George Balanchine was a master of choreography on pointe and was the one who created the "baby ballerina." He is reported to have said

“that there was no reason to get a young dancer up on full pointe if she could not do anything when she got up there!

It is VERY important that you are at least 12 years or older. Why?

Children's bones are extremely immature and soft. While we grow and develop, our bones go through the same process. If you were able to look at a young persons bones, you would see that there is cartilage and not bone at each of the ends, these are called the growth plates. These growth plates will not finish growing until much later in your life, usually around 21 years old.

As you reach 12-13 years, the foot growth will start to slow down, and the hardening process will begin. This normally coincides with the onset of menstruation or your second growth spurt. When periods begin the hormone oestrogen is secreted by your body, it is this hormone that will keep your bones healthy, strong and solid.  

Are you also emotionally ready to start?

Starting pointe work will be very demanding on your feet & body. Pointe work is very hard work, so you need to be prepared for your feet and body to ache during and after class.

Pointe shoes demand a certain level of responsibility to maintain, you must care for them properly to keep them in good condition so as they keep protecting your feet. Choosing to dance en pointe is a decision that should be taken very seriously.

Waiting to go on Pointe can be frustrating, but be patient it will be worth it in the end.


The foot at 4 years old. Note the big space filled with soft cartilage between the bones of the forefoot and those of the toes and the epiphyses (These are layers of cartilage in a bone that has not completed it's growth)of the bones of the toes appearing as flat discs and separated from the main shaft 


The foot at 11 years old. Note the forefoot bones are now less widely separated from the toes, but the ends of the bones are still not joined to the shaft of the bones at the toes


The Foot at 19 years old.  The bones of the toes are now in one piece and the space between the forefoot and toe bones is finally reduced. (Note also in this illustration there is a small degree of hallux valgus (bunions), showing the typical displacement of the upper end of the first metatarsal bone


An Xray of how it looks standing en pointe