Top 8 tips to help you to get on pointe easier (& chill, it takes practise to make it work)
First and foremost, preparation!
For you to sustain the whole 15-20mins of pointe work exercise, (usually at the end of major lessons), you need to protect your toes! Some of you might still have teachers that forbide students from using thick toe pads, they prefer minimal toe protection (i.e. thin/simple cotton wool).
I'm an advocate for proper and good toes protection (i.e. gel type toe pads). The reason why i felt so strongly about this,is because i have seen too many students not preparing their toes at the beginning, end up getting blisters, bleeding toe nails, at the very beginning of the class, not being able to be trained. Then, what is the point? They end up not being able to follow the class, and sit out for weeks.
Mind you, blisters take time to heal!!
I usually use this type of gel type toe pad for my pointe exercise. I loved them the minute i discovered them! I can go forever on pointe!
My pink gel toe pad.=)
Here are the instructions to care for gel toe pad.
2) Lift the weight off. (Seriously, think light. You are as light as a feather)
Weight should be lifted out of the pointe shoes and distributed throughout the body. Failure to lift weight away from the hips results in curled toes or clenched, instead of elongated and narrowed. Avoid sinking into those shoes, causing pain and stress to your toes.
It is worth it to loss some weight before you go on pointe. Overweight students risk placing extra pressure on their toes.
3) Stand on pointe correctly
Check if you are standing on pointe with the entire tip of the platform flatly touching the floor and your toes perpendicular to the floor. Your instep should be fully stretched to avoid foot pushed too forward.
Example of a simple exercise:-
Facing barre or practise at home facing a chair.
Foot in 1st position, slowly roll up on pointe, then bend your knee on pointe.
Now, you can feel the entire tip of your pointe shoes flat on the floor.
Stay in that entire flat tip, slowly stretch those knees, until you are on pointe with a perfect tip on the floor.
Repeat a few times.
4) Eye line helps
Beginning pointe students should learn to look up and focus at eye level. Often times, you are so concern about those toes, your eye line keep looking down. This is not going to help with your lifted weight. So, look up and smile.
Feel your work.
5) Find your centre / Balance
Rolling builds strength. Rise slowly to full pointe and roll back from the ball down through the heel, using the whole foot. The instep is developed as it raises and lowers the heel. Rise to pointe should require minimal adjustment. It should be a smooth rather than jerky feeling. While you are on pointe, find your centre (abdominal muscle) and balance. Avoid sticking your stomach out.
6) Work on both legs
By working equally on both legs avoid having develop one foot more than another. Especially, during pirouette on pointe, where some students tend to have a favor 'good' side.
Make sure you work equally on both legs.=)
Besides physical strength, you have to be confidence with your ability when you are on pointe. I think that a little pinch of confidence, lift you up and it shows.
You must go in to pointe class with a positive and open mind. Do not let all the horror stories of injuries scare you off before you even try. I'm not saying injuries would not happen. Start slow, listen to your teacher's instructions, do not perform steps that you are not prepared and trained for. Be patience.
Believe you can do it!
By simply believing it, you won half the battle.
Students with a right attitude, are eager to learn, they do not complaint and wind over small failures, do not stop trying.
My collection of pointe shoes...=)
OK, here are some of my tips for getting on pointe. Enjoy your pointe work!
Love, Staphanie Mun