En pointe (pointe) means "on the tip" and is a part of classical ballet technique, practised using specially reinforced shoes called pointe shoes. The technique developed from the desire for dancers to appear weightless and sylph-like and has evolved to enable dancers to dance on the tips of their toes for extended periods of time.
It is important not to start pointe too early to avoid causing damage. Pre-professional students do not usually begin dancing en pointe until after the age of 11and will be assessed by the teachers as to their suitability; this usually happens around Grade 5 ballet.
Students are ready for pointe when they can hold their turnout from the hips while performing centre combinations, hold a proper ballet position (straight back, good turnout, etc.), pull up correctly in the legs, and balance securely in relevé because dancing en pointe requires one to use the entire body, including the legs, back, and abdominal muscles.
Pointework forms part of the ISTD Grade 6 Ballet examination and students will be required to attend one pointe class each week.
Please see latest timetables for further details. Students must be fitted for pointe shoes by an expert. Please check with teachers for their recommendations on the best pointe shoe fitters in the area.