Embarking on the journey of pointe work is an exciting milestone for young dancers. However, it is essential to approach this transition with careful preparation and consideration.Pointe work requires a solid foundation of strength, flexibility, balance, and maturity. In this blog, we will explore the necessary steps and guidelines for young dancers who aspire to start pointe, emphasizing the importance of a well-rounded preparation period.

Ballet dancer standing en pointe

The Timeframe:

Transitioning to dancing on the point of your toes is not an overnight process; it requires diligent preparation over an extended period. It is recommended that dancers begin preparing at least 12 to 18 months before they are assessed for pointe readiness, meaning this process may need to start as early as 9 or 10 years of age. This timeframe allows for gradual development, ensuring the dancer’s body is adequately prepared for the physical demands of this type of work.

Building Strength:

Such a small base of support demands specific levels of core, ankle, and overall body strength. It is crucial for young dancers to focus on strengthening these areas to prevent injuries and maintain stability while dancing en pointe. Engaging in regular ballet classes, supplemented with targeted strength training exercises, can significantly contribute to the development of the required muscular foundation.

Flexibility and Range of Motion:

Achieving optimal flexibility is another crucial aspect of preparation. Flexibility in the ankles, feet, and lower limbs is essential to execute movements en pointe gracefully and safely. Dancers should incorporate stretching exercises into their daily routine, paying particular attention to the calves, Achilles tendons, and feet. Ankle mobility exercises, such as pointing and flexing the feet and working with TheraBand’s, can help improve range of motion.

Balance and Stability:

Maintaining proper balance and stability is essential for performing on pointe. Dancers should focus on exercises that improve their proprioception, or the awareness of their body in space. Practicing one-legged balances, relevés, and controlled movements that challenge stability can greatly enhance a dancer’s ability to execute pointe work effectively.Ballet dancer graphic showing sore foot


Preventing Future Injuries:

One of the most significant reasons for emphasizing the importance of proper preparation for pointe work is to prevent injuries in the future. The physical demands of dancing en pointe put considerable stress on the body, particularly the feet, ankles, and lower limbs. By taking the time to develop core strength, ankle strength, flexibility, and balance, dancers can reduce the risk of injuries such as sprains, stress fractures, and tendonitis. Building a solid foundation of strength and technique early on provides dancers with the necessary stability and resilience to navigate the challenges of pointe work more safely. It is crucial to prioritize injury prevention during the preparation phase to ensure dancers can enjoy a long and fulfilling dance career. By prioritizing injury prevention through proper preparation, young dancers can minimize the likelihood of developing long-term injuries or chronic issues associated with pointe work. It is essential to understand that rushing into pointe work without adequate physical readiness can lead to serious consequences. By following the recommended guidelines, seeking professional guidance, and maintaining a dedicated training routine, young dancers can embark on their pointe journey with confidence, knowing that they have taken the necessary steps to protect their bodies and set the stage for a fulfilling and injury-free dance career.

Seeking Professional Guidance:

To ensure a safe and successful transition into pointe work, it is highly recommended for young dancers to seek the guidance of professionals such as physiotherapists and exercise physiologists. These experts can assess the dancer’s physical readiness, identify areas for improvement, screen for potential injury risks and design personalised exercises and training plans. Their expertise is invaluable in minimizing the risk of injuries and optimizing the dancer’s progress.

Assessment Sessions and Home Exercises:

Transitioning to pointe work often involves a series of assessment sessions to evaluate a dancer’s readiness. These sessions may include physical assessments, such as strength and flexibility tests, as well as an evaluation of technique and overall maturity. Based on the assessment results, targeted exercises and training plans will be provided to the dancer to practice at home. Consistency and commitment to these exercises are crucial for progress.

Education for Parents and Students:

Parents play an essential role in supporting young dancers on their pointe journey. It is important for parents to educate themselves about the demands, risks, and benefits of pointe work. By understanding the process, they can provide the necessary emotional support and encouragement for their child. Dancers should also actively engage in learning about proper pointe technique, injury prevention, and self-care practices.


Preparing for pointe work is an exciting and transformative process for young dancers. By focusing on core strength, ankle strength, flexibility and balance, dancers can ensure a solid foundation before beginning their pointe training. Collaborating with professionals, engaging in assessment sessions, and practicing targeted exercises at home are essential components of this journey. With careful preparation and dedication, young dancers can embark on their en pointe adventure with confidence and grace.

Exercise Physiologist Julie Wright with a patient

Written by Exercise Physiologist Julie Wright, who works at Hills Physiotherapy Rowville. Julie has special interest in Dance performance, particularly Ballet, and seeks to support the incredibly strong Rowville Dance community. Book in today for your Pointe assessment!