The pointe of Demi Pointe shoes
When we think of Ballet, we imagine delicate & graceful ballerinas on their tippy toes, mysteriously balancing on the tiniest platform…the end of a shoe!
How do they do it?
How is it possible?
Well, believe it or not, dancers don’t just go straight from flat shoes to pointe work. There is a whole middle step.
Welcome to…….Demi pointe.
So, what’s the pointe of demi pointe?
In a nutshell, it would be dangerous & irresponsible if a dancer were to go straight from flat, regular Ballet shoes into Pointe shoes. The risk of injury is astronomical & it’s just not good, ethical dance practice. Demi Pointe is a transition phase that each dancer should go through in their journey to dancing en pointe.
A demi pointe shoe on first glance looks incredibly similar to a regular pointe shoe, but they’re made very differently. The main difference being that the construction of the demi pointe shoe, has very little support, so that students cannot rise fully onto the ‘box’ or platform, which is present in regular pointe shoes.
There is also a good opportunity for students to take on another level of responsibility & knowledge when learning how to care for & darn (sew) their shoes. Parents, you’re finally off the hook for shoe sewing duties!
When do dance students start demi pointe?
This is a hard deadline to pinpoint, as it depends upon multiple factors. The age of the dancer, how long they’ve been training & foot development. It is, of course, totally up to the discretion of the teacher & there is no defining ‘age’ that a student should be at. The feet are incredibly delicate & intricate in their structure.
According to Washington University Orthopedics;
‘The bones of the feet do not fully develop and harden until approximately 13-15 years old’
Criteria to Begin Pointe Work (13 Point Checklist) (wustl.edu)
It is also important that students have a full understanding & awareness of their own feet. This will greatly benefit their journey as a dancer, to be aware of their own body mechanics & technique. This will serve them well whatever their future path may be!
Thankfully, at The Ballet Boutique, we have a well trained team who can fit & advise on what shoes each student needs, no matter what stage in their dance journey they’re at.
Why can’t dancers go straight en pointe?
At Siegeris Dance, the safety & longevity of our dancers is first & foremost. As mentioned earlier in this post, it is simply not optimal for our dancers’ health & safety to go straight en pointe. Although this is an absolute highlight of any budding dancer’s progress & journey, it must be done & approached with skill, technique & care.
Most people do not realise the amount of precise work that goes into actually being able to dance ‘en pointe’. To avoid injury, the feet must be as strong and flexible as possible & this can take years (literally years) of meticulous & methodical strengthening exercises. None of this should be done without the close guidance & observation by a qualified Ballet teacher.
Our teachers at Siegeris Dance are all highly qualified & will be sure to let you know when your dancer is ready to progress to the next level!