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 highly unlikely to dislike pointe work performed with sensitivity, control and relative ease, regardless of whether you like the particular dancer performing it or not.
Dancers present in varying shapes and sizes, and we, as individuals, naturally prefer a certain type of dancer and/or body shape. It never ceases to amaze me how vast our opinions vary on the topic of dancers, even between close colleagues! Opinions between teachers vary, and this ascends up the ladder to the Ballet Masters and finally to the Artistic Directors of both minor and major ballet companies the world over.
Returning to subject of today’s pointe work, I think we would all agree that jumping on to pointe and collapsing down takes minimal effort, conversely, executing a relevé from the base of the heel with a strong action and alighting with control and sensitivity, is the preferred method. Pointe work not only requires strong feet and ankles, but can also be supported and accelerated if other areas of the body are distributing the workload. The other areas that can assist are; the core, vmo’s (vastus medialis oblique), toes, metatarsals and the top of the leg or the turnout muscles that sit right underneath the leotard. If all these areas are working, it stands to reason that the workload of the ankles and feet are dramatically reduced.
If the abovementioned muscle groups distribute the workload more evenly, the dancer will be far less susceptible to injury and be able to exceed beyond their initial expectations.
Written by; Vicki Attard