Whilst standing on pointe the dancer puts the equivalent of 8 times her body weight on her toe joints. In soft growing bones that have not yet ossified this can have a damaging effect. It is therefore important at what stage of growth the child is and the strength and technique they have achieved that should determine when they start pointe work. It is also of utmost importance that the student is able to perform her regular class work with ease in her pointe shoes, as, until she is able to execute all steps off pointe in pointe shoes, she is unlikely to achieve a graceful look. Most of us would be able to wear the shoes and step up on to pointe but it is the art of making it look easy and the controlled fluidity that is the skill. In order to adhere to the safe practice of forming young and growing bodies pointe work is kept to a minimum until the student is at a growth stage and technical standard to cope with perfecting this technique. Only students studying on the vocational ballet courses will be considered for pointe work.
"Is it important to know about anatomy when teaching dance? Considering the high cost of injuries in professional dance companies, it is surely vital that those teaching the youngest have every possible resource available to them." Rachel Rist, Director of Dance at The Arts Educational School, Tring Park, and the Vice President of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science. (Dance Gazette)