Step 1: 

Tie your hair up in a neat and secure ponytail.

Step 2: 

Take the end of the ponytail and twist it.

Step 3: 

Wrap the twisted ponytail tightly around the origin.

Step 4: 

To finish, wrap your bun with a hairnet, secure it with bobby pins or clips. Use hair grips and clips to secure loose strands of hair.

Illustration by Valerie Yeo, Dancer at Singapore Dance Theatre

Step 1: 

At the arch of your foot, make a pencil mark on your shoe.

Step 2: 

Sew one ribbon on each side of your shoe.

Step 3: 

When you tie your pointe shoes, the ribbons should pull up your arch.

Step 4A: 

Single Elastic — One elastic across the heel for each shoe.

Step 4B: 

Double Elastic — Two elastics across the arch of the heel.

Illustration by Valerie Yeo, Dancer at Singapore Dance Theatre

When am I ready for pointe?

The general recommendation for girls who want to start pointe is to be at least 12 years old, so the bones in the toes are “hard enough” to withstand the girl’s entire weight. This is because the process of ossification (bone formation) is not complete before an average age of 14, when the epiphyses (growth plates) close in the feet. That being said, there is no perfect age to begin pointe, as every girl is unique due to a combination of factors, including physical growth and technical capability

Having sufficient flexibility in the feet and ankles is another important aspect of physical development. Girls with inadequate plantar flexion do not have the range of motion required to ensure proper alignment on pointe, leading to excessive stresses on the body. On the other hand, girls who have hypermobile feet and ankles without the required strength and control will also be prone to injury.

Risk of going on pointe too early

There are several risks involved in dancers starting pointe too early, whether it is because they are too young or they lack the technical ability to start pointe work. If girls start going on pointe before the bones in the foot ossify sufficiently, improper placement or lack of control while on pointe may lead to the epiphyses (growth plates) shifting, causing deformation and long-term damage to the feet. Accelerated bunion development is a possible consequence of starting too early, particularly if it runs in the family.

Poor technique will be amplified on pointe, leading to instability and increased risk of injury. The safety, comfort, and individual progress of the girl should always be a priority rather than the need to keep up with her peers.

Article by Vivien Koh, Physiotherapist and Pointe Shoe Fitter

Importance of Wearing a Fitted Leotard

Leotards are supposed to be fitting, much like a second skin. There should not be extra fabric, or any straps loose and dropping, making it look wrinkled and saggy.

The main reason is because it allows the teacher to see the position and movement of the student much more easily. It allows for better correction of posture, arms, hip and leg positions etc.

That being said, if it is too tight, it will ride up the hip bones, or cause excessive pressure at the arm or leg holes, and that restricts movement of the body and limbs.

Importance of Wearing a Fitted Dance Shoes

Dance shoes should fit like a glove. As a general guide, it should fit as snugly to the feet as possible, without causing pain or discomfort.

When standing with the feet flat on the ground, the foot and toes should be able to spread out and lay flat, with the longest toe just touching the end of the shoe. If the toes are scrunched up, the shoe is definitely too small. It will be difficult to balance in them, and will also cause bad habits with gripping the floor and pointing with scrunched toes, which can lead to injuries.

However, do not buy shoes that are too big. That is potentially dangerous as one may trip over the shoe when dancing. Additionally, a shoe that is too big will have too much fabric moving around, which does not allow for the dancer to feel the floor properly. Shoes that are too big also prevents the teacher from seeing what one is doing, and thus will not be able to give good corrections or spot bad habits and correct them before it is too late.

Article by Vivien Koh, Physiotherapist and Pointe Shoe Fitter
Illustration by Valerie Yeo, Dancer at Singapore Dance Theatre

How to Care for your Dancewear

Leotard and Skirt

Training gears today are made from high-performance or delicate materials. Always turn solid color leotards inside out, wash by hand or on a gentle cycle using a gentle detergent. Use warm or cold water never hot. Do not place in a dryer, hang to drip dry. Certain fabrics will crease more easily than others. The best way is to hang them up right after practicing in them, this will prevent any creases or wrinkles.

Tutu and Costume

You can clean a tutu by washing it in lukewarm water with a small quantity of mild detergent and soft scrub brush. You can reduce the need for washing it by wearing a nude camisole leotard underneath. Some dancers simply don’t wash their tutus. Instead, they spot-clean the areas most affected by sweat and keep the rest fresh with odor-removing sprays. The best way to carry a tutu is in a proper tutu bag. Make sure that your tutu is stored dry and clean.

Dance Shoes

Store dance shoes in a cool and dry location. Don’t keep dance shoes in a plastic bag, shoes that are unable to breathe. Keep them in a breathable bag to prevent it from turning moldy and smelly.