What is pre-pointe training?

As dancers get ready to go on pointe, they need to focus on developing the strength and technique that will be necessary for pointe work. Some teachers offer pre-pointe as a special class. Others integrate it into regular ballet class during the pre-pointe year. Either way, pre-pointe training should include special exercises for building strength and flexibility in the feet, ankles and legs. Classes might include a variety of exercises at the barre, at center floor and on the floor, and the teacher might use exercise bands for certain exercises.

Dancers also need adequate core strength and proper alignment to be able to go on pointe successfully and safely, so pre-pointe training should include focus on the torso and entire body as well as the feet and legs.

To help dancers make a smooth and gradual transition into beginning pointe, some teachers use special shoes during pre-pointe training. Demi-pointe shoes, also called pre-pointe or shankless shoes, are constructed like pointe shoes but without a shank (the stiff, supportive part of the sole). In demi-pointe shoes, the dancer is able to experience the feel of a toe box, before they are expected to rise to full pointe.