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Am I being unreasonable?


Iloveballet2804
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I have been dying to go en pointe since I started ballet when I was four (im now thirteen.) In my opinion my feet have been strong enough for at least a year now but the school that will be putting me up are really reluctant to put anyone up until they have been ready for a long time. My grade 4 exam which I took in June I was supposed to be taking a long while before that but due to a mistake from the school this was put back. I will be grade five in sept and am supposed to be being tested for pointe before oct half term. Here is my problem: I'm in a musical theatre production from Just after the oct half term until January and the rehearsals happen to fall on the only class I do at this school per week. I will still be doing more ballet than anyone else in the class as I attend other classes in the week but my teacher seems very reluctant to put me up until Easter. I'm quite annoyed as everyone at my other classes will be en point and there is an additional class afterwards which I won't be able to attend now. I've asked for privates from one of the teachers who may be able to do them and she's is going to let me know. Am I being unreasonable and should I just have waited until Easter? It just seems like everything's been put on hold and I know that I'm stronger than a lot of people I know that have been put up! Thank you! X

Edited by Iloveballet2804
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I'm not sure anyone on here can really advise you on this because we haven't seen you dancing and I don't know how many people are qualified dance teachers. Most of us just enjoy watching dance. It's a shame your exam was put back through no fault of your own. If you can get private classes then that teacher should be able to advise you better than anyone on an internet forum really, even if you can't your other teachers will still know whether or not you're ready to go en pointe better than anyone here. What do the teachers at your other classes say? 

 

  Good luck with your musical!

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Normally pointe work is commenced in grade 6 as far as I know for BBO anyway and probably similar for RAD.

One of problems is that your feet are still growing at 13 so it is VERY important that you are ready or you will damage your feet irreparably and no teacher wants to be responsible for this so you will have to trust their judgement as...as last person just said...they have seen you dance and we haven't. It's not long to wait now anyway if you have to! :)

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I can understand your frustration as I remember both my DDs being eager to start pointe.  If before October half term your teacher decides you are ready for pointe and the privates go ahead that would obviously be good for you, but if not a 6 month delay is not a big deal in the scheme of things, even if it may seem so to you at the moment.  I know DDs teacher in your circumstances would have had her wait til Easter too, if only to spare the expense of buying pointe shoes and outgrowing them before they had any use.  Only your teachers really know when you are ready to start but please be reassured that starting pointe a little later than your friends does not necessarily mean you will be forever playing catchup.  In DD's foundation class girls were assessed and went on pointe 2 or 3 at a time and one of the girls who went on pointe last was in the end the 3rd girl to take the exam - 6 months earlier than one of the others who went on pointe before her.

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There are also some potentially useful contributions on this thread: http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/4625-extra-classes-for-pointe/#entry56193

 

It's amazing how much things have changed.  When I was young, one of my best friends got her first pointe shoes at the age of 9!  Can't imagine what it must have done to her feet.

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I understand the desire of people to do pointe but there really is no rush :) the damage from going to early is something that can't be undone, 13 is still young and although many think that they are ready the only person who can determine this is someone with training, its quite complex and i've seen far to many girls en pointe who really should not be on, grade 5 is (I assume this is RAD) doesn't require it and its normally the vocational grades that require it, too many rush to get up then wobble, go over, don't have the core strength to do it safely and too many teachers (in my humble view) put up too early for a whole variety of reasons.

 

I know its frustrating but I would say delay and follow the teachers guidelines, particularly if you can't attend all the classes till after the production.  Or, as you attend other ballet classes, ask a different teacher if they would be prepared to take you. But don't rush to go up before its 'sanctioned'

 

:) T

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Yes I can Alison as unfortunately I went on pointe at ten....too early for my talents at the time and it caused me to have a really bad bunion which is very ugly and ends up deforming all my shoes!!

Now it didn't stop me later continuing with pointe work as the damage was done however it does now restrict what shoes I can wear.

 

So this has made me feel strongly to err on the side of caution when it comes to putting children on pointe.

Being at grade 5 level does seem a little early but if you are really strong and ready when you do start you will progress faster than someone struggling because not really ready.......although thank goodness we don't see too much of this these days.

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I do believe I'm ready for it and I think it's more being promised October half term and then it being pushed back that I find upsetting. Thirteen year old ballet dancer syndrome I think! Thanks for your replies and the llink alison. I'm hoping this teacher (who's taught me since I was four and knows I'm ready I think) will be able to do privates and if not I better just hang in there argh! X

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It also depends upon the mobility of your feet. Those who have limited range on pointe or at the other end of the spectrum and have highly mobile feet may take longer. Perhaps you could ask teacher's rationale and what you can do in the interim to prepare yourself for pointe. There is so much that can be and should be done in terms of strengthening prior to starting pointe. This will give you a better start regardless of when you start.

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I start teaching my students pointe in RAD IF level and even then it is verrrry slow - just a few exercises on pointe at the barre for a few minutes at the end of class.  We add on more exercises throughout the year, but it is a very gradual process.  All of the studentsat our school take twice a week 90 minute ballet classes from Grade 5 upwards and before that 75 minute classes at Grade 3 and 4 level.  The work that is required in Grade 4 is not nearly enough to strengthen your legs, feet and back sufficiently for pointe - unless the teacher adds on exercises for that purpose.  We, for example, finish with exam work in April and from then on I give non-syllabus classes which prepare them for the following year and/or for pointe.  I can understand why your teacher doesn't want to put you up, if you're not going to be able to attend class regularly.  You note that you take other ballet classes - I assume at a different school?  Will they not put you on pointe there?  You say that the girls in these classes will all be on pointe - can't you learn with them?  How many hours a week do you take elsewhere and at what level?  It's difficult to advise you when we don't have the full picture.

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I do 4 dance classes a week 3 which are ballet Some at grade four some more grade 5 level I think plus a prepointe class plus a workout most nights and 100 crunches and 100 sit ups EVERY night so I'm doing loads it's just the show schedule is going to mean I can't actually get to my RAD class this term to be put up - but the show will be a great opportunity so I will focus on enjoying that if I have to wait! Thanks for the advice everyone :)

Edited by Iloveballet2804
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The general acceptance here is for 13+ or when feet stop growing - which is very sensible. Yet the reality  is different at some levels. At vocational school  nearly all of the Y7 girls were already on pointe (at age 11+) and all the rest were expected to get their pointe shoes and start right away with no real individual assessment as to whether were ready. Same at EYB when there were 10/11 year olds on pointe and no questions raised. 

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This IS disappointing to hear as I thought that nowadays there was generally more wisdom around regarding readiness for pointe work. I went up at 10/11 and I think it was the wrong decision for me with what I understand now.

 

It seems particularly disappointing if you say vocational schools are doing this without proper assessment. Even the local BBO ballet school here assesses children/adults for readiness and has a proper person responsible for fitting new shoes etc.

 

I thought they had the best people teaching at vocational schools but maybe not!

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I should hope the rigorous selection process for the year 7 intake into the classical ballet schools would give the teachers some idea of not only readiness, but also that these girls have the physical attributes for going en pointe.

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My DD said only 4 of the girls in her Y7 class at her voc school had never been on pointe before they started. Within a week of starting in September, the rest were told to get pointe shoes. It was a fairly gentle introduction but they were certainly doing pointe work at the barre that term. Also at the RBS summer school that summer (ie after end of Y6) a number of the mainly foreign girls in her class were on pointe and had little sessions in some classes - quite accepted. 

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Ive just had really brilliant news! My current dance teacher has managed to fit me in on a Thursday straight after my ballet class in Leeds which is an hour away and says I can have private pointe lessons with her then! I'm going to be shattered but im so excited and grateful to my teacher! Thanks for all your advice guys! X

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