The progression onto Pointe is an exciting milestone in a ballet dancer’s life. Although it seems like a natural advancement, the timing of when this happen is crucial. Too early and you risk damaging growth plates at the ends of your bones, too late and the dancer might not be able to catch up with the rest of the class. There is no hard and fast rule as to when a dancer is ready to progress on to pointe shoes and start dancing en pointe. To minimise any injuries during the transition, most dance teachers are encouraging specialised Pre-Pointe Assessments done by accredited physiotherapists.
As physiotherapists, our main objective is to allow dancers to progress onto pointe once they are able to demonstrate the technical, mental and physical maturity in the areas listed below:
– Postural awareness
– Pelvic and lower limb stability and alignment
– Foot and ankle biomechanics and type
– Mobility, strength and control of the foot
– Turnout range and control
– Core strength
– Body composition
Our physiotherapists at Physio Friend are well trained in the anatomy and physiology of the human body. This, together with knowledge on the demands of a dancer’s body, allows our physiotherapists to properly conduct an assessment that would allow any aspiring dancer to progress onto pointe safely. Although this is not a foolproof method in preventing injuries entirely, it does dramatically reduce the chances of dance related injuries; therefore increasing the enjoyment during dance and potentially even prolonging the career span of dancers.
The Pre-Pointe Assessment can be broken down into 4 parts.
During Part 1 of the assessment, a full medical and dance history of the dancer will be recorded. This will allow our physiotherapists to highlight any past or current injuries that may prevent a dancer from advancing up onto pointe.
Part 2 of the assessment involves the dancer performing a series of functional movements and classical ballet steps under command. Dancers will be scored based on their ability to execute, and the quality of each step.
Part 3 of the assessment require that the dancer completes a collection of specific coordination type, and core stability exercises.
The final part of the assessment is a physical examination, whereby the ranges of the major joints essential for progress onto pointe will be measured.
The entire pre-pointe assessment will take roughly 1 hour.
Due to the varying abilities and physical characteristics of individual dancers, the number of sessions would be heavily dependent on the outcome of the Pre-Pointe Assessment. Again, please keep in mind that our main goal is to facilitate the transition onto pointe in such a way that would minimise the occurrence of injuries. Should there be any weakness or tightness in muscles or joints, rehabilitation may be required before progressing onto pointe.
Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 7221 2970 should you be interested in learning more, or to book an appointment for a pre-pointe assessment.