Functional Performance Criteria to Assess Pointe Readiness in Youth Ballet Dancers

Open Access
Glumm, Stacey Ann
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 03, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Sayers John Miller III , Thesis Advisor
  • Giampietro Vairo, Committee Member
  • John Challis, Committee Member
  • pointe-readiness
  • ballet
  • pointe
  • functional testing
  • en pointe
  • youth
In ballet, “en pointe” refers to the position on the tips of the toes a ballet dancer assumes while wearing pointe shoes. No universal criterion exists for determining when a dancer is ready to begin pointe work. This study aimed to examine factors that may indicate a dancer’s pointe-readiness. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if pre-pointe and pointe dancers differ in range of motion, tests of functional performance and postural control. It was hypothesized that pointe dancers would have greater range of motion and perform significantly better on tests of functional capabilities and postural stability than dancers who have not started pointe. Thirty-two female ballet dancers with average age 11.4 ± 1.1 years were recruited from four recreational dance studios. Testing consisted of four components: pointe screening, range of motion testing, functional testing and force plate balance assessment. Pre-pointe and pointe students were significantly different in performance of three functional tests: the Airplane test (P < 0.001), Single Leg Sauté test (P < 0.001), and Relevé Endurance Test (P < 0.01). No significant differences were found between groups with ankle ROM or force plate COP measures. It was concluded that pre-pointe and pointe dancers perform differently on functional performance tests. Functional testing may be useful for gauging acquisition of the skills required for safe and successful performance en pointe.