==== ====For helpful tips on pointe work, please take a look at this:http://tinyurl.com/prepointe==== ====It is one of the most often asked questions in ballet, yet one to which there has not really been onedefinitive answer; "How do I know when I (or one of my students) am ready for pointe work?"Young girls dream of their first pair of pointe shoes for years before they will be allowed to get intothem, and, until now, it has basically been up to the teacher to decide when each student makesthe transition.This has lead to many girls being allowed up too early, to "keep up with their class", often resultingin chronic foot injuries that may plague even the most competent dancer throughout their career,or even permanent damage. Due to the variability in growth rates of girls in the 11 - 14 year agegroup (when moist girls start en pointe) and the lack of complete closure of many of the growthplates in the feet until at least 16 - 18 years of age, strength of the feet and ankles is a huge factorin preventing injury when progressing to toe shoes.In Australia, many dance teachers have realised the importance of getting each girl individuallyassessed prior to going onto pointe. The best dancer within a class may not necessarily have thestrongest feet, and many weakness can be hidden inside regular ballet slippers. They advise eachgirl to undertake an assessment with a Special Dance Physical Therapist, who will performscreening tests that take much of the responsibility off the dance teacher in deciding who is able togo onto pointe and when. Following an initial assessment, special strengthening and mobilityexercises are taught to strengthen any weaknesses in the dancers feet, ankles, hips and coremuscles, to help the girls cope with the demands of pointe work.A Dance Physical Therapist will see hundreds of girls each year for such assessments. Theteachers find the resulting written reports on each girl extremely helpful for tailoring corrections inclass, and all note the dramatic improvement in the girls overall approach to dance, bothtechnically, and energetically, once they have their assessment, and have specific goals to worktowards.As there is a limited number of dancers a therapist can see day to day, and due to the enormousglobal interest in Ballet, a program was developed that made this process available to the world. Itis based around 4 stages, each with clearly described tests to assess each girls current strengthand mobility, explanations of what any weaknesses may mean, and programs of specific exercisesto help improve all the highlighted areas. Once a girl can correctly perform all of the tests in eachstage (each has a check-list to ensure that they are performed correctly) she should be strongenough to commence pointe work under the guidance of a qualified teacher. All of the tests andexercises are clearly demonstrated with clear photographs of both the correct and incorrectpositions."The Perfect Pointe Book" is the essential companion to any dancer, either aspiring to progressto toe shoes, or already en pointe, and is an excellent resource for teachers of pointe work.
Lisa Howell (B.Phty) is a Physical Therapist (Physiotherapist) based in Sydney, Australia, whospecialises in the assessment and treatment of dancers of all ages, from young students toprofessional level, and teachers. She is dedicated to the education of dancers to help preventinjury, and to develop optimal performance at every level. She produces a FREE weekly dancersnewsletter with tips on all aspects of dance to help spread her knowledge to the world. To find outmore about Â“The Perfect Pointe BookÂ” or to receive the newsletter, click here PointeArticle Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_Howell==== ====For helpful tips on pointe work, please take a look at this:http://tinyurl.com/prepointe==== ====