Starting en pointe is such a huge milestone for any ballet dancer. It is such an exciting and momentous part of life that people often forget the associated risks and stresses that the body will be put under from this moment on. While Pointe is a magnificent and highly respected art form, it is important to remember that it is not a normal human function. As a result, starting en pointe greatly increases the risk of injury, which makes a Pre Pointe assessment vital.
In the initial Pre Pointe Assessment, the physiotherapist will assess the dancer in detail to determine if the dancer is ready for pointe. This 40-minute-long assessment includes assessing posture, pointe range, foot control, turn out range, and core and pelvic stability. It involves assessing control through a series of ballet positions. On completion of the assessment, a report will be written and given to the ballet teacher, and the dancer will be prescribed a set of specific exercises to work on between the initial and follow up appointments.
It is important to note that if the dancer is deemed not ready on their first appointment, it is not because they are incompetent, but it is a chance to empower them with the knowledge and tools needed for a successful and injury-free career!
After working on the given exercises, the dancer returns for a re-assessment to determine progress. It may take as little as 1 appointment, or up to 5 appointments before the dancer satisfies all the components required to safely progress to being on pointe. Factors that determine how long it may take include current level of training, history of previous injuries and commitment to their home exercise program.
It does not just end here. We are invested in seeing the dancer through to a safe transition from pre-pointe to en-pointe. We will continue to see the dancer while en-pointe for a further 2-3 months to ensure no injuries occur after the transition.
Whether the dancer plans to practice ballet just for a few years as a hobby or has an ambition to become a professional ballerina, it is vital to remember that they only have one body for the rest of their life. By investing in physiotherapy, this will ensure correct technique and biomechanics to minimize injuries and allow optimal long-term health of the body. As physiotherapist, we aim to make the dancer a specialist of their own body!
If you or anyone you know are transitioning into en-pointe, Back in Motion Werribee offers thorough pre-pointe assessments with a complete written report at the end of each session to ensure a safe and seamless transition to en-pointe.
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