Articles

My Beginner Pointe’s Top 20 Questions About Pointe Shoes

My Beginner Pointe’s Top 20 Questions About Pointe Shoes

At the My Beginner Pointe Headquarters, we receive copious amounts of questions about all things to do with pointe.  To add to your knowledge on the subject, I have compiled a list of the absolute Top 20 Questions About Pointe Shoes. 1.  Can you tell where your ribbon...

Jack Stromland – ‘Where Did They End Up?’

Jack Stromland – ‘Where Did They End Up?’

Jack Stromland  Jack Stromland, an ex student of mine, is the first subject of my 'where did they end up?' series.  Jack is simply a wonderful human being - he is tenacious, driven, humble, talented and an all round good guy!  Jack has graciously updated his timeline...

How to Tie & Untie Pointe Shoes

How to Tie & Untie Pointe Shoes

Watch the below video to find out how you can save precious class time by tying and untying your pointe shoes more efficiently. 1. Start with the outside ribbon, taking it around the ankle to the inside of the ankle. 2. Then take the inside ribbon around the ankle...

Correct Ballet Alignments

Correct Ballet Alignments

I am writing this article to try to impress the importance of the clarity of the different alignments in ballet and specifically how to achieve correct ballet alignments.  All too often, and by this, I mean on a regular basis, I need to correct alignment. Personally,...

Tips to get the best Battement Tendu!

Tips to get the best Battement Tendu!

BATTEMENT TENDU Battement tendu is a battement where the extended foot never leaves the floor. The working foot slides forward, sideways or backwards from fifth or first position to reach the fourth or second position, lifting the heel off the floor and stretching the...

Tips for perfect pliés!

Tips for perfect pliés!

Plié means "bend", from the verb plier, to bend. A smooth and continuous bending of the knees. A bending of the knees outward by a ballet dancer with the back held straight. Generally speaking, your plié can create your first impression, whether it be to an examiner...

How to improve 5th position in ballet

How to improve 5th position in ballet

5TH POSITION IN CLASSICAL BALLET One foot is placed in front of, and in contact with the other, with the heel of one foot aligned with the toe of the other foot. 5TH POSITION ON FLAT Fifth position of the feet should be a classical dancer’s most natural state of...

Mimi Swinton-Beatty

Mimi Swinton-Beatty

Introducing Mimi Swinton-Beatty, a young Sydney dancer currently training at Academy Ballet and additionally under the tutelage of Vicki Attard within Academy Ballet's full time program.  Follow Mimi's steady progression onto pointe through a series of videos at the...

Preparing for Pointe Work – Mimi’s Journey – Introduction

Preparing for Pointe Work – Mimi’s Journey – Introduction

Preparing for pointe work is a very important and essential step in a dancer's career, and can make all the difference in how easily and safely they progress onto pointe. If the right movement patterns are set up in the very beginning this will carry forward into all...

Part 1 – Stage One in Demi-Pointe Shoes

Part 1 – Stage One in Demi-Pointe Shoes

Practicing Stage One in demi-pointe shoes or ballet flats is an ideal way to begin working with the My Beginner Pointe program.  There are many important reasons for this recommendation; 1.  Practicing Stage One in demi-pointe shoes or ballet flats will allow the...

Part 2 – Pre Pointe Assessment

Part 2 – Pre Pointe Assessment

A pointe assessment is an important factor in deciding whether or not a student is ready to progress onto pointe. The pointe assessment may be done by a health professional, such as a Physiotherapist or an experienced dance teacher. Very rarely will a student be ready...

Part 3 – Mimi’s First Pointe Shoes

Part 3 – Mimi’s First Pointe Shoes

Getting your first pointe shoes is always very exciting, and it was wonderful to be able to share the joy of this with Mimi and her mother when they visited Bloch in Bondi Junction. Having an experienced fitter is very important especially for your first pair of shoes...

Dance Australia Review – My Beginner Pointe

Dance Australia Review – My Beginner Pointe

Dance Australia Review - My Beginner Pointe Vicki Attard and Lisa Howell share a philosophy about training for pointe work.  Attard is a former Principal Dancer of the Australian Ballet who is now head of the Semi-Professional Program at Academy Ballet School in...

VMO Strengthening Exercises for Pointe Work

VMO Strengthening Exercises for Pointe Work

Some very important muscles that you need to work on strengthening for pointe work are your inner thighs and your VMO.  Your VMO is the tear drop shaped muscle that sits about 5cm up, and 5cm in from the top of your knee cap.  It is really important for you to be...

Top Tip #20 – Fraying Ribbons

Top Tip #20 – Fraying Ribbons

Fraying ribbons is a common issue amongst younger dancers.  You will often see a thread extending for quite a length, or a ribbon so badly frayed that it is almost too short!!! Stopping ribbons from fraying is an easy one. The first way to stop your ribbons from...

Top Tip #19 – Buying Pointe Shoes Online

Top Tip #19 – Buying Pointe Shoes Online

I have been given permission by my teacher and dance physiotherapist to purchase my first pair of pointe shoes, and was wondering if it is ok to purchase them online? I would definitely NOT recommend buying your first pair of pointe shoes online.  Your first pointe...

Top Tip #18 – Working in Demi-Pointe Shoes

Top Tip #18 – Working in Demi-Pointe Shoes

Do you think it is necessary to work in demi-pointe shoes as a preparation for pointe work? Demi-pointe shoes are designed specifically as a transitional shoe from ballet flats to pointe shoes. However, debate rages on whether they are a necessity, just an extra...

Top Tip #17 – Colouring Pointe Shoes

Top Tip #17 – Colouring Pointe Shoes

I need to have a coloured pair of pointe shoes for my end of year performance, and can’t colour my current pair, what should I do? I suggest a little pre-planning when it comes to colouring pointe shoes.  Instead of throwing away your dead shoes, it is a good idea to...

Top Tip #16 – Relieving Pain After Pointe Work

Top Tip #16 – Relieving Pain After Pointe Work

After a long afternoon of dance rehearsals, your legs and feet need a bit of TLC.  Relieving pain after pointe work is a good idea, so take some time to take care of your feet and lower legs in particular. 1.  Remove your pointe shoes and let your feet recover and...

Top Tip #15 – Making Pointe Shoes Last

Top Tip #15 – Making Pointe Shoes Last

Pointe shoes are an investment, if you take really good care of them, you will reap the dividends and enjoy money well spent. 1. Having a few pairs of pointe shoes to rotate is a good way of making pointe shoes last, but possibly not practical for a student, depending...

Top Tip #14 – Pointe Readiness

Top Tip #14 – Pointe Readiness

The contentious issue of pointe readiness. Young dancers will always wonder why their friend may be ready for going en pointe before they are. This decision is usually taken quite personally, and shouldn’t be, because often the variables are out of your control....

Top Tip #13 – Switching Shoe Styles

Top Tip #13 – Switching Shoe Styles

Young dancers often think that they should stick to the one style of shoe, however, as we are spoilt for choice, I think it is a wise idea to switch shoe styles until you find the style that suits you best. I think switching shoe styles whilst you are a student is a...

Top Tip #12 – Switching Pointe Shoes

Top Tip #12 – Switching Pointe Shoes

Have you ever tried to switch your pointe shoes from left to right for some reason?  It can be done, but there are a few practical things you may need to consider first. Switching pointe shoes from left to right is possible, however, in order to do this successfully,...

Top Tip #11 – Attaching Elastoribs

Top Tip #11 – Attaching Elastoribs

Elastoribs are a fantastic invention for reducing the amount of tension on the achilles tendon, particularly if dancers tie their ribbons on far too tightly. There are a few handy tips that are well worth considering before you start attaching elastoribs; When you...

Top Tip #10 – The Life Of A Pointe Shoe

Top Tip #10 – The Life Of A Pointe Shoe

Have you ever wondered how many pointe shoes a professional dancer goes through in a day/week or month?  This article may give you some insight into the lives of dancers and their beloved pointe shoes. The life of a pointe shoe depends wholly on the extent of pointe...

Top Tip #9 – Hammer Toes and Pointe Work

Top Tip #9 – Hammer Toes and Pointe Work

Do you or someone you know have a hammer toe?  Should a dancer be discouraged from attempting pointe work if the difference between the length of the second toe and the big toe is great?  Having a longer second toe or a hammer toe should not discourage you from...

Top Tip #8 – Preparing Toes For Pointe Work

Top Tip #8 – Preparing Toes For Pointe Work

Preparing toes for pointe work is always a good idea.  I’ll never forget my first bloodstained toe pad!!!  There’s no doubt that the difference between a pointe shoe and a soft ballet flat is massive, which is exactly why preparing your toes properly is so important....

Top Tip #7- Podiatry And Pointe Work

Top Tip #7- Podiatry And Pointe Work

Podiatry and pointe work can be a really beneficial combination.  Podiatry is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and the lower leg.  Going en pointe for the first time is a sign of a dancer’s maturation...

Top Tip #6 – Pointe Shoe Padding

Top Tip #6 – Pointe Shoe Padding

It is known that some ballet teachers prefer their students not to wear pointe shoe padding for a number of reasons, some of which I will discuss further.   I am of the opinion that these types of decisions need to be made by the student herself through a series of...

Top Tip #5 – Breaking In Your First Pointe Shoes

Top Tip #5 – Breaking In Your First Pointe Shoes

"Breaking in" your first pointe shoes is often very misunderstood.  My firm belief is if you are genuinely strong enough to be en pointe and you have purchased a pair of pointe shoes specifically designed for a beginner en pointe, then you should only need to soften...

Top Tip #4 – First Pointe Shoe Fitting

Top Tip #4 – First Pointe Shoe Fitting

Your first pointe shoe fitting is quite possibly the most important part of going en pointe.  It goes without saying that you should be fitted by an experienced shoe fitter, and I recommend you make a prior appointment to ensure there is ample time.  There are many...

Top Tip #3 – Dead Pointe Shoes

Top Tip #3 – Dead Pointe Shoes

You may often hear a dancer say that their pointe shoes are ‘dead’.  Sounds rather strange, since they were never ‘alive’.  Although, if you are ever lucky enough to observe a pair of pointe shoes being made from scratch, it seems they do have quite ‘a life’.  ...

Top Tip #2 – Maintaining Pointe Shoes

Top Tip #2 – Maintaining Pointe Shoes

Maintaining pointe shoes in good condition is about constant maintenance.  Let’s face it, pointe shoes are rather expensive, and we should do all we can to keep them in tip top condition.  The first step to maintaining pointe shoes is to use a small nail brush to...

Top Tip #1 – Pointe Shoe Ribbon Placement

Top Tip #1 – Pointe Shoe Ribbon Placement

Are you confused about your pointe shoe ribbon placement? It seems there are many varied opinions on the subject, but really, they are either too far forward, too far back, or just right. Only you will be able to correctly position the ribbons on your shoes. Pointe...

The Progression of Pointe Work

The Progression of Pointe Work

I am of the personal opinion that the progression of pointe work is not accelerating at the rate it could be, particularly if you consider the rate at which pointe shoes have improved and continue to improve, including the special modifications like varying shank...

Cinderella Synopsis and Fun Facts

Cinderella Synopsis and Fun Facts

The only Cinderella I ever performed was choreographed by Stanton Welch in 1997.  It was one of a very long list of ballets that I performed with David McAllister.  In very typical Stanton style, the pas de deux were staggeringly beautiful and incredibly difficult,...

Full Time Ballet Training in Germany – A Chat with Jack

Full Time Ballet Training in Germany – A Chat with Jack

I would like to introduce a former student of mine, Jack Stromland, who is currently attending full time ballet training in Germany.  Jack was a student of my Semi Professional Program for two years, in which time he made incredible progress.  I had an informal chat...

Noise Phobic Dancer

Noise Phobic Dancer

I thought I might tell you all about how and why I developed my intrinsic foot muscles – The simple reason was that I couldn’t bear hearing myself dance, and would go to great lengths to reduce my own noise level.  I was a noise phobic dancer!!  Unconsciously, I was...

La Sylphide Synopsis and Fun Facts

I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship for overseas travel in 1995. As part of my journey, I went to the Royal Danish Ballet to be coached by world renowned Danish ballerina - Lis Jeppesen. This short period of my career was very special, I worked very...

2013 Dancer Profiles

2013 Dancer Profiles

2013 Dancer Profiles is all about celebrating dancers who have done the hard yards in the ballet studio and finally realised their dream.  As teachers, it is commonplace that students enter our lives stage right and exit stage left, very rarely are they ever centre...

Marina Bull – A Dancer Profile

Marina Bull – A Dancer Profile

I would like to introduce Marina Bull - A Dancer Profile.  I first met Marina as one of my 'My Pointe' and open class students.  Marina Bull is one of the most tenacious and driven dancers I know, she is willing to tackle anything head on no matter what the...

An Evening at the Ballet

An Evening at the Ballet

A little research goes a long way; If you are planning on attending an evening at the ballet, it is a good idea to do a little research on the storyline, particularly if it is a full length ballet. Ballet is generally conveyed through the body, without dialogue, so...

Ballet Grooming Tips

Ballet Grooming Tips

Ballet Grooming Tips are an essential part of being performance ready.  Beautifully manicured nails, the perfect bun, skin coloured straps etc. can all make a profound difference to the way you look onstage.  When we work so hard to perfect our ballet technique, why...

‘My Pointe’ Testimonials

‘My Pointe’ Testimonials

Below are some 'My Pointe' Testimonials for your enjoyment, they may also give you a genuine insight from teachers within Australia and abroad. ‘My Pointe’ DVD/CD is a unique program specifically designed by Vicki Attard to increase sensitivity, develop control,...

Today’s Pointe Work

Today’s Pointe Work

The way in which today's pointe work is performed is not subjective. It is either executed well, or it isn’t. We simply cannot have a personal or biased opinion about the way in which it is performed, unlike our opinions on individual dancers. For example, it would be...

Macbeth Kanera

Macbeth Kanera

NAME; MACBETH KANĚRA AGE; 21 TRAINING; Valerie Jenkins, Woollahra Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy Academy Ballet Semi Professional Program RAD EXAMS; Advanced II (Distinction) CECCHETTI EXAMS; Advanced II (Honours) FORMAL TRAINING; The Australian Ballet...

The Importance of Character Class

The Importance of Character Class

I feel very strongly about the importance of character class, and believe it is an integral part of a dancer’s training and development. Thankfully it is still widely practiced and diligently studied at all major dance institutions in Australia and worldwide.  I have...

The Best Beginner Pointe Shoe

The Best Beginner Pointe Shoe

If you are a beginner en pointe, it is preferable to have a short to medium vamp length, rather than a long one. The reason for this is to enable you to attain full contact with the platform on the floor with relative ease. (However, the shape of your foot and...

Gymnastics and Ballet

Gymnastics and Ballet

Gymnastics and ballet can compliment each other, particularly in the dancer’s initial years. Some of the most advantageous aspects of gymnastics for a young dancer would be increased flexibility, core strength and improved balance. Tumbling and work on high bars is...

Glossary of Pointe Terms

Glossary of Pointe Terms

It can be a little overwhelming when you enter the world of pointe work, as there are lots of words used that you may not be used to! This page explains the glossary of pointe terms that are used when talking about pointe shoes, to help you understand exactly what...

How Can I Stop Blisters En Pointe?

How Can I Stop Blisters En Pointe?

I have been asked 'How Can I Stop Blisters En Pointe' all too often which has prompted me to write the reasons for the occurrence of the blisters and prevention methods.  Friction between your toes and your pointe shoe will typically result in blisters en pointe. The...

Matching Ballet Tights With Pointe Shoes

Matching Ballet Tights With Pointe Shoes

Matching ballet tights with pointe shoes may be a personal choice, a ballet company policy or artistic director's wish or simply your teacher's preference; however, if you do decide to matt your pointe shoes, there are a number of factors that you may need to...