At Grace Christian Dance Company, we are committed to our dancers’ safety. Recognizing that dancing en pointe can put significant stress on a young body, we adhere to a training process that may take several years before the dancer is strong enough to wear her first pair of pointe shoes. Below is a rough timeline for how we safely and effectively prepare Company dancers to dance en pointe. We are committed to progressing dancers through each level only if their body is strong enough to avoid injury, they are dedicated to quality at-home practice, and they attend year-round classes faithfully. We do not rush this process.
For the safety of the dancer, those pursuing pointe must have a healthy BMI and a strong physical body type with no repeated sprains, strains, fractures, or other injuries.
Please read each level’s description carefully. If your dancer is not ready to make the commitment to the full process, we still strongly recommend all dancers attend Foot Strengthening Class as an addition to their regular classes. This will strengthen and improve their feet and legs, which is crucial to all dancing.
THE FINE PRINT:
CLASS REQUIREMENTS: In order to pursue Pointe, dancers must be enrolled in Company and an additional Ballet class, with near 100% attendance. Dancers that drop one or both of these classes become ineligible to continue Pointe.
HOMEWORK REQUIREMENTS: Pre-Pointe and Pointe dancers are required to complete at least 5 hours of strengthening homework per week. These 5 hours include time spent in Foot Strengthening, Pointe 1, and Pointe 2 classes.
If homework requirements are not met, the dancer will return to the previous step (ex. if they were in Pointe 2, they would return to Pointe 1), for 3-6 months before they may return to their class. If this lapse in homework happens while preparing for a performance, the dancer may lose their eligibility to perform.
To join Foot Strengthening, the dancer must be at least 9 years of age.
This class will strengthen the dancer’s feet and legs for beautiful pointing and relevé. This is a great add-on class for all dancers.
For those with the goal of dancing en pointe, this class is the first step in that process. Foot Strengthening will help create a strong, safe base for the stresses that will be put on those areas of the body. Dancers will participate in this year-round class for at least 1-3 years before moving on to step 2 in this process.
To join Pre-Pointe, the dancer must:
Pre-Pointe class will increase the level of strengthening, and practice meeting the homework requirement, needed for future pointe work. This class meets during Foot Strengthening and requires 5 hours of independent documented work, including time spent in Foot Strengthening class.
Dancers will participate in this year-round class for at least 6 months before moving on to level 3 in this process. Progress is based on the dancer’s continued physical development and strength, as well as consistency in homework.
To join Pointe 1, the dancer must:
Pointe 1 Class will start the dancer on specially designed pointe shoes. This will require scheduling a pointe shoe fitting at Tutu in Bridgeville with a fitting specialist and purchasing the required items, which can cost $80-$150 yearly.
This class will take place on a supportive barre and consist of drills and simple combinations to prepare the dancer for further pointe repertoire. While there is no minimum time requirement before moving to Pointe 2, dancers should be prepared to participate in this year-round class for at least 1 to 2 years before moving on.
To join Pointe 2, the dancer must:
Pointe 2 class will move the pointe dancer off of the supportive barre and into the centre for more strenuous pointe work and choreography.
In this class, pointe dancers have the opportunity to perform in a Christmas Show and possibly the Spring Show, if the production allows.
To remain in Pointe 2, the dancer must continue to: