Dear Katie: How Do I Know When I'm Ready to Go on Pointe?
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com for a chance to be featured!
How do you know when you're ready to go on pointe? I know, I know, my teacher is supposed to tell me—but are there any signs I should be on the lookout for?
There are a lot of factors that determine whether or not you're ready for pointe—and, yes, you absolutely need your teacher's permission! But there are some ways to assess your readiness.
First, evaluate your ankle strength. Are you able to balance on relevé for an extended period of time? On demi-pointe, do your feet roll out toward your little toe (not so good), or is your weight distributed evenly across your metatarsals (great!)? Do you pronate your feet when standing in fifth position (that's a no-no), or are your ankles nice and lifted (perfect!)? You can also find clues during adagio and petit allégro. Are your développés secure in the center, or are you unstable and rocking back and forth on your supporting leg? Are you fully stretching your feet on all jumps, or are you barely getting off the floor?
If your technique isn't quite pointe-ready, add Thera-Band exercises, as well as balance and stability training, to your daily routine. They'll help speed up the process—and, once you're ready for that coveted first pair of pointe shoes, make the transition much easier.
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