What Is A Pre-Pointe Assessment?
A pre pointe assessment is a gateway to commencing pointe work. These assessments highlight areas of growth/improvement so that each dancer can begin pointe work safely and comfortably. Studies report 72% of all dance injuries are found in the legs and feet. Pre pointe assessments help screen for potential sites of injury in each individual in order to develop a personalised preventative program to aid safe commencement of pointe work.
Should My Child Get a Pre-Pointe Assessment?
If your young dancer loves ballet and aspires to dance en pointe, then yes! Your child should have a pre-pointe assessment. We suggest dancers looking to begin pointe are those who:
- Attend 2 or more ballet classes a week
- Have been studying ballet for a minimum of 5 years
- Are 11 years of age or older (although eager young dancers are welcome to attend to get a head start on their strengthening programs)
- Have the willingness and maturity to commence dancing en pointe
Having a pre pointe assessment prior to going en pointe allows for the safest transition for your daughter into pointe shoes.
When Does A Dancer Need An Assessment?
Going en pointe is such an important milestone in every young ballet dancer’s training. Whilst there is no specific ‘when’ for the commencement of pointe work, there are guidelines that we follow to ensure your child’s feet are stable, strong and safe for pointe work. As suggested in the IADMS guidelines (International Association for Dance Medicine & Science), young dancers should be a minimum of 11 year of age before undertaking a pre-pointe assessment. More typically however, the commencement of pointe work is determined by the level of ballet your young dancer is in. Often this aligns with a minimum of level 5 ballet (or equivalent), the RAD syllabus for example commences pointe work at an examinable level in intermediate foundation. If you are unsure about when this may be for your child, your child’s ballet teacher is the best person to ask as they are the most familiar with your child’s classical technique and their ballet school’s pointe program.
Once given the all clear by your ballet school, we suggest booking in for your initial pre pointe assessment 3 months prior to the commencement of pointe work. This will allow time for your child to undertake a specific, individualised pre-pointe strengthening program as prescribed by the podiatrist in preparation to starting pointe work.
Can I Prepare For A Pre-Pointe Assessment?
The best way to prepare for a pre-pointe assessment is to try your best in ballet class. During a pre-pointe assessment we look at turnout, strength, technique and control. All of which can be improved in each and every ballet exercise!
But in case you wanted to get more specific, pre-pointe assessments involve a range of strength and stability assessments. Our podiatrists will look at:
- Dance history and Injury history
- Turn out range
- Ankle range of motion (how pointy are your feet)
- Releve endurance and control, we would like to see 20 strong rises per foot
- Ankle, knee and hip stability, good alignment through the pelvis (square hips), legs (elongated position through the knees) and the feet, (strong, stable ankles with no sickling, and controlled winging/fishing only)
- Core control and postural stability across a variety of ballet positions
Some of these assessments may feel new for the dancer so we make sure to provide time to practice before we assess each area and allow rest time to recover!
What Are The Outcomes?
After a pre-pointe assessment all dancers will be given an individualised and specific pre-pointe program. This program will honing in on specific areas of the foot and lower limb to build the strength and stability required for pointe work. Pre pointe strengthening programs are an awesome chance for each young dancer to hone her technique and get in tune with her body!
Depending on each dancer’s ballet history, technique and strength, 1-5 follow-up appointments may be required to make sure her feet are ready for pointe. Once deemed ready to start pointe each dancer will also receive a full pre-pointe assessment report and approval letter to pass on to their ballet teacher! This will help your ballet teacher continue to work on any areas of improvement and give them the tick of approval to start pointe!
Is The Test Pass/Fail?
This assessment is not a pass or a fail. The main aim of this assessment is to enable a safe transition into pointe shoes. This means that we aim to work with the dancer and dance school to achieve your goals (dancing on pointe) and to prepare the dancer for future success whilst also reducing the risk of injury.
Receiving her first pair of pointe shoes is one of the most (if not the most) exciting times in a young dancer’s career, hence, this assessment strives to focus on the positives, rather than the negatives. Appointments and exercise programs are treated as steps towards dancing en pointe rather than hurdles to leap. Finding areas of improvement are chances to get in tune with your body, reduce risk of injury and grow as a dancer!
Foot Centre Group Pre-Pointe Assessment
We are delighted to announce The Foot Centre Group now offers pre-pointe assessment to young ballet dancers to ensure their safe transition from ballet shoes to dancing en pointe. Our podiatrist, Issy, has a specialized interest in dance, dancing styles including ballet for 18 years and going en pointe herself at the age of 10. Issy is passionate about foot strength and injury-prevention and could not be more thrilled to be a part of one of the most exciting transitions each young ballet dancer undertakes.
Book a pre-pointe assessment today!