With the opening of the new dance studio, ballet is going from strength-to-strength at Lambrook.

We have been able to introduce more timetabled sessions for our Pre Prep dancers during their PE lessons, plus new advanced sessions for our older students.  We have seen more boys join classes and are looking to offer masterclasses incorporating strength and body conditioning as well as giving the children an understanding of how the body works in relation to dance.

However, perhaps the most exciting development is we have our first ever student ‘en pointe’, with several more hoping to achieve this within the year.

When thinking about ballet, the image conjured up is a ballerina pirouetting across the stage in pointe shoes and a beautiful tutu, and for the young dancer, this image is the culmination of their dream and represents a sense of achievement and reward for their determination. But, there is a lot for both the teacher and student to evaluate when considering introducing pointe shoes.

Students develop the skills for pointe work at different rates, some are ready from as early as 11 years old, but others a lot later, and others not suited to it all.  The key consideration is whether the young dancer has good strength and the teacher must be sure that they have the technique and ability to take proper instruction to avoid injury.

From the student’s point of view, they must have determination and dedication.  Dancing ‘en pointe’ is not achieved instantaneously.  They must show a developed work ethic, be focused, showing a positive attitude in class and for the demands of the training ahead.  A proper warm-up before each session is essential and as well as this, they need to be able to have the maturity to know when they are becoming fatigued and pushing themselves too much.

Being told that they are ready to go en pointe is one of the most exciting times of a ballet dancer’s life and our young dancers are certainly relishing the opportunity.  We all look forward to watching them ‘Relevé’ over the coming months and hope that they enjoy their journey.

Jennifer Bartram, Performing Arts Centre Manager

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