Are They Ready For Pointe??

   So it seems every year the same question comes up at dance studios around the country, “When can my daughter start taking pointe classes??” It really is every little dancers dream, to be that beautiful ballerina that we see pictures of twirling around onstage in her beautiful pointe shoes!! Sadly for all those little girls and anxious dance moms it is just not all that easy!! First of all ballet is just not as easy as it looks! It requires many hours of classes over the course of several years just to learn the very basic technique and build the strength required to perform the difficult steps, and make them look graceful!! Most good dance studios require you to have at least several years of basic ballet classes before they can even consider pointe work.  Most importantly however, age plays a huge part in the decision! A dancer should never start doing pointe classes until the bones in the feet are properly developed, or have ossified sufficiently, and the growth plates have become more stable.This does not usually happen until the age of 12.  Many ballet schools require a visit from a doctor to determine if in fact the dancer is ready!!  Not only must the bones be properly formed,  but there must be enough strength built up in the feet, legs, pelvis and the abdominal muscles to support the strain on the feet.  If these rules are not followed it can result in serious injuries and foot deformities, bunions, hammer toes, stress injuries and even fractures or displacement of growth plates . Many of these can become permanent deformities that will cause problems for the dancer throughout her life! So think twice before jumping into pointe shoes!! Dancing on pointe is  well worth the wait, and  when it is done correctly, an incredible accomplishment! Keep those girls working hard in ballet class and they will one day be that beautiful ballerina that they dreamed of becoming!!!!

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