Getting that first pair of pointe shoes is a momentous occasion in a young dancer’s career. However, the developing feet of the junior dancer need to be strong enough and flexible enough to be able to manage this difficult technique.
Ensuring that a young dancer is suitable to progress to dancing en pointe is a critical step where it is vital to have an experienced health practitioners input.
Progressing too quickly may leave the dancer at risk of injury or hamper their development and enjoyment as a dancer.
For this reason, Ballet dancers should have a pre-pointe assessment in preparation for their pointe work training.
A pre-pointe assessment is an appointment a young dancer has with a health practitioner to assess their suitability to progress to dancing en pointe.
Essentially the practitioner takes the dancer through a series of tests and exercises to ensure that they have the physical capacity and technique to progress safely into their new shoes!
Ideally a pre-pointe assessment should take place 3-6 months before a dancer wishes to begin their pointe classes, however, it is never too late! An early assessment enables dancers to have adequate time to address any areas requiring further physical conditioning.
No matter the dancers experience, a pre-pointe assessment is a useful screening protocol aimed at ensuring a dancer is safe and has the physical capability to progress to dancing en pointe.
Assessments are conducted by CSSM Physiotherapist Kelsey Thomas, a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. Kelsey has many years experience as a dancer herself and has a special clinical interest in dance injury and management.
The Pre-pointe Assessment session begins by compiling information about the dancer. This includes their dancing history, goals as a dancer, longevity of their training, growth development and previous injury profile. From there the dancer will perform a range of tasks and exercises designed to assess their technique, looking specifically at strength, flexibility and range of motion. At CSSM we also utilise the latest technology in our assessments. Using high-speed motion capture, your ballet technique can be analysed at 960 frames per second to detect any biomechanical faults. From there, an assessment is made on the dancer’s suitability to progress to pointe work.
The appointment will take approximately one hour. There will be time for feedback and for you to ask any questions. If you would like time to warm-up before your assessment it is a good idea to arrive a little early and let our receptionist know when you arrive.
What should I bring to the appointment?
Dancers should wear comfortable clothing such as you would wear to a dance class. Most dancers wear leggings or shorts which is ideal for your CSSM practitioner to see your legs. Also you will need to bring in all your current dance shoes.
Once the appointment is complete, the practitioner will write a comprehensive report for you and your dance teacher. If all the exercises were completed satisfactorily there is no need for follow-up appointments and you are ready to begin pointe work.
If your practitioner recommends that you need to improve in some areas, they will develop a plan to address your needs. This may involve a home exercise program to work on, or we may recommend you come in for practitioner supervised strength classes. The practitioner will then schedule a follow up appointment with the dancer to reassess the areas of concerns. She will then send the report to your teacher explaining that you are ready to commence pointe work.
The team at Camberwell Sports & Spinal Medicine have developed expertise over several years of working with adolescent dancers understanding the rigours of performance and practice which creates an injury risk profile unique to participants. The team has formed a detailed understanding of the management and treatment of these lower limb injuries.
Our passion is making sure our dancers are ready for the demands of ballet en pointe. We are well aware that rushing this process can be problematic for the dancer and hinder their progress so we are comprehensive in guiding you through the process to ensure your dance progresses to en pointe safely.
At CSSM we have facilities ideal for dancing. Our dedicated space fitted with mirrors, barre and sprung floor is reserved for dance assessments.
Physiotherapist Kelsey Thomas is our primary practitioner for Pre – Pointe Assessments.
Appointments can be made with Kelsey by calling the clinic on 9889 1078. Alternatively, appointments can be made via our online portal at our website.
A comprehensive pre-pointe assessment can take between 30 – 40 minutes. We allow an hour for this appointment to enable time to go through the results of the testing and formulate a plan with the dancer. Any follow up appointments (if required) will be standard 30 minute appointments.
Bring any scans, correspondence, and reports from your health practitioner or dance teacher.
Dancers should wear comfortable clothing such as you would wear to a dance class. Most dancers wear leggings or shorts which is ideal for our practitioners to see your legs and hips. Also you will need to bring in all your current dance shoes
Not at all. We work closely with many dance teachers and instructors who are seeking the best care for their dancers, however a referral isn’t necessary. All you need to do is call to make an appointment.
Depending on your level of cover our treatment is covered under the ancillary or extras cover of most major health insurers.
Camberwell Sports & Spinal Medicine is able to offer “on the spot” rebates via HICAPS.
The pre-pointe assessment costs $191. The cost of the appointment also includes your comprehensive report prepared for you and your teacher; as well as videos of any exercises you may need to practice to prepare for ballet en pointe. Services may be claimable on private health insurance if you have appropriate extras cover.