Students are required to train in class and practice at home. Pre-pointe is excellent for all dancers to enhance technique and prevent injury, even if the student does not pursue pointe. Two weekly ballet technique classes are required.
POINTE I/II: Ages 11+
Pointe class for students with a minimum of one year of formal pointe training.
Enrolment in Pointe I/II is by permission of the instructor only; two weekly ballet technique classes are required. Assessment of pointe readiness is based upon technical strength, physical development, alignment, maturity and consistent class attendance.
POINTE II/III: Ages 13+
Class for students with a minimum of 2 or more years of formal pointe training.
Enrolment in Pointe II/III is by permission of the instructor; two weekly ballet technique classes are required. Assessment of pointe readiness is based upon technical strength, development, alignment, maturity and consistent attendance.
YOUTH & ADULT POINTE: Ages 13+
Offers dancers with previous pointe training the opportunity to maintain and expand strength and technique via barre, centre and across-the-floor work. Dancers at all levels of pointe training are welcome; exercises will be modified to meet the needs of differing skill and experience levels. Dancers will have the opportunity to explore classical choreography appropriate to their level. Dancers not presently approved for pointe, but who are progressing towards pointe are permitted to take this class in soft shoes .
POINTE SHOE FITTING FOR CONSERVATORY DANCERS:
Pointe shoes are more like prosthetics than shoes, and require a highly skilled professional fitter with a large inventory to ensure that shoes are comfortable, safe to work in and customized to the student’s feet and experience level. Gilbert Russell from Brio Dancewear in Ottawa is the only professional fitter we allow Conservatory dancers to use for pointe shoes. There are no local sources for pointe shoes with inventories of multiple brands and style, or with full-time fitters (with decades of training and expertise), both of which are necessary to fit students safely and professionally. Gilbert is one of the best fitters in Canada; he is called on by manufacturers to review and test new shoe designs. He has worked closely with our instructors for many years to ensure that the pointe shoes are optimal for each student. If, for any reason, a shoe turns out to be unworkable, he will replace it free of charge and send new a new pair to Kingston. The Conservatory brings Gilbert to Kingston twice a year (in the fall and in the spring) to do fittings so that families are spared the time and cost of travel, but dancers can book a fitting in Ottawa at any time as well: https://www.briobodywear.com/dance/home.php.
THE CONSERVATORY POINTE SHOE FUND:
As specialty, handmade dance shoes, pointe shoes can be very expensive. With the fitting fee, pointe shoes, pads, ribbons and elastic the total cost can easily add up to between $100-$200. Pointe shoes must be fit precisely with no extra room, and a safe fit is critical: if the foot slides in the shoe because it is too large, or if the toes buckle because the shoe is too small, the dancer will experience pain and serious injuries. Shoes that are either too soft or too hard for the student to control will create poor alignment that can also cause damage and discomfort. Students can grow out of pointe shoes quickly, and typically dancers need 2-3 pair per year. As parents and instructors, we know that families have many priorities, and sometimes the expense of pointe shoes is not feasible. Thanks to the generosity of our community, The Conservatory has a Pointe Shoe Fund to assist dancers with the cost of pointe shoes. We hope to help dancers access the resources they need to dance safely. To learn more or inquire about using the Pointe Shoe Fund, simply contact us at: email@example.com.