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J Dance Med Sci. 2010;14(3):82-8.

Functional criteria for assessing pointe-readiness.

Author information

1
Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York, New York 10003, USA. megan.richardson@nyumc.org

Abstract

The most popular criterion cited in the dance literature for advancement to pointe work is attainment of the chronological age of 12 years. However, dancers at this age vary greatly in terms of musculoskeletal maturity and motor skill development. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether objective, functional tests could be used in conjunction with dance teacher expertise to determine pointe-readiness. It was hypothesized that dynamic tests of motor control can better indicate pointe-readiness than chronological age alone or in combination with static musculoskeletal measurements. Thirty-seven pre-pointe students from two professional ballet schools were tested for muscular strength, ankle joint range of motion, single leg standing balance, dynamic alignment, and turning skill. In addition, the participating students' ballet teachers independently graded each student on her readiness to begin dancing en pointe. Performance on three functional tests (the Airplane test, Sauté test, and Topple test) was closely associated with teacher subjective rating for pointe-readiness. It is concluded that these tests may be more useful for gauging acquisition of the skills required for safe and successful performance than the traditionally accepted indicators of chronological age, years of dance training, and ankle joint range of motion.

PMID:
21067685
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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