If a student does not have good flexibility through the ankle, and cannot pointe her foot properly, does this mean that she will never be able to go en pointe? I mainly work with Irish dancers. Can Students With Restricted Range Ever Go En Pointe?
Thank you for your question and restricted range is a difficult issue to address with some young dancer’s. I do not believe that dancer should go onto pointe if they have less than -5˚ of pointe range. Pointe work should be considered as a possibility for some dancers rather than inevitability. I feel that a lot of people expect to go en pointe when this is very much something that requires a certain foot shape and a certain amount of control to be able to work properly. This is definitely in regard to ballet performance.
When it comes to Irish dancer’s I am not 100% sure of what they actually do en pointe. It may be more appropriate for Irish dancer’s to be sitting back slightly when en pointe, however I do believe that if girls do have significant trouble with mobility through their feet and ankles this is an area they must work on before progressing onto pointe. If the required range is not there the dancer will tend to use other muscles a little more than they should be and this can result in overuse injuries through the feet and ankles. As advised for Classical Ballet, I would definitely not progress any student with a pointe range of less than -5˚ and ideally 0˚. It is very important that the dancer’s foot is in an aligned position while she is working en pointe to reduce the risk of significant injury.