So, you gave the child to the ballet. In your head, you probably already had beautiful images of graceful ballerinas who conquer large scenes, fluttering like butterflies in their neat and beautiful pointe shoes and elegant tutus. Your daughter or son is already taking the first positions at the machine tool, got a beautiful posture, endurance and stretching, and the time has come for the most sacred - staging on pointe shoes.
At this moment, parents are traditionally divided into two categories: those who are willing to sacrifice the comfort of a child for the sake of a good goal and success in a great ballet career and those who want to protect the baby as much as possible from such torment.
In the article we will examine in detail why the pointe shoes are so afraid (and whether it is worth doing it), and when, why and why you need to put the young ballet dancer on pointe shoes.
A few words about pointe shoes
The translation of the word from French speaks very eloquently about this ballet shoe. Pointe shoes literally mean "point". The sock of such ballet shoes is very solid, and it is it that allows the ballerina and ballet dancer to stand in the most intricate positions at the very tips of the fingers.
To an untrained person or even a beginner, such shoes will seem a tool of torture. It fits tightly on the leg, and the sock with solid material is so narrow that it is very difficult to maintain balance on it.
Even if a child attended the ballet school for several years before putting on pointe shoes or did gymnastics and dancing, this does not mean that he will be easily and comfortable immediately standing on pointe shoes. Most of the children are less patient and even a little discomfort can cause them unpleasant memories of the ballet class as a whole.
On the other hand, without such shoes, dancers simply will not be able to perform complex positions and dance parties. Standing on toes on fingers is much more dangerous and almost impossible. It is important to understand that if you plan to continue to direct your child to the big ballet, then posing for pointe shoes is necessary. Your task is to determine whether the child is ready for this, whether there are contraindications, and how to properly coordinate the process.
When to start with pointe shoes?
The "the sooner the better" rule does not work in this case. Still, pointe shoes are very heavy and tough shoes, uncomfortable for a child. If you start too early, the foot may not develop properly and may even become deformed. Children's bones are too soft and elastic, can change their shape due to constant pointe wear.
The ideal age for posing for this ballet shoe is considered 11 years old. By this age, the main bones of the foot have already formed and become quite strong. The child must be psychologically resilient, calm and strong in order to endure the initial discomfort and increased stress from pointe. Sometimes children need more time, and then it will be possible to put the dancer on pointe shoes not earlier than 13 years. In any case, experts do not recommend switching to these shoes before 10 years.
Initially, you can conduct only part of the session on pointe shoes, gradually transferring them to the category of basic shoes. So the child will be more comfortable getting used to the new training format.
There are several key factors that can help determine if a child is ready for pointe shoes:
- The level of physical fitness. A beginner and at age 14 should not be put on pointe shoes - a child simply cannot withstand such a load. Moreover, it is recommended to pre-visit the orthopedist, who will confirm the decision of the teacher to put the child on pointe shoes.
- Experience in ballet. It is very important to switch to pointe shoes after receiving a certain base. Correct positions are initially learned from the machine without pointe shoes, and only then, with the correct setting of the body and legs, can the child be placed on pointe shoes. Experts say that before posing for pointe shoes, a child must be engaged in a ballet class for at least three years.
- Moral readiness. Perhaps the child has already heard “horror stories” from other guys from the class who are already practicing pointe shoes. If the young dancer perceives the new ballet shoes as torture, you need to talk with the child and talk about the fact that all the adult ballerinas and dancers he is following have gone through this. The opposite situation is also possible - the child does not even know that with pointe shoes it will be more difficult and less convenient. If ballet classes are a priority, you need to try to convey to the young dancer the fact that the inconvenience on pointe shoes is temporary difficulties, with time the body and feet get used to it. Pointe shoes are also unavoidable in professional ballet, as well as specific injuries or legs worn down to corns.
It is best to start training gradually. Do not force the child to immediately do complex pas on pointe shoes and show his skill. Trust professional educators - they definitely know the optimal schedule for your child and are guided by their moral readiness and physical fitness.
When you need to give up pointe
Despite the fact that the transition to these ballet shoes is necessary for a professional dancer, sometimes you need to make a choice in favor of the health and well-being of the child.
Below is a list of the most popular contraindications, in the presence of which it is worth refusing to switch to pointe shoes:
- Excess weight. If the child weighs 20% higher than the norm for his age, then pointe shoes should be postponed. Excess weight at a very small fulcrum will create additional strain on the foot, fatal to the joints.
- Joint problems. Particular attention should be paid to diseases of the hip joint and knees. If the child complained of discomfort while performing certain exercises, it is better to consult a doctor to exclude pathology.
- Phlebeurysm. Unfortunately, similar age-related diseases are found in children. If there is this problem - pointe shoes should be abandoned. Serious ballet training should also be limited.
- Features of the structure of the foot. Such trifles are rarely paid attention to. In fact, if one of the fingers is longer than the rest, then you can’t get on pointe shoes anymore - the child simply can not stand the discomfort.
For other contraindications, it is better to consult a ballet trainer or a doctor.
How to make the process easier
If you decide to help your baby overcome the discomfort of switching to pointe shoes - alas, you cannot do it. Discomfort and discomfort will be all the same. Your task is to make the process itself easier and less painful.
Some tips for those who translate to pointes young dancers:
- Preliminary consultation with a doctor and periodic examinations. So you can be sure that the discomfort that the child complains of is just temporary difficulties, and not serious changes in the joints or tendons.
- Use special insoles for regular shoes. Thus, during training, the foot will be loaded much less. In general, try to provide the child with the most comfortable orthopedic shoes outside the ballet to give the foot a rest after unusual and not the most comfortable pointe shoes.
- Regular exercises in special gymnastics. Exercises will tell the orthopedist or ballet trainer. This is, first of all, the rehabilitation load on the foot. It helps to relax the tendons and ligaments, restore the foot faster after training on pointe shoes.
We select the first pointe shoes correctly
Much depends on the correct choice of the first pointe shoes. Improperly selected shoes will make the process less successful, or even worse, harm the baby’s foot and cause pain.
Be sure to order pointe shoes with fitting. No need to buy shoes on the Internet, even ideally measuring the size. In general, in ballet it is advised to always buy shoes with fitting, but later, when the foot stops growing, you can always buy the same model from the same manufacturer. By the way, when trying on pointe shoes in the store, check with the seller of the model for beginners. Most brands have such models with special stiffness parameters.
Correctly similar pointe shoes sit quite tightly on the foot, do not pinch it. During the movement of the foot should not be freely in the shoes. A tight fit will ensure a secure fit of the foot and reduce the likelihood of injuries to tendons and ligaments. It is believed that good pointe shoes can stand on their toes themselves even without support. If possible, check your favorite shoes in this way - this is an indicator of sufficient rigidity and the correct shape of the model.
If you buy ballet shoes for a child, do not try to save. Take pointe shoes “size to size”, otherwise the shoe will not fit snugly against the foot. Moreover, buying shoes for growth is pointless - you will have to buy pointe shoes almost every month with stable training. Too wide shoes increase the risk of injuries and reduce control over foot movements.
After buying the first pointe shoes, it should be noted that they can not be worn immediately and without preparation. It is preliminary recommended to carry out a light warm-up of the feet. Be sure to knead the muscles of the calves and feet, warm the ligaments. Before putting on pointes, a small sock breaks a sock. So it becomes less soft and not so painful to wear.
Some ballerinas and dancers use this secret: before putting on pointes, they can be slightly moistened. So they will sit denser and take the desired shape of the foot.
The insole of the pointe can be removed before donning. Some simply knead it well in the hand so that it more easily takes the anatomical shape of the foot. So that the sole of the new pointe shoes does not slip on the floor of the ballet class, you can walk several times with sandpaper or a fine grater.
Pointing to pointe shoes is not only very important, but also a sacred moment for any young dancer. It is on this day that he becomes one step closer to his dream, to professional sports. All adult ballerinas and dancers have already made friends with pointe shoes, and you also have to go through this step with your child.
It is very important to think over the whole process from A to Z. An insufficiently prepared child should get on pointe shoes early - this will lead to deformation of the foot. It is very important to trust the teacher and his opinion about the preparedness of the child, follow the recommendations for preliminary warm-up and a gradual transition to pointe shoes. If you choose the right pointe shoes and follow the recommendations of the teacher, the discomfort will be quickly forgotten, and new ballet achievements will be ahead!
2. Leg injection
At the machine or other support. Perform battements tendus with a cross. Each time opening a leg, bring it to a half-finger and then only return it back. Fix the position of the "half-finger" - feel that the pads of the fingers are firmly on the floor. We do a cross 16 times.
3. The development of sauté
The purity of the execution of this jump forms the correct position of the arch of the foot. Purity of execution depends on the correctness of the delivered body - the tailbone is lowered, the ribs are closed, the hip joint is maximally deployed. During the push, you need to feel the little finger and the middle toe (do not fall on your thumbs). In the air - stretch your feet, reach your fingers and on the “adoption” land as flexibly as possible in plie from socks to a full foot. It is enough to do from 16 to 32 correct jumps.
4. Rubber exercises
Place the elastic on the fingertips (not on the fingers themselves, otherwise it will slip off) and pull it towards you. At the same time, strain the arch of the foot and fingers, as if resisting the elastic. Return to starting position. Repeat 16 times at a slow pace, repeat from the other leg.
Then stretch the lift, continuing to pull the rubber band over the foot toward you. Do it 16 times and change your leg. At first, you can take your feet off the habit of this exercise, but this is only at first, so don’t worry and continue to work on yourself.
The elastic in the horizontal plane
This exercise will help you work out lazy ligaments. Grab the foot with an elastic band as shown in the photo and pull it inward (the foot should look like a “club foot”). Then, while maintaining tension, resist the elastic, as in the previous exercise.
When working with an elastic band, make sure that the foot does not relax, otherwise the necessary muscle tension will not occur. Do it slowly and carefully, repeat 16 times.
5. Stretching Achilles
To work on pointe shoes you need a strong, developed Achilles. The next exercise is the best assistant in this. Stand on a bench or chair, keep your hands on the wall. Only foot pads and fingers should be supported.
First maximize the achilles, lowering the heel as low as possible. After waiting a few seconds, do a releve and extend the supporting leg. Do the 16-32 set.
Releve is the basic movement needed to prepare for a rebound. But absolute cleanliness of execution is required. Both the little finger and the middle toe tightly lie on the floor, stretch upwards from the top of the head and in the most extended position continue to feel the little finger and middle finger pressed to the floor. At a slow pace, carefully complete up to 32 releve.
So, I repeat that for the first time you can get on pointe shoes only under the supervision of a teacher, provided that your body is already set up and the leg muscles are prepared. If so, then exercises will help you gain greater stability and feel on your fingers much easier and more enjoyable.
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