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I'm 14 years old and have been dancing since I was 5. In the last few years I've focused on ballet. I've been encouraged lately to move onto pointe because it's the next step and will give me more options in the future. I enjoy watching pointe I just don't know if it's something I should do. I realize the difficulty and the time it will take to learn this. If I decide to do it I will be fully committed. I realize that it will be mostly girls which I'm used to. I wish more boys would be interested in ballet as it is. I have heard that dancing en pointe is easier for girls so I don't know if that's body type or what. I'm 5'4 and 118 pounds so I might be able to do it now but I could grow more. Is that an issue? Is this something I should just try and see how it goes. I would imagine it would just start with pointe work on the barre so maybe I could start with that. I could use any advice. Beginner pointe shoes? I have been told that I have ideal feet for pointe. No high arches, etc. I would imagine I would still get custom shoes. I really want to make the right decision with all this. Thanks.

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I’m just musing here, please don’t think I really know what I’m talking about on this topic!

 

In the UK a male dancer on pointe is very rare indeed. I believe Australian Ballet have a bit of male pointe work in their rep, but other than that I can’t think of any big companies who have men on pointe. So I’m not sure if it really would give you many more options in the future. Would it really be worth all of the time and effort you’d have to invest in mastering it? Could that time and effort be better spent improving your technique in the core male ballet skills? Has the person who is encouraging you to go on pointe given you any more specific reasons why this might benefit you or your career prospects? 

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Hello Nickalbers and welcome to the Forum. Can I take it you are not located in the UK? I feel this would be a very unusual aspect of male ballet training,and to be honest, I cannot see the purpose of it at all. When I was at ballet school in London the Prinicipal of the school arranged for one of the boys to do basic pointe work at the barre with us girls. But the boy was seventeen and had never done any ballet in his life before,and was accepted to the school, as were most of the other boys, because they were street/break dance dancers from Inner City London,and our Principal was passionate about extending the opportunity to dance beyond mainstream ballet trained students only. I do believe the only reason he was doing pointe work though was to try and improve his arches and insteps, not to actually learn pointe work technique as such.

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I know our teacher puts at least some of the senior boys she teaches on pointe. Partly to give them a better understanding of how it works for partnering and partly because it's the sort of thing that might turn up in contemporary dance. In real life most students aren't going to be in classical ballet companies. (Also, given the mutterings I've read about blurring between male and female technique you can see the possibilities.)

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I know our teacher puts at least some of the senior boys she teaches on pointe. Partly to give them a better understanding of how it works for partnering and partly because it's the sort of thing that might turn up in contemporary dance. In real life most students aren't going to be in classical ballet companies. (Also, given the mutterings I've read about blurring between male and female technique you can see the possibilities.)

That's really interesting to hear,Colman. I had no idea pointe work might be used by males in  contemporary dance.

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I don't know how seriously they're taught it - it's another school she reaches in. At least some of the vocational track boys that are now in vocational dance schools in the UK.

 

We have a running joke about me going doing pointe work once NASA's advanced materials division start building shoes capable of holding me.

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Could it not be the case that there are limited roles for boys en pointe because there aren't enough boys doing it? If more boys did pointe work choreographers may include it more?

 

Lots of girls doing pointe work have no intention of dancing professionally but still choose to learn. If it's something you want to try, go for it!

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I wasn't expecting replies so fast thank you. Coleman was right about it's supposed to give me a better understanding of the girls and help with partnering. It can also be in contemporary dance. I am not in the uk. I'm in the United States. I got the ok from my dance school for getting pointe shoes. There is a prep pointe class that they would like me to start. I have been told that I have great fundamentals of ballet and that I would excel at pointe. Also they say because of my core strength and strength in my feet and ankles it would be ideal for me. I'm able to hold proper turnouts and also my understanding of the prep class would be mostly just pointe ex excuses on the barre. Not really on center yet. My weight fluctuates between 107 and 118 which I worry about too. I also worry about not having strength for partnering since most of my strength is in my feet and legs. I am interested in pursuing this but just have my worries. My mom told me to do some research to make sure because of the hard work involved.

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Give it a try. Worst case, you learn something interesting over a couple of months and then decide it's not for you.

 

As to the rest, relax, let your body sort itself out and worry about it then.

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Nickalbers, professional male dancers have to build up upper body strength in order to be able to lift their partners. I can't advise you about how precisely they do this but I'm pretty sure that it involves doing specific strengthening exercises, going to the gym and following the correct diet. Note that I am NOT advising you to go to the gym or undertake any sort of exercise regime without seeking the advice of your mother and your teacher. As you are only 14 you are likely to have more growing to do and after you have had a growth spurt you may well find that you lose some strength temporarily.

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This is turning into a really interesting thread - thank you Nickalbers! 

 

I know our teacher puts at least some of the senior boys she teaches on pointe. Partly to give them a better understanding of how it works for partnering and partly because it's the sort of thing that might turn up in contemporary dance. In real life most students aren't going to be in classical ballet companies. (Also, given the mutterings I've read about blurring between male and female technique you can see the possibilities.)

 

 

Could it not be the case that there are limited roles for boys en pointe because there aren't enough boys doing it? If more boys did pointe work choreographers may include it more?

Lots of girls doing pointe work have no intention of dancing professionally but still choose to learn. If it's something you want to try, go for it!

 

The idea that if more men trained on pointe it might inspire choreographers to do something innovative interests me. I always like to see something a bit different!

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Given your age, I really would not worry yet about not having the strength for partnering.  It does take time and patience as everyone develops at different rates and I am sure you will get guidance on this, but in the meantime, as you say, learning pointe will give you better understanding for partner work later on and will help you no doubt with your own dance skill set.

 

Incidentally, I think that in the UK there may well be a company out there that like their male dancers to be able to dance on pointe.  DDs friend, a male graduate, took some pointe classes in preparation for taking company/audition class with a company in the UK.  I don't know who it was for though

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A boy I trained with did a bit of pointe work - he was training full time so was a bit older than you but I think it was to get an idea of what the girls were doing, what it felt like & maybe just for the general challenge/strengthening. He was very strong & accomplished dancer but think he found pointe quite hard. I guess it's harder to find shoes to for guys too.

 

Les Ballet Trocadero (The Trocks) is a male ballet company who dance en pointe as females (drag ballet?!) it's a comedy thing but they are all properly accomplished dancers & can do all the pointe properly.

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Are girls able to dance in pointe easier because they are smaller? Or is it just that it's geared towards good. I think everyone is right that if more boys danced on pointe there might be more roles. I would definitely be interested. My sister wants to start pointe also but was told she wasn't ready yet. Does anyone know if in the prep class I will be on pointe right away or is there work leading up to that. I don't know why I'm nervous about it as far as falling getting hurt etc The shoes have been hard to find for boys. I may have to find a girls shoe that would work for me because of my size. I don't know what problems that would cause either as far as fit goes. You guys are great.

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My son joined in pointe classes whilst at our local school. At the same time he went up to Central and the head of male ballet there was dead against it. I honestly cannot remember him doing any when he went to Elmhurst to train. We bought him pointe shoes and dyed them black. Of course can be tough to get shoes..we got ours at Bloch in London.

 

He still has those and uses them when he makes some of the videos he does. (Just something he does for fun not to do with the Company he is with.)

 

Of course there is one company where Male and pointe are joined..The Trogs (Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo) . 

 

My son enjoyed/enjoys it as a bit of fun rather than a serious element of his ballet life.

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My ds is 16 and does pointe classes with the senior girls at his dance school. His teacher thinks it is good for boys to know what the girls have to go through!! She thinks it is also good for strength. We buy pink ones and he colours them black with sharpie marker pens. He is the only boy that does it at the moment and he enjoys it, I think he just likes to get the extra lessons as they do seperate pointe classes

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Birmingham Royal Ballet had male dancers en pointe in Beatrix Potter.

 

As to whether it's easier for girls, it is easier for people who are smaller and lighter which girls usually are. Even then, many girls get through shoes very quickly, especially at professional level. I imagine that men would destroy shoes even faster.

 

I think the main reason that men don't usually dance en pointe is that in the classical repertoire, the male roles are all about virtuosity and supporting the women in pas de deux and their training is geared towards that.

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Just with the thought of girls being smaller and lighter, my Dd is not small at all, 5ft 9 and 9st with size 7.5 feet. She's also still on her first pair of pointe shoes after over 2 years (only 1 pointe class a week)! Not sure how she's managed it but my bank account is glad ☺

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So being 5'4 should actually help me out with this then. How long will I wear the shoes at first? Is it for short amounts of time? I've been working on strengthening my feet and ankles more and taking an extra ballet class per week to prepare. Mostly barre work just to try to velvet stronger. I would imagine eventually I would be expected to stay in the shoes for longer periods of time. Will it just be basic pointe work at the barre at first or will they jump right into pirouette s and other everything else. Will I learn to hop on pointe in the prep class?

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