It's the rite of passage every young ballerina dreams of: getting her first pair of pointe shoes. But it's important to remember that a lot (and we mean a lot) of hard work and technique-honing leads up to this moment—not to mention getting the green light from your teacher. Dance Spirit turned to Jenna Lavin, former Miami City Ballet dancer and principal of the pre-professional division at Ballet Academy East in NYC, for three exercises meant to strengthen, train, and stabilize the muscles you'll be using once you're on pointe.
"While these exercises will help your muscles and technique, it's more about the years of meticulous training leading up to pointework. These exercises are ideal for dancers just about to go on pointe. I recommend mastering them in ballet slippers prior to executing them in pointe shoes."
Exercise #1: Roll-Ups in Sixth Position
1. Face the barre in sixth position. Make sure your core is engaged, your seat is under you, your knees are truly straight, and your shoulders are down.
Exercise #2: Roll-Ups in First Position
Exercise #3: Landing Practice
A version of this story appeared in the March 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "To the Pointe."