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3.25. I'm an adult beginner. Am I too old for pointe?




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This article is from the Ballet and Modern Dance FAQ, by Tom Parsons twp@panix.com with numerous contributions by others.

3.25. I'm an adult beginner. Am I too old for pointe?

It isn't out of the question. But you have to be just as careful in
preparing for pointe as young children have to. Leigh Witchel summarizes:

I've seen adult beginners progress to pointe work--it takes time, and
their lines are usually not as refined as someone who has been working
since childhood, but if this your dream there is no reason not to try
it as long as you approach it sensibly and realistically. Briefly:

1) Make sure to find the best training possible, and in order to
progress to pointe, you will need to take classes frequently. Once or
twice a week won't do it.

2) Your technique and placement off pointe is what leads to the same
things on pointe.

3) Pointe work takes ankle strength, development and flexibility.
Tendus and releves, and resistance work with a theraband can help.

4) Discuss all of this with your teacher. S/he can tell you most
honestly what sort of effort and preparation this might entail.

Trog Woolley says:

Take it slow and steady; we oldies don't bounce as well as the
youngsters and if you fall over it will probably hurt a lot and could
be very serious. When you start, relax, enjoy the challenge and the
sensation in your body and let it happen. It will. You need to
increase the strength in your ankles. There are three really good ways
I know to do this. Getting on pointe is one way. Another is to take
up tightwire walking (no really! I've been doing it for years and when
I started on pointe, my teacher was very surprised how I didn't hobble
off the floor at the end of my first session). A more practical way is
to get a wobble board. I don't mean one off those musical instruments
me old mate Rolf Harris plays. It's a circle of wood with a hemisphere
glued in the centre. You stand on it and keep the rim off the floor.

The easiest way to strengthen the ankles is to stand on a step. Just
have your toes on the step and the rest of you foot out over the edge.
Lower yourself as much over the edge as possible. You get a great
stretch in the back of the legs. Now stand up on tip toes as high
as you can. Repeat ad infinitum, lowering yourself slowly. Use the
handrail to aid balance. When this becomes too easy, do them on one
leg.


 

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