We are frequently asked “when can I start pointe?” Starting pointe is a right of passage in every dancer's career, but pointe work is not right for everyone, and is not always right at the same time. If started too early, or without the proper preparation, it can cause life-long injuries. Starting pointe work is an extremely exciting period for any dancer. Each dancer's pointe journey is personal and unique and should not be approached with a one-size-fits-all model.
To start pointe at ACBA:
You must be at least 10 years old to begin.
ACBA will not consider any dancer for pointe work under the age of 10, no exceptions, and just because you are 10 does not mean you will automatically get pointe shoes. It is very rare for a 10 year old to be allowed en pointe. Most dancers start at about 12.
A dancer must be strong enough to protect their bones before they are fully developed.
Beginning pointe too early can permanently damage immature bones.
You must be a Program dancer.
Pointe is only offered at ACBA for dancers in Program, but just because you are in Program does not mean you will get pointe shoes.
The reason dancers at ACBA wait until joining Program level classes for pointe is because dancers must dance multiple days a week and have a strong classical foundation to prepare.
Dancers must have strong classical ballet technique, especially:
Pointing of feet
Balancing on relève
The student must be in good health and able to take an entire class.
If the student frequently needs to rest because of illness or injury, she is not strong enough for the extra demands that pointe work requires.
Dancers must prove through hard work, consistency, and dedication that they deserve pointe shoes. When dancers are being considered for pointe, their attendance is taken into account. Dancers with frequent absences are not invited to begin pointe.
Even if you are not ready for pointe shoes, participating in pointe class with flat shoes will help any dancer to develop further strength and technique. Pointe exercises are FABULOUS for building strength and core stability, even if you never intend on wearing pointe shoes.
As a teacher, it’s a very difficult decision to make a student wait to start en pointe. Especially because such a choice can have a mental impact on their confidence and motivation within the class setting. We make students wait to ensure they don’t hurt themselves. You only get one set of feet and you don’t want to damage them.