Dance, Movement

To the Pointe

I used to think it was not possible for adults to learn to dance on pointes (or do the splits!), unless they had already practised it extensively as kids.

I was also convinced that if I WERE to attempt to learn it, not only would it not work out, I would also be sure to ruin my feet in the process.

These thoughts kept me from even considering asking my teacher about pointe classes, even though I’ve always loved ballet, and even though I have been taking classes as an adult now for more than a decade.

Today, at 39, I’m in my second year of taking pointe classes, learning 3 group choreographies, and breaking in my second pair of pointe shoes. I love it.

I go to pointe class twice a week, plus I practise extra at home whenever I can swing it, and my feet are totally fine.

So, what has happened?

The thing that eventually made me reconsider my point(e) of view, was taking up TaeKwonDo (Korean Martial Arts) about 3 years ago.

In TKD class, we are continually encouraged and challenged to move in totally new – or rather, long forgotten(!) – to us ways.

This has somehow (re-)jolted my physical learning abilities, and – even more importantly – it has re-expanded my views on what is possible in the learning department as an adult.

After about a year of Taekwondo, I started noticing how movement sequences and skills that previously had felt very awkward or seemed completely undoable were gradually becoming easier, more attainable, and even fluid.

It made me think.

If I can learn how to do this… then what else can I do?

This thought opened me up to the idea that learning might be infinite. That there is no age limit on a person’s physical and mental development.

After this personal epiphany, I gathered all my courage, and I asked my ballet teacher after the next class whether she thought it would be doable for me to take up her daughters’s beginners pointe classes, which had been advertised that week on a note on the studio wall.

To my shock, horror and surprise she said: ‘Yes. It will take a bit of work, but.. Sure!’

My world view shifted. I drove home that day feeling like something deeply magical had just happened.

(Note: my next mission – finding the exactly-right-for-me pointe shoes – turned out to be even more of an adventure than I had anticipated. More on that in the next dance post!)

So, how about you? Is there anything you are learning right now that you previously thought would be ‘unpossible’?

If you knew you could learn anything, what would you want to try?


4 thoughts on “To the Pointe

    1. Thank you. I am writing, in part, because there has been too much inspiration happening since the MoveSpiration weekend (I need to share it so I can make room for more! haha) and in part because I enjoy reading as well as writing, and to post (or at least think about) a daily thought on movement is great practise for me to find my voice in writing, too.

      Glad you enjoyed the read! I hope it stirs good things 🙂

  1. I felt the same way when I started doing the advanced choreographies for irish dance which include toe stands and toe walks (similar to pointe work). And now I’m heading of to the german open championships doing exactly those things

    1. Oh wow, that is amazing!

      Do you remember the exact moment where it (the idea that it might indeed be possible to learn it) ‘clicked’?

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