Some tips for dancers who are preparing for their first pointe class
Every little ballerina yearns for the day that she could strap on a pair of pointe shoes and pirouette around the stage as the Sugar Plum Fairy. There’s a reason why little dancers have to wait to start pointe, though, and that’s because their feet are still maturing; the pressure from the shoes could disrupt development. If you’ve finally become of age, and you’re about to start class, you’re probably so excited! Your dance teacher will probably give you proper training and techniques to follow when you start, but to prepare early, follow these tips for your first pointe class.
Ingrown toenails are a real concern for those who wear pointe shoes. This painful condition happens when the nail grows into the nail bed instead of upward. These shoes tend to squish the toes together, so it’s quite common for dancers to experience an ingrown toenail. However, there are precautions you can take to prevent them. Cutting your toenails regularly, and correctly, can help. First, don’t cut them too short. Second, try to cut them in a straight line, avoid rounding them, and never tear them.
Warm up ankles
Your ankles support your feet when you’re bouncing around on your tippy toes, and the slightest issue could leave you with a sprain or tear. Slowly perform warm-up exercises like raises and moving feet in circular motions. That way, when you get into more challenging turns and jumps, your ankles will be warm and ready to support you the whole way!
Pick the shoes that work for your feet
Most dance studio instructors will have their dancers start out with a simple shoe that doesn’t have a built-in arch. Capezio and Bloch offer great pointe shoes for beginners, and most dancers will usually start out with these brands. Beginner shoes allow dancers to feel their feet and the floor, which is important when you’re learning pointe for the first time. As you progress, you can start to shop for more advanced shoes by companies like Gaynor Minden and Grishko. These shoes are usually built with different materials and shape to the feel differently.
Change shoes when shank is broken
The anatomy of the average pointe shoe includes the box and the shank. The box is at the toe of the shoe and the shank runs alongside the arch of the foot. Both work in combination to hold you up as you go on the toes. The shank is especially important because it keeps the arch of your foot from overextending and collapsing. However, after time, the shank will break and can no longer support the foot. When it breaks, you need to purchase a new pair!
We hope these tips for new pointe dancers were helpful, and we wish you the best of luck in your first pointe lessons. If you’re new to dancing and want to join a dance studio in Queens County, choose Robert Mann Dance Centre! We’d be very excited to have you!