Pre-Pointe/Pointe: Is it Right for Me?

Since the early 1830s, classical ballet has been performed on pointe, and odds are, you (or your budding ballerina) have dreamt of taking the stage in your very own satin shoes. Originally created to give the appearance of weightlessness while dancing, pointe work can be as beautiful as it is challenging – but is it right for you? Turning Pointe is here to answer your questions and prepare you to tackle those toes!

Pointe Classes (2018-19 School Year): 
Thursdays, 7:30-8:15; Fridays, 5:30-6:15
Miss Erin Dial 

Beginning Pointe*
Fridays, 5:30-6:30
Miss Sara Murdaugh

Intermediate Pointe 1*
Fridays, 5:30-6:30
Miss Mimi McKinnis

Intermediate Pointe 2*
Thursdays, 6:30-7:30
Miss Erin Dial

*Must have teacher approval or placement class. To schedule a placement class, email

Process & Expectations

Every student who dreams of dancing on pointe will begin in the Pre-Pointe class. (Pre-Pointe must be taken within the last 12 months prior to being evaluated.)
If the student is coming from another studio and is already on pointe, said student will be observed in the Beginning Pointe class and redirected as necessary. If the student is coming from another studio and was “going to be placed on pointe,” the student will take the pre-pointe class and be moved to Beginning Pointe when ready.
Pointe evaluations are held once per year, prior to Turning Pointe’s summer class sessions. When Pre-Pointe is complete, students will schedule their evaluation through Miss Sara Murdaugh. Each evaluation takes 20-30 minutes, and three teachers will be present to evaluate each student on their readiness through a series of exercises. Students will be given a yes or no for pointe shoes immediately following their evaluation. Students will also receive their evaluation forms from each teacher via email in order to be encouraged and know which areas need improvement.
Once a student is given the green light for pointe shoes, said student will start Beginning Pointe in the fall; however, shoes will not be purchased until late September/early October. In this class, students will learn to sew and tie their shoes, place themselves correctly on pointe, and gain strength in a pointe-specific way. (Most of this class is spent at the barre!) Please note students should not practice in their pointe shoes at home until a teacher clears them for specific things – injures can occur if pointe shoes break in wrong or a student is not ready for unsupervised pointe work.

From Beginning Pointe, students will progress through each level of pointe at their own rate. Pointe students must take two ballet classes per week once on pointe and are asked to take a ballet class immediately prior to their pointe class. If students are unable to take a ballet class due to scheduling or finances, they MUST arrive to their pointe class 20 minutes early to warm themselves up.

Requirements For Going On Pointe

•    Student must be 12 or older.
•    Student must have three consecutive years of ballet training.
•    Student must come to two ballet technique classes a week.
•    Student must have sufficient strength to:
1.    Hold their turnout while dancing. 
2.    Maintain proper alignment and demonstrate leg strength and foot flexibility.
3.    Use pliés while dancing. 
4.    Keep heels forward toward the big toe (no sickling). 
5.    Point their feet while dancing (without being reminded). 
6.    Pique passé with a straight leg. 
7.    Be able to do 32 relevés in the center without ankles wiggling. 
8.    Be able to hold a passé balance on half-pointe, well-placed (hips square, back straight, legs turned out, and to have strength to balance on demi pointe).
9.    Be in good health and able to take a whole class. (If the student frequently needs to rest because of illness or injury, they are not strong enough for the extra demands that pointe work requires.)


Q: How old do I need to be to take the Pre-Pointe class?
A: While 12 is the minimum age we will allow students to go on pointe, they can be any age to take the Pre-Pointe class. A Pre-Pointe class will improve strength, alignment, foot flexibility and understanding of proper technique regardless of age or the dancer’s age or intent to be put on pointe. 

Q: If I took Pre-Pointe, am I ready to be evaluated for pointe shoes?
A: If you’ve taken Pre-Pointe within the last year, you may schedule a pointe evaluation; however, pointe is not an automatic event. A finite amount of strength, flexibility, technique and dedication must be achieved to ensure long term health as well as a fulfilling experience. Your health and future in dance is the top priority! 

Q: How many times should I expect to be evaluated before I get to go on pointe?
A: We are all fearfully and wonderfully made! God made each dancer unique, and as such, every dancer will go through the process differently. If you are not yet ready for pointe shoes, you will be asked to repeat Pre-Pointe or improve in certain areas before scheduling another evaluation. It may take one try, it may take 10! The important thing is to trust the process and not get discouraged. Factors like growth spurts, injuries and long absences can all contribute to a difficult evaluation, but something can be learned from every experience. 

Q: When will I get my shoes? 
A: Dancers enrolled in Beginning Pointe will purchase their shoes as a class in late September/early October (although your class will begin with the start of Turning Pointe’s 2018-19 session at the beginning of September). This is an all-day event, so students should clear their calendar of all time sensitive commitments!

Q: How often will I need to replace my shoes?
A: Unfortunately, pointe shoes are expensive and will need to be replaced at least once a year (Beginning and Intermediate pointe students usually need two pairs per year). A student must be re-fit by the same fitter (or organization) each time a new pair is needed. As a student progresses in level and dances more often, the shoes will need to be replaced more often. The health of a dancer’s feet and body rely on the understanding of the financial and time commitment.

It is also common that your first pointe shoe will no longer meet your needs after 3-6 months of use. Dancers’ feet and function change dramatically in the first year of pointe work, and it typically takes 2-4 pairs of shoes – once feet have stopped changing as dramatically – before you gain a strong understanding of what’s perfect for you.

Q: Do I need to be in Turning Pointe’s Training Division to be on pointe? 
A: Not necessarily. Pointe is an extra class and does not count as a ballet technique class. Students in the recreational division need to come to ballet class twice a week, plus their pointe class, and we strongly recommend that these students take the Training class directly prior to their pointe class to properly prepare their feet and bodies for pointe work.

Questions? Email Miss Sara Murdaugh at Ready to do what it takes? Click here to register for 2018-19 classes!