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 lengths and strengths, last shapes, heel heights, vamp lengths, shapes and the extensive variety of makes. We certainly can’t blame our tool! These nagging thoughts were my initial prompt to develop the ‘My Pointe’ program, and subsequently the ‘My Beginner Pointe’ program alongside Lisa Howell. I am extremely passionate about the progression of pointe work and genuinely wish that there were such programs when I was a developing student. In my student years, I had very little knowledge of what muscles groups I was utilising and what muscle groups needed strengthening to accelerate my progression. The years I spent as a professional dancer were somewhat the same, I accepted my weaknesses, believing that they were part of who I was, and could not be changed. My professional touring schedule at the time was incredibly heavy, leaving little to no time to indulge in changing patterns or habits in my classical technique.
How much can we change about our bodies?
There are some things that are impossible to change about our bodies, like our height and limb length, but other things can be altered, like muscle shapes, flexibility and strength. The first step which is paramount to changing habit, is awareness.
What can we do?
I believe we can vastly improve the progression of pointe work, particularly at a student level, however, we need to address it correctly and wholeheartedly. I have witnessed the results of ‘My Pointe’ program over the past 14 years, therefore I am certain it is extremely effective. I run 75 minute ‘My Pointe’ classes three times a week, and I have never witnessed complacency amongst the dancers or myself for that matter. I continue to increase the technical difficulty of each exercise in accordance with the student, and the dancers continue to rise to the next challenge. My dream is to see the standard of pointe work elevate through a concentrated effort from teachers and students alike. I have done my utmost to produce a proven program with inspiring music, now I hand it over to you to facilitate my dream and make it reality.
Written by; Vicki Attard