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 Sydney, while Howell is a dance physiotherapist. They have collaborated on this 4 CD set, My Beginner Pointe to bridge “the gap between your first pair of shoes and pre-professional training.”

So careful and thorough is this program that the first CD begins with no pointe work at all.  Instead Howell details some basic strengthening exercises for the feet and the body which, as she says are useful as a warm up at any stage of a dancer’s career. Turnout, knee and core abdominal muscles are identified and isolated as are muscles of the feet. On Disc 2 the correct fitting of shoes is explained, as are the mysteries of “breaking them in” and tying ribbons. From here on Attard takes over, the class work she has designed develops from barre work (facing and holding on) with great attention to working through the demi and three quarter pointe, through to centre work, which finishes at it’s most advanced with pique turns en dedans and en dehors.

The fourth and final CD is an audio CD of the musical accompaniment (familiar ballet music beautifully played and arranged by Franz Weindl).

My Beginner Pointe is designed as a “prequel” to Attard’s earlier My Pointe DVD, in which the exercises are more advanced. Howell has previously published The Perfect Pointe Book.

The exercises are demonstrated by the beautifully groomed pupils Millie Garrick, Imogen Hoile, Francesca Guerrera and Emily McDougall.

This CD set is highly recommended for pupils, teachers and parents.

Written by:  Karen Van Ulzen