On Pointe , Foot strength, Beginning pointe videos

When is the right time to go on pointe? The importance of your big toes for ballet dancers! Get better stability, relevé, turns and pointe work. When is the right time to go on pointe?

Many people  want to know when they can go “on pointe”. I will give you some helpful tips but please check first with your teacher. Your teacher has the final word. He or she sees you, hopefully; at least three days per week.

Ballet pointe shoes

Getting on pointe

Schools vary as to the age they put dancers on pointe. Many adults wish to dance on pointe as well. I was put on pointe at age 15 after studying nine months. So you can see, it is difficult to predict age.

My main concern is that the growth plates in the feet have stopped moving. That way the feet will not be damaged by the constant pressure of the dancer’s body weight. Some schools will wait until students are twelve years old for this reason.

Other schools might start at ten and a half- eleven years but limit the time that the children wear their shoes. It is always best to be conservative no matter age, in order to develop the correct technique under professional supervision.

The optimal situation is to first practice foot strengthening exercises prior to pointe work. I have listed several foot stretch and strength links on this blog.

Ankle strength video

Foot stretch

Foot strength Part One

Foot strength part two

Once you get your pointe shoes, here is a wonderful warm-up for any level on pointe. Thank you to this lovely professional dancer for demonstrating!  It is very important to roll through the pointe show in the most fluid manner as possible.

Here is a wonderful new post from  a yoga site all about the importance of the big toe muscles. I was so excited when I saw  this because I have been working on strengthening my own for two years! I have seen my students’ control and strength increase with the use of these exercises too. Click on the link below for a short post.

Yoga Journal building strength in your big toe

“But a simple, mindful big-toe adjustment can create stability in the bones, ligaments, and muscles of the feet, enhancing the mind-body connection and creating a secure foundation for safe and comfortably aligned poses.”

My feet are hyper mobile and roll in easily. Working on doming exercises and big toe strengthening has helped activate my intrinsic foot muscles and increase stability.  Here is a video of my feet on demi-pointe and 3/4 pointe that demonstrates the advantage of a strong big toe!

Click here for the slow motion video~ watch for the muscle under my instep. It is activated by pushing the big toe down “like a button”. Big toe strength on relevé increases stability and height of relevé

  • Higher relevé
  • More stability on flat

If you have more stability on flat and more strength on relevé, what happens to your balances and turns? How about a push off for sauté?

I think you get my point(e)!


on pointe
Have fun dancing!

Doing foot exercises make a world of a difference in not only strength, but awareness of how to use your feet and toes.

Share with friends and help them accomplish their foot goals and get en pointe!Click To Tweet


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About Sarah Arnold

Ballet blogger, ballet teacher and adult ballerina. Creator of TutusChic and Sans Souci Printables.

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