To the pointe: Muscle People

For ballerinas the world over it’s a much longed for moment; after years of watching “the big girls” – the time for learning to dance en pointe finally arrives. However, behind that stunning grace and beauty of a dancer en pointe is an incredible strength and technique.



Because adolescent growth is a time of rapid change, 12-year-olds vary in strength, so age alone does not determine whether a dancer is ready to train en pointe.

Classical ballet training places a force four times body weight through the foot, and this increases to twelve times when dancing en pointe.

Stiff ankles and feet can make it difficult to get onto pointe, putting added strain on muscles and joints. Hyper-mobile knees, ankles or feet mean muscles have to work harder to control the alignment that is required to avoid injury.

Dancing with poor posture, decreased strength or incorrect technique can lead to a higher risk of injury and decrease confidence.

Muscle People are proud to introduce their new Pre-Pointe Assessment: a series of tests and measures of a young dancer’s strength, balance, posture, and alignment.

Conducted by a physiotherapist, the assessment identifies if a dancer is ready to progress to pointe training and can reduce the risk of injury.

The team has developed a checklist of four items, based on the International Association of Dance and Medical Science Guidelines for Initiating Pointe Training.

The ballerina should:
• Be aged 12 years or over
• Be attending at least two ballet classes per week
• Have completed four plus years of ballet training
• Complete a pre-pointe assessment

Muscle People Physiotherapy has been providing world-class physiotherapy in Christchurch for over 20 years.

The extensive range of services includes preventive screenings to identify predisposition to injury for all sports, and provide a programme of techniques and therapy to help you avoid injury.


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