Students are ready to work en pointe only after they are able to demonstrate a sufficient understanding, and execution of correct ballet technique and placement. Students must also demonstrate they have sufficient strength in their legs, feet and ankles to dance en pointe safely. In lower level classes simple rises and releves on two feet are performed slowly, facing the barre. Later, as stability and strength improve, similar exercises, as well as bourrees, can be performed in the centre.
Gradually, as students reach the intermediate level, their feet can tolerate longer and longer periods of pointe work and they can begin the study of all movements en pointe, including the more difficult ones such as releves on one leg and pirouettes.At the advanced level, pointe class is an intensive session in which excerpts from female variations from the classical repertoire are studied and virtuosity en pointe is mastered.
Dutchess School of Performing Arts offers a Pre-Pointe class designed specifically to strengthen young dancers’ feet, legs and ankles. Students will be in soft shoes or barefoot and will focus on various exercises to improve stability, proper placement and technical strength on demi-pointe. This class is a preparation for beginning pointe. This class is also offered for those students taking Irish Step classes. The exercises for strengthening and placement will help these dancers prepare for working in Irish hard shoes.
Beginning Pointe is for those dancers who have several years of training in classical ballet technique and have demonstrated the strength and technical ability to begin to work in pointe shoes. These students take two or more technique classes each week in addition to their pointe class.
Intermediate and Advanced Pointe Classes are for the dancer who is seriously committed to the study of classical ballet. These students can tolerate longer and longer periods of pointe work and they can begin the study of all movements en pointe.