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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.
School of American Ballet students (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy SAB)
Do you have a "Strictly Ballet"–sized hole in your heart? Good news: The upcoming docuseries "On Pointe" just might fill it.
The School of American Ballet is teaming up with Imagine Documentaries and DCTV for the project. Though it's not yet clear where "On Pointe" will air, we do know that it'll follow talented SAB students preparing for professional ballet careers—much as Teen Vogue's popular "Strictly Ballet" web series did back in the day. But "On Pointe" marks the first time documentary filmmakers have been allowed access to the school, and it sounds like it'll paint an even more complete picture of the dancers' lives inside and outside the studio.
Choreographer Bob Fosse's signature style—with its jazz hands, inverted knees, and slouched shoulders—is still a huge influence in the dance world (and, thanks to the gloriously dancyFX series "Fosse/Verdon," the TV world). But while you know to expect plenty of Fosse-isms during a stage performance of Chicago or Sweet Charity, Fosse's legacy has also seeped into pop music culture, inspiring the likes of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Here are just six of the many music videos that reference Fosse's iconic works.
Gabrielle Hamilton in John Heginbotham's dream ballet from Oklahoma! Photo by Little Fang Photo, courtesy DKC/O&M
Last night, longtime theater legends (including Chita Rivera herself!) as well as rising stars gathered to celebrate one of Broadway's danciest events: the third annual Chita Rivera Awards.
The evening paid tribute to this season's dancer standouts, extraordinary ensembles, and jaw-dropping choreography—on- and off-Broadway and on film.
As usual, several Dance Spirit faves made it into the mix. (With such a fabulous talent pool of nominees to choose from, we're glad that ties were allowed.) Here are the highlights from the winner's list: