Going en pointe for the first time is a big milestone for dancers. We are sharing our top 5 pointe shoe tips for beginners!
1. Find Your Shoes
A dancer’s relationship with their shoes is an important one. Finding the right pointe shoes is critical and it will most likely take some trial and error. There are dozens of different brands and even more styles to choose from which may seem overwhelming but don’t fret because there are so many resources to help you. Plus in most cases, your teacher will recommend a specific brand such as Bloch, Grishko, or Freed which is what the dancers wear exclusively at Ballet Arizona. Click here to watch Pointe Magazine’s guide to choosing your pointe shoes!
2. Strengthen Your Feet
This tip needs to be on repeat in your head because strengthening your feet is something that you will be working on throughout your dance career. Building the muscles in your feet will improve your pointe work and overall technique. This means lots of tendus and relevés – going between demi and full pointe, so you can engage every part of the foot. Also, consider getting a TheraBand which will provide some resistance and help strengthen both your arches and toes as you go between pointing and flexing the feet. Click here to find more exercises for stronger feet!
3. Engage Your Core
Ballet requires a dancer to engage all of the muscles in the body, especially the core! Being en pointe will have you using new muscles and in different ways, especially since your center of gravity is shifting. While this will take some time to get used to, having a strong core will not only help improve your overall technique but will also help prevent injuries. Try doing a small ab workout before your class to fire up your muscles. Click here for the perfect core exercises!
4. Stretch It Out
You have probably heard this a million times, but stretch your body! Warming up and stretching your muscles before and after class needs to be a regular part of your routine if it isn’t already. Stretching helps to prevent injury and sore muscles, which is important now more than ever as a newbie en pointe. You will be using new muscles in new ways, so do some self-care and we promise your body will thank you, not just now but in the long run. Some of our favorites are rolling out the arches with a golf or tennis ball, toe extensions, and Achilles stretches. Click here for more foot stretches!
5. Build Your Foundation
This last tip is more about mindfulness and remembering to be patient with yourself. Getting your first pair of pointe shoes is one of the most exciting times in a dancer’s life. You are on your way to dancing like the pros, but before you can take on the iconic 32 fouettés in Swan Lake, you have to build a steady foundation. Just like starting out in technique class, you need to build your strength and master the basics before anything else. So, take your time and when you’re ready, you’ll notice your progression moves that much quicker.