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 11 and will be assessed
by the teachers as to their suitability; this usually happens around Grade 4/5 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.
Pointe work forms part of the ISTD Grade 6 Ballet examination and grades above. Students
will be required to attend one pointe class each week. We have an Inter/beginner class for our
Grade 4's and 5's and a Senior class for Grade 6 and over. Please check our latest timetable for
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.