Every little girl dreams of it...her first pair of beautiful, pink, satin pointe shoes!
(For parents that want to sound cool with the dance lingo, be sure to call them POINTE shoes, not toe shoes!)
One of the most common questions young ballet students have is the infamous 'When can I dance on my toes?'
While even our tiniest dancers love to show off their talents by rising up on their toes in bare feet to demonstrate what they just learned on "Angelina Ballerina", this certainly will make any dance instructor cringe on the inside.
The art of a dancer performing on her toes was developed in the early 1800s to show her defying gravity and to appear as if she was floating in the air. Years later, shoes were created and female dancers performing 'en pointe' as we know it today became a standard among all ballerinas.
However, graduating to this standard of dance goes well beyond an age requirement for any student. Pointe technique requires intense muscle strength in the toes, feet, and especially ankles. Several years of training in 'soft shoe' or 'flat' ballet shoes is necessary to ensure proper technique and development have occurred. Without this, our young dancers are at risk for serious injury!
So while dancing en pointe is what defines ballet for most students, it is an experience that is worth the wait!