Pointe Terminology

Pointe terminology

What pointe terminology should parents know?

As your daughter progresses in pointe work, you will learn a great deal of ballet terminology!

Here are a few terms that will come in handy as you get started:

Achilles tendon The largest tendon in the body, running from the heel bone into the calf.

Arch The curve of the sole of the foot.

Bunion Deformity and inflammation of the big toe joint, often very painful. Proper pointe fitting and training help dancers avoid or delay bunion development. (Read about bunion prevention.)

Instep The curve of the top of the foot.

Metatarsal area The metatarsals are five long bones connecting the heel and toes. “Metatarsal area” refers to the joint between the metatarsals and the toes, where the toes bend at the ball of the foot.

Demi-pointe/half-pointe Standing and dancing on the balls of the feet.

On flat Standing and dancing with the entire sole of the foot or shoe on the floor.

On pointe Standing and dancing on the tips of the toes; also called en pointe (“ahn pwent”).

Relevé Rising from flat to demi-pointe or pointe.

Rolling to pointe/rolling through Passing through demi-pointe on the way from flat to pointe.

Springing to pointe Rising to pointe with minimal roll-through, almost as if jumping onto the toes.

Barre Handrail for balance during ballet exercises; to be held lightly, not gripped or leaned on.

Breaking-in Softening and molding pointe shoes to the foot.

Core strength Muscular strength throughout the torso, including the abdomen, back and pelvis.

Plié Bending the knees with correct ballet posture.

Pulling up Coordinated usage of muscles throughout the body to elevate, not sink, for proper technical development and reducing strain on the muscles and joints of the back, legs and feet.

Pre-pointe Special exercises and guidance that target the technique and strength needed for pointe work; may be offered within ballet class or as a separate class, using ballet slippers or demi-pointe shoes.

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