Preparing for first pointe shoes

At the start of this year, my daughter started simultaneously working on both her Grade 4 and Grade 5 in ballet. Her Grade 5 class included girls ranging in age from two school years above her right up to a girl who could drive! Every week the Grade 5 (or Intermediate Foundation) class had an extra lesson preparing for pointe work, working on strengthening exercises.

And in the spring, most of the older girls got their pointe shoes. But my daughter was too young.

She started to wonder what the ‘point’ of those pointe lessons actually was. While they still did some strengthening, the other girls were at the barre in their pointe shoes and my daughter was on ‘demi-pointe’ – the balls of her feet. The work on demi-pointe was pretty basic, because it was supposed to be done on pointe – if that makes sense.

Later in the spring, her teacher asked when she would be 12. The other girls got their pointe shoes at 13, but maybe my daughter would get hers at 12?

Just before the end of the school year, the teacher asked us to go in to talk about pointe work. Was she going to say there was no point in my daughter going to the pointe lessons any more? Was she going to say they were going to introduce the strengthening lessons for the younger girls in the Grade 4 class, so she might as well just go to that class instead?

Or was she going to say she could have pointe shoes?


Getting pointe shoes is a really big deal for ballet dancers and the reality is many people will never get them. They can be dangerous and it just isn’t safe for some people to have them. So this was a really big deal to us.

The teacher had done her research as my daughter is a bit younger than the girls who normally go on pointe in her class. Apparently ‘star’ pupils can do the Intermediate Foundation exam from the age of 11 – and to do that they would have been on pointe for about a year. So going on pointe just before she was 11 and a half was actually OK.

She told my daughter she had to keep up her strengthening exercises over the summer and told her exactly when she needed to make an appointment to be fitted with her shoes, so that she would have them ready for the start of term.

I think we both nearly burst with excitement!

Pointe shoes, Ballet shoes, Ballet, Preparing for first pointe shoes


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. It’s a real achievement isn’t it? Bet she sees herself as a proper ballet dancer now & so she is.

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    • Thanks very much! It really is an amazing achievement. I’m very proud of her.

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  2. Oh that’s fabulous, well done to her! She really is acing this ballet lark isn’t she? Great that her teacher believes in her enough to put her up with the older girls and give her the pointe shoes early.

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    • Thanks very much. She’s doing so well. I’m so pleased her teacher has moved her on. x

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  3. Well done your girl. My friends daughter dances and I have heard that getting pointe shoes is a really big deal! Your girl sounds like she is an amazing dancer. x

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    • Thanks very much. She is amazing! Getting pointe shoes is a really big step. x

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  4. It’s a huge achievement and they are just beautiful. I love them so much and so proud of your daughter x

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    • Thanks very much. I love them too, they’re such a beautiful thing. x

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  5. Oh my, I ALWAYS wanted a pair of pointe shoes! Sadly I gave up ballet at 11 so never quite got there. I know for sure that your daughter will take it all very seriously and do whatever strengthening exercises are required. Well done her!

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    • Thanks very much, she’s being very good with her exercises! I gave up ballet at 7 as I was dreadful! I have no idea where my daughter gets her talent from! x

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  6. I still have my pointe shoes over 40 years later 🙂 They do mean a huge amount. Well done to your daughter x

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    • Thanks very much! It’s lovely that you still have them after all this time. I hope my daughter will keep hers too. x

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  7. Oh wow, well done to her. I had no idea they had to go through so much to get them but it makes perfect sense. It sounds like you need a lot of discipline and good skills to get them.

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    • Thanks very much! They need to be sure they have enough strength in their feet, ankles and legs before they can get them. It requires a lot of hard work and commitment to build up the strength, so I’m really proud of her 🙂

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