Most common questions:

What class should we enrol into if we have had no previous ballet/dance experience?

Please contact the office directly to discuss your enrolment and determine which class is suitable for your child and their experience level.

Do you offer trial lessons? 

Yes! We offer free trial classes for students wanting to enrol. Please contact the office ([email protected]) to determine which class would be the best and whether there is availability.

Do you charge for trial lessons? 

There is no charge for standalone trial classes; however, if you choose to enrol that term following your trial, the full-term fees will cover the cost of the class your child took.

What happens if we miss a class? 

Charlesworth Ballet School does not offer pro-rate fees or credits for missed classes. Where possible, a make-up lesson may be offered if a student is absent. However, only one make-up class is permitted per term.

Do we need to take part in two classes per week, if we are in Grade 3 or above? 

Charlesworth Ballet School strives to provide the best training in Classical Ballet. We believe that in order for any student to steadily progress and improve, two classes per week is the bare minimum requirement. Not attending both classes will affect the students development and therefore impact their ability to take on harder work in the following Grade. If a student chooses to enrol in the level 1 class only the student is required to repeat their grade the following year. Not only will the student take an extra year to complete their grade, they will also not be eligible to participate in the annual Exams and EOY performance. Therefore, although two classes a week is not compulsory, it is strongly recommended.


Ballet bun questions:

Why does my child need to wear their hair in a bun every week?

This is all part of the classical ballet experience, and part of the Charlesworth Ballet School uniform. It allows students to become used to the process of having their hair done as well as ensuring they are demonstrating safe dance practises by having their hair out of their faces and eyes.

I have no idea how to do a ballet bun – help!

This is a common issue, so we have created a tutorial on our YouTube channel here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7YHxOa6q7c including all the items you will need to purchase for the perfect ballet bun. You can also find videos on how to do a ballet bun for curly hair, in the ballet bun playlist.

Someone else is bringing my child to class and cannot do a ballet bun, what can I do?

From one ballet parent to another, the school run is always tricky. I find the best way to be prepared is to do a ballet bun before school (including hair spray). That way you will only have to tidy the fly-aways with a quick comb and spray before class.



Ballet shoe/ribbon questions:

Why does my child need to have ribbons on their ballet shoes?

This is a traditional part of classical ballet. Beginning this process in the early years allows students to become comfortable with the feeling of ribbons instead of elastic. This is also a requirement for all students participating in the Charlesworth end of year show.

Can I buy ribbon for my child’s shoes from Spotlight?

It is best to purchase ballet shoe ribbons from a dance shop, as these are the correct colour and width required. Purchasing from other shops can result in the incorrect ribbons being purchased and these having to be changed.

How do I sew the ribbons on?

We have created a short tutorial here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UytWEeTs5iM&t=1s

How do I tie my child’s ribbons?

Each dance school may do this slightly differently. We are working on our tutorial video for this however this link with give you a close idea of the best way to tie ribbons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOTaf8hJY6w&t=75s

Why can’t the teacher just tie the ribbons for my child?

While all our staff would love to do this for our students, this would encroach on class time and result in the students missing the majority of time in their lessons. This is why we ask for the assistance of families to ensure students are ready before the enter the studio space.


Assessments questions:

Can I watch my child’s assessment?

To avoid any unnecessary stress on the students, parents are not able to watch the examinations. They will instead be invited to view a demonstration of the exam work at the Term 3 Parents’ Day event.

How will my child know what to do in their assessment?

Students begin their assessment material starting mid-term in Term 2, and will continue working on their material the entire on Term 3. Working on the assessment material for more than a term ensures all students are confident in their work – therefore, it is vital that students are attending all lessons to ensure they are fully prepared. Students who are absent for a significant number of classes in preparation for the Class Examination may be withdrawn therefrom at CBS’s discretion as per our policy.

Why do we have to pay the $60 assessment fee?

The assessment fee is required to cover all costs involved in holding the exams; these include hire of the venue, examiner fees, staff overtime and most importantly preparation of the exam certificates and reports.

What does my child wear for their assessment? Can my child wear her hair flowers for assessment?

As this is not a set part of the uniform, students should not being wearing any hair accessories for their examination. Girls wear: their tan dance underwear, class leotard, ballet tights, ballet shoes with ribbons attached and hair in a neat bun. Boys wear: their tan dance underwear class leotard, full length tights/leggings, white ballet socks and white ballet shoes. We encourage you to ensure all items are in immaculate condition as grooming will form a portion of the examination mark.


Pre-Pointe assessment questions:

What is a pre-pointe assessment?

A pre-pointe assessment evaluates the dancer’s readiness to commence training en pointe. The assessment considers age, training history, pointe range, foot/ankle control, intrinsic foot & calf strength, pelvic/core control, and ballet technique.

The assessment generally lasts 30-45 minutes and is carried about by a qualified health professional (usually a Physiotherapist) who has a thorough understanding of ballet technique.

What happens in a pre-pointe assessment?

In the initial pre-pointe assessment, the physiotherapist will typically take a brief history to understand your training load, previous injuries, and your goals . Your therapist will then take a few measurements (e.g. pointe range, calf length, turnout range etc.) and have a look at a few ballet movements (e.g. demi plie, rises, etc.).

Is it a pass/fail test?

NO! The good news is, there is no ‘pass/fail’ or marks assigned to a pre-pointe assessment. Pre-pointe assessments are usually relaxed and interactive. They are nothing like your dreaded ballet exams! The assessment IS designed to help you prepare for future success and reduce the risk of injury. The assessment is NOT designed to focus on negatives or to stop you from training en pointe. Your Physiotherapist wants to get you en pointe as much as you do!

Finding the areas which need improvement from your pre-pointe assessment is a real positive! This is because learning about your body and getting on top of any weakness before commencing pointe will help you to reduce the risk of injury and you will therefore enjoy your pointe training much more. Trust me…. pointe isn’t as enjoyable when your toes are riddled with blisters and your ankles are sore! OUCH!

What happens after the assessment?

After the assessment, the dancer is typically prescribed exercises to boost the areas within the assessment that require improvement to ensure safety en pointe. These are often exercises to improve intrinsic foot strength, ankle alignment, and calf endurance. It is recommended that these exercises are practised daily, or every 2nd day, depending on your physiotherapists instructions.

The dancer is usually re-assessed 3-6 weeks after completing their tailored exercise program.

What do I wear for a pre-pointe assessment?

It is important to wear something fitting (i.e. leotard and tights) so that the physiotherapist can see all your muscles. Please ensure you have bare feet to ensure so that the physiotherapist can have visual access to your toes and feet. Ballet shoes are not required.

When should I book a pre-pointe assessment?

You should aim to book your assessment at least 2 months before your ballet class is due to commence pointe-work. This will give you enough time to complete the required pre-pointe exercises and gain the necessary strength to commence pointe safely.

What age should I commence pointe-work?

It is very rare for dancers to be approved for pointe under 12 years of age. This is because the body is too skeletally immature and will not be able to withstand the demands in which pointe training places upon the growing body.

You may still have a pre-pointe assessment at age 11 (you can get a headstart of your exercises!); however, it is recommended to commence pointe training from the age of 12.

Will I be able to get my pointe shoes straight after the assessment?

In most cases, the young dancer will need to work on several items prior to getting their pointe shoes. Typically, dancers need to improve their intrinsic foot strength as this is not something that is generally covered in your everyday dance training. Often there are other elements within the assessment which need improvement too (i.e. ankle control and calf endurance).

How many sessions will the dancer need?

Most dancers will need to follow their initial assessment with a subsequent exercise-based session for the physiotherapist to prescribe the dancer a tailored home exercise program. Thereafter, the dancer is typically reviewed again in approximately 4-6 weeks to assess whether they are progressing in the right direction. If the dancer shows improvement in the areas the assessment showed were lacking, then the dancer will most likely be awarded their pointe licence on their review session.

Sometimes dancers may need another few weeks (another session) to further progress their strength. This is nothing to worry about. Physiotherapists want to ensure that your body is ready, and you are safe, before commencing your pointe journey.

What happens after I am approved for pointe?

Before running off to purchase your pointe shoes, you must confirm that your dance teacher also approves your readiness to commence pointe training. It is important that your dance teacher has the final say as they see you in the context of class training on a regular basis.
Once approved by your teacher, you can book an appointment with the dance store (i.e. Bloch) of your choice (or your teachers preference) for a pointe shoe fitting.

Can I go en pointe if I don’t have the required pointe range?

In most cases, yes! However, there may be some restrictions to adhere to at the start of your training.
Not every dancer is blessed with the ideal 180deg pointe range. Having less than 180deg means that it is harder to get right up onto the block of your pointe shoes without unwanted compensations in the knees or pelvis.

If you have less than 175deg pointe range (many dancers do), then your physiotherapist will work more closely with you to ensure those unwanted compensations are minimised and you can still train en pointe safely.

Do I need to continue my pre-pointe exercises once I am approved for pointe work?

YES! Your exercises are not designed to just get you onto pointe, they are designed to MAINTAIN your pointe training.
Fun fact: the Australian Ballet dancers still do 35 single leg calf rises at the barre everyday! They also do their physiotherapist-prescribed intrinsic foot exercises as part of their daily routine.

The pre-pointe journey should be an enjoyable and memorable one! Have fun with it! It’s such a wonderful time in the dancers career.

I’ll leave you with my top tips for starting pointe work!


Top tips:

Book a pre-pointe assessment 2-3 months prior to commencing.

Do your home exercises as prescribed!! They really do help!

Keep up your pre-pointe exercises into the future.

Begin your pointe journey slowly but surely — you only get one body! Do it correctly!