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  • Writer's picture Alison Hollingsworth

Les Sylphides

By Olivia Townsend

Rehearsals for Les Sylphides are off to a great start! The adult corps dancers have been working every Saturday to master the moody choreography of Les Sylphides. Our youth pre-professional division will perform solo variations and a few from our youth division will be a mini core. All dancers, except the mini core, will perform Les Sylphides en pointe, some of them for the first time!

Contrary to common belief, you are never too old to begin dancing en pointe so long as you have the strength and mobility to dance on pointe safely. If you are interested in learning pointe technique, here are some things to consider when deciding if pointe is right for you:

  • Dancers typically go en pointe around age 12-14 after the foot and ankle and bones have matured and the muscles have had time to strengthen. An adult dancer is typically ready for pointe when dancing competently at an intermediate level.

  • Pointe shoes are specially designed to support dancers while they balance on the tips of their toes. The hard, square end of the shoe, or the “box,” is made of layers of canvas and glue creating a supportive structure for dancers to balance without crunching their toes. The sole of the shoe, or “shank,” provides support under the heel. Pointe shoes are held on the feet with ribbons and elastic. 

  • It is strongly recommended that a dance store professional fit you for your first pair of pointe shoes. There are many brands and styles of pointe shoes so you want to make sure to find the pair that fits your feet. 

  • Most pointe shoes are sold without ribbons or elastics attached, so you’ll need to stitch them on yourself. (Don’t worry, it’s easy!)

  • You may have heard that dancing en pointe hurts. While it's true pointe can be uncomfortable and you might see a blister here and there, using good ballet alignment to stay lifted and strong will prevent unnecessary injury and pain.

  • Pointe shoes wear out with time and use, so you will need to replace them after a while. How often you dance en pointe will determine how often you need new pointe shoes, but a dancer practicing pointe for one hour a week can expect to keep their pointe shoes for many months!

Adult Beginner Pointe classes are held every Wednesday after the Intermediate class. Youth Division Pointe is part of the Ballet III and IV curriculum and is included at the instructor's discretion. If you are interested in learning pointe, ask your instructor if she thinks you're ready!

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