I’m 12, and I am ready to go on pointe. Do you have any advice for me?
Congratulations on wanting to further your ballet training! Dancing on pointe is super exciting — but first, let’s back up a sec.
The very first thing you need to know before making the transition to pointe shoes is that the decision isn’t entirely up to you. You should never go out and get pointe shoes or start dancing on pointe without your teacher’s blessing and approval. She’s the one who has trained you and worked with you tirelessly in ballet class, so she knows your body best. There are loads of things to consider before you start dancing on pointe — your technique, your strength, your body’s current stage of development — and making the transition too soon can be harmful to your body and your dancing.
Your teacher will want to make sure your body is strong enough to hold yourself while dancing on your toes. You need super core strength, since you’ll be dancing “pulled up” all the time. She’ll also want to make sure your technique is sufficient. That doesn’t necessarily mean you can bust out 32 fouettes at a time, but it does mean that you have your basics covered, and that you understand body positioning.
When you do get the go-ahead from your teacher, she may want to accompany you to your local dance retailer so she can help guide you as to which shoes are best. (Though a store offering pointe shoe fittings should also have an in-house expert to help you out.) When it comes to choosing the right shoes, it’s tempting to want to pick the pinkest ones or the shiniest ones (though TBH, they’re all pretty shiny, at least at first!), but it’s most important to pick the shoes that best fit your feet.
Finally, when you do start dancing on pointe — under the close supervision of your ballet instructor, not on the tile floors at home! — remember to go slowly and not get frustrated when things get difficult. It’s a huge step, and some things may come naturally while others feel awkward and impossible. Stick with it, keep practicing, and enjoy — you’re one step closer to becoming a prima ballerina!