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olver3501

Go en pointe as a male dancer

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Is it possible to go en pointe as a male ballet dancer and do the same stuff that girls do? How long would it take to learn that? 

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Hello Olver3501 and welcome to the Forum!

 

Yes it is possible.  The Trocks are a male dance group where the men dancing traditionally female ballet roles do so en pointe.

 

We've had previous discussions you may like to read:

 

 

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As @Jan McNulty says, it is possible. But why would you want to do it? There is an extraordinary repertoire of male dancers' steps - huge virtuoso jumps, amazing turns - men tend to do a lot more pirouettes from second, for example, and tours en lair - lots of stuff to learn to do well, rather than pointe work done badly. And it can damage your feet - for women & men - if you'e not taught correctly, and in the right kind of shoes. 

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There are a few male roles on pointe, e.g. Bottom in Ashton's Midsummer Night's Dream. Historically men were not expected to have flexible feet with high arches like women, so pointe work would have been hard.

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I know quite a few Russian schools do do this. There is a school near us (Cardiff) that does have a Male pointe class. However, pointe shoes are expensive so consider this. Foot size is also a factor. Most will only go up to around a size 9.

 

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Of course it’s possible. Pointe is just as accessible to male dancers as virtuosity and grand allegro are to female dancers. 
if that is your goal then I completely back you on it. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to.... as long as you have the dedication and determination to succeed xx

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Yes it’s possible. I do a bit, though I’ve been neglecting it lately due firstly to an unrelated injury and then <gestures at the world outside>. 
 

 You need to build the strength and technique to do it safely, which probably means four or five of years of pretty serious ballet classes and it’s hard even then. It’s not just foot strength, you need to understand how to control  the rest of your body.

 

Shoes can be obtained, custom made to your size if necessary.
 

Doing sort of pointe work you see in ballets would take a lot more work. Years more. 
 

It’s not traditional,

some people and some teachers will resist the idea because they’re really attached to the traditional gender roles in ballet and it’s not easy or quick or painless.

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Posted (edited)

If it’s physically achievable (and with proper training) why should the thrill of huge virtuoso jumps or teetering on you tip toes be limited by gender?

Edited by Peach3
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My 15 year old son has been on pointe for about 18 months and loves it. His teacher believes it strengthens foot and also helps in understanding a female dance partner. Grishko 2007 are available in black as are Gaynor Mindens. They go up to GM size 13.5 (UK adult size 10.5, I think). 

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If you're looking for inspiration or wondering why men might want to go en pointe, have a look at these Boston Ballet men killing it dancing La Bayadère! 

 

 

Obviously these men are at their peak in terms of technique and fitness and it would take years to dance at this level, but look at what can be achieved. If a man or boy wants to learn to dance en pointe, whether as a training aid to get stronger ankles, or simply because they think it looks beautiful, go for your life! The more versatile you can be as a dancer of the future, the better :) 

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I recall in an open to all (teens/adults) class a boy who was a Senior Associate with RBS wouid occassijvakky wear white canvas pointe shoes. I recall he said they did it as part of the course to build foot & ankle strength & build a working empathy with the females they traditionally are likely to partner in traditional ballet performances. Empathy for the work/pain etc involved (from prepping shoes to the training required to the rubbing & the blisters!)  & also for how it changes the centre of gravity & body positioning which is really helpful to know for pas de deux.

And in an ever changing world there surely is no longer a need to attach gender to a shoe or choice....& likewise I do wish we females could be taught some of the ‘make’ steps & rep for often...I bet there are many male dancers who can achieve 32 fouetteees en pointe & I’ve always had a secret passion to try a tour en l’air!! 

 

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17 hours ago, Peanut68 said:

I recall in an open to all (teens/adults) class a boy who was a Senior Associate with RBS wouid occassijvakky wear white canvas pointe shoes. I recall he said they did it as part of the course to build foot & ankle strength & build a working empathy with the females they traditionally are likely to partner in traditional ballet performances. Empathy for the work/pain etc involved (from prepping shoes to the training required to the rubbing & the blisters!)  & also for how it changes the centre of gravity & body positioning which is really helpful to know for pas de deux.

And in an ever changing world there surely is no longer a need to attach gender to a shoe or choice....& likewise I do wish we females could be taught some of the ‘make’ steps & rep for often...I bet there are many male dancers who can achieve 32 fouetteees en pointe & I’ve always had a secret passion to try a tour en l’air!! 

 


it's only the internalised prejudice of  certain teachers that  stops it in a class setting ...  lack of rep  obviously impacts performance. 

Unfortunately  these prejudices  ( and others related to  gender to sexuality )  have  rubbed on on eprformers both professional and amateur ... 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Peanut68 said:

& likewise I do wish we females could be taught some of the ‘make’ steps & rep for often...I bet there are many male dancers who can achieve 32 fouetteees en pointe & I’ve always had a secret passion to try a tour en l’air!! 

 

That strikes a chord with me!  My DD has had  lessons with a  couple of male ballet teachers over the years.  I appreciate how they both encouraged her to utilise her natural athleticism and  to push herself further with jumps and turns.  Of course female teachers can do this and do. I just felt (anecdotally) that her male teachers might have been reflecting the kind of teaching that they themselves had experienced and the expectations put on them in their successful dancing careers.  

Edited by DD Driver
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I had a female ballet teacher who loved allegro - she was tiny, but could jump! She taught us all the male jumps. But we could never jump as high as our male peers, even (drat it!) those with less ballet training than us.

 

This is because there are fundamental physiological differences between male and female bodies starting from puberty when the male body’s much higher production of testosterone enables the bone, muscle, and lung/ heart development which form the stronger musculature and bigger capacity of heart and lungs in male bodies. 
 

this doesn’t mean that female bodies at elite levels don’t have high capacities, strength etc. But there are fundamental physiological differences which enable some of the spectacular differences in the romantic & classical ballet repertoire. 
 

More contemporary work - especially post-WWII - makes use of the extraordinary capacities of both male and female bodies in elite dance.  

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I wondered how long it would be before the dog-whistles started and the almost  inevitable  descent into  the  thread being locked  would be 

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I don't understand it either.

 

My daughter had one teacher (a female oddly enough) who used to make the boys and girls do each others exercises.  My daughter much preferred the male exercises.  She even asked if it would be possible for her to do the male rep in an RAD exam (it was but other circumstances meant she never took the exam).

 

But yes, in professional performance the physiological differences do indeed mean that female dancers will never gain the same height in jumps etc as male dancers.  But having as many skills as possible can only make a more versatile dancer able to execute the wishes of the choreographer.

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55 minutes ago, Jewel said:

But having as many skills as possible can only make a more versatile dancer able to execute the wishes of the choreographer.

 

Indeed  - as we see in the work of many contemporary choreographers, where they use both male & female athleticism, grace, and flexibility.

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And in so much choreography now where lines of distinction are gloriously blurred with partnering work being across gender. Again gender often indistinguishable - especially in an ensemble piece - where it is often impossible (& not necessary) to differentiate between the Male & Female forms amongst the dancers. 
And afterall, isn’t Ballet the true trailblazer of this in the Arts? The Corps de Ballet is just that; a body of dance made up of many individual bodies to create one form!! 

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